History 101 for all

By Jeff Goodman, former Prisoner of the War on Drugs

There has been so much written about the insanity of the drug war that we are almost out of original words to describe it. We can only add more atrocities to the already towering mountain of evidence that shows the drug war in its hideous entirety and proves its incontrovertible failure. We must now dismantle the drug war infrastructure, grant amnesty to all drug war prisoners, resurrect the Constitution, and mend the wounds inflicted upon millions of American families caught in the drug war's fusillade of corruption, violence and police state tactics.

But where are the people demanding such action? Why are we hearing almost exclusively from national leaders, scholars, and drug war victims? Where are the millions of other Americans who should be outraged that their right to travel and think and live free has been nearly decimated by the drug war?

Their silence is deafening. I do know that our society has changed much in the past 30 years. The essence of the civil rights movement and America's desire to grow and change seem like alien paradigms. It appears that most of us no longer care, or vote, or think enough to involve ourselves in matters critical to the quality of our lives, even when it comes to our own survival. For example, I recently read that only 60 percent of American drivers engage in the simple, self-preserving act of using their seat belt when driving. Is this a sign of ignorance or indifference, or both?

If this 3 second "chore" is beyond the cognitive reasoning of 40 percent of all drivers, should we be surprised that most Americans have sat back and watched their rights, assets and freedom become vulnerable to their own government's abusive policies? After all, compared to using a seat belt, it takes a little work to write a letter, make a phone call, talk to a neighbor, or vote. Do people actually believe that freedom just happens, and that it needs no maintenance to insure its survival?

A common excuse used to justify the Gestapo-like policies of today's drug warriors is often heard from law abiding citizens who proudly proclaim they have nothing to hide, and therefore have no objection to holding the Constitution in abeyance while the "good guys" go after the "bad guys."

Strangely, I learned in my junior high school history class (some 25 years ago) that just such ignorance is exploited by tyrannical governments intent on controlling, rather than protecting, their citizenry. I also learned that governments have a history of abusing power, and are brought to their knees only after the so-called good people become victims of their own indifference.

Maybe it's mandatory history classes, rather than prison sentences, that would best serve America.