Like The War On Some Drugs? Thank Dems’ VP Pick Senator Joe Biden!
By Dominic Holden, Member, NORML Board of Directors
Obama selecting Biden is a punch to the gut. Like that sickening feeling you got as a high school freshman, walking up the steps to the big party—and you’re telling yourself, if I fuck this up, my dreams are shot. But if things go well, this could be an excellent four years.
I am anything but a single-issue voter, but I’m also a die-hard zealot against the drug war. Everything that could have gone wrong has been an unbridled catastrophe: Drug epidemics and cartel routes breeze across the continent, privacy laws are gutted for sport, kids try drugs younger and younger, our prisons are stuffed with young black men…
And it’s Joe Biden’s fault.As former chairman for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden is the person most responsible for passing a package of laws in the mid-80s that we think of as today’s drug war. Biden presided over the mandatory-minimum sentencing guidelines that required judges to sentence dealers’ girlfriends and small-time peddlers to decades-long terms in state and federal prisons, where thousands are rotting to this day.
He used hearings “to mislead his colleagues and the public… on drug policy where police, prosecutors and DEA officials got the opportunity [to speak] while opponents were kept out,” says Kevin Zeese, a former director of Common Sense for Drug Policy and a leading drug-law reformer in Washington, D.C. since the 1980s. “Pick a drug law you don’t like from the last 25 years and thank Senator Biden.”
But, since this is Obama’s campaign, I’m trying to hope—hope that Biden can change.
Read the rest of this blog originally posted to the Seattle Stranger’s Slog. September 7, 2008