Pubdate: Wed, 22 Sep 1999
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Contact:  P.O. Box 3110 Honolulu, Hawai'i 96802
Fax: (808)-525-8037
Author:  Wally Bachman


Drug War Overshadows Important Matters

Your main feature in the Sept. 5 Focus section “The dumbing down of
American politics” asserts we are ducking serious issues while attempting
to hide the serious debate arising from George W. Bush’s refusal to just
say, No, I didn’t.

This deceptive article begins with an accurate description of how our
yearlong presidential sex scandal “paralyzed the entire political
establishment, preoccupied the media” and led to a failed push for
impeachment - even though this had nothing to do with any national policies.

The article then attempts to describe the media attention that shifted from
President Clinton to Bush because of Bush’s refusal to deny using cocaine
in his 20’s, as a similar episode.

Most commentators and political leaders such as Jesse Jackson have stated
that they are not interested in pursuing Bush over his insistence on saying
no more than “I made mistakes”. Rather, they say that this should open the
door for serious debate about our never-ending drug war and its detrimental
effects on families and neighborhoods.

While it is true that we need to discuss education, the environment and
other important issues, they all suffer from the rapidly expanding
incarceration of nonviolent drug users, which has caused prison budgets to
drain and strain other governmental services across the country.

Let’s have a real debate about the serious issue of what to do about the
failure of the war on drugs to stop the flow of hard drugs, or to provide
enough treatment for all those in need - and not try to stifle the
discussion by simply calling the opposition "dumb."

Wally Bachman

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