Gather ’round, kids.
It is now conventional wisdom that one of the worst mistakes the country ever made was launching its idiotic, wasteful “war”on drugs. In the three decades in which this “war” has been waged, we have lost two generations of African-Americans to the prison system, shaved the Bill of Rights down to a nub, tied the hands of the judiciary, and, finally, made not an appreciable dent in the problem of drug use and drug addiction. We have blessed ourselves with private prisons and militarized police forces, so there is that.
…There was a strong, evolving, and bipartisan consensus that it was time to call a truce on the “war” we were making on our own citizens. The country was getting sensible about marijuana and mandatory minimum sentences at the same time; conservatives abandoned simplistic law ‘n order coding and hopped on the bandwagon of criminal justice reform; in many cases, they took the wheel on it. And, at least rhetorically, the response to the opioid crisis was more reasoned and measured than the response to the crisis of crack cocaine was—and the reasons for that are worth exploring. But nobody wants to, least of all JeffBo. Over the weekend, we learned that this brief, fragile truce had ended.