Thursday, September 27, 2007

Iraq Not the Only Battle We Are Losing

America has many wars declared, but most of them are wars declared right here at home. There is the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on crime, the war on prostitution, the war on illiteracy--and probably more than I've named here. Most of these "wars" have seen little positive action and certainly not enough to say that even important battles have been won.

These "wars" are often declared by elected officials to grab headlines and the actions taken in the name of ridding society of the "evils" result in someone making money and many result in further crowding our prisons. America is the land of freedom, yet we have more people incarcerated percentage-wise than any country in the world.

Common sense would dictate that the war on drug use will have a success rate no better than that of prohibition. All prohibition served to do was to give organized crime a stronger foothold in America; the drug trade is no different. There has to be a better answer than the current way we deal with drug use. Legalizing drugs wouldn't mean we endorse their use; it would mean we accept the reality of the situation and have decided not to make laws on moral issues. How refreshing would that be?

Legalizing drug use would give the government an additional revenue source thereby eliminating the need for the creation of more taxes. Legalizing drug use would take some of the power away from organized crime and would certainly reduce crime in the streets, thereby aiding another war--that of the war on crime.

No politician wants to take a public stand on the real common sense solutions for our internal wars; it might jeopardize his/her career. But the adage "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten" is as true for the wars in America as it is applied to our personal lives.

So, what's in it for the powers that be to maintain the status quo? This is a question we need to ask ourselves rather than turning our heads away from the reality of the situation. In many ways, Americans have become like the ostrich, sticking our heads in the ground to avoid the things that frighten or upset us. But that isn't the attitude that got our country its independence or its position of greatness in the world. It is, however, the attitude that guarantees elected officials and big business will continue to put their values and profits ahead of all else. If we don't get our heads out of the ground, we won't be able to see our freedoms slipping away, one by one.

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