Pubdate: Fri, 21 Sep 2007
Source: DrugSense Weekly (DSW)
Section: Feature Article
Author: Stephen Young
Note: Stephen Young is an editor with DrugSense Weekly.


The title above can be read two ways, depending on the meaning 
assigned to the word "revolting." Up until recently, if I saw such a 
phrase, I would think of revolting in the sense of disgusting or repulsive.

Most politicians above the local level have supported the drug war 
without reservation for decades. There have been notable exceptions, 
like New Mexico's former governor Gary Johnson, but he only spoke out 
after he decided he wasn't going to run for office again.

However, there may be cause to interpret the word "revolting" 
differently, as in the sense of refusing to accept something. Earlier 
this week, Florida's Republican Governor Charlie Crist offered a 
complete and surprising pardon for pain victim Richard Paey, who had 
been imprisoned on a drug conviction for more than three years. Crist 
declined to criticize the whole drug war, but he did recognize that 
in this case it was pushed to absurd proportions.

To many it would appear to be common sense, but measured by drug war 
standards, this is a big step.  Even extreme cases like this are 
routinely winked at by elected officials afraid of appearing soft on drugs.

Crist wasn't the only one to express some shock. Even former hard 
core drug warrior congressman, now the Florida's attorney general, 
Bill McCollum expressed his dismay.

Maybe if Crist and McCollum took a close look at other drug cases 
they might be even more disturbed. But, these guys are Republicans, 
they allowed themselves some justified apprehension over one drug war 
excess, and they used their power to correct it.

My hat is off to them.

As the season of U.S. presidential politics is already well underway, 
it's hard not to notice some other dissension from drug war 
orthodoxy.  Outsiders in the race from both sides of the mainstream 
parties (Republican Ron Paul and Democrat Dennis Kucinich) have 
criticized multiple aspects of the drug war and have sponsored and/or 
signed on to legislation that challenges some drug war policies.

All of the Democratic candidates have now somewhat famously agreed if 
elected to stop federal raids on medical marijuana clinics in places 
where they are allowed by state law. Current New Mexico Governor Bill 
Richardson is pushing to implement his state's medical marijuana 
program, even as he runs for president.

Sadly, there's still more prohibitionist rhetoric flowing in the 
campaign - John McCain has said the drug war should be stepped up, 
and I'm awaiting new anti-drug pronouncements by the law and order 
wing of the Republicans with a cringe.

But, politicians say lots of things while they are campaigning. 
Candidate George W. Bush said medical marijuana issues should be left 
to the states.

So listen to the talk with a grain of salt, but pay attention to the 
actions.  The occasional good deed can slightly reduce the nausea 
inspired by typical drug war politics, while demonstrating the 
perceived need for ideological purity on drug issues may be going out 
of political fashion.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake