Thursday, May 14, 2009
He looks glum, but he's made me happy.
This morose looking fella is Gil Kerlikowske. Until about 9 o'clock last night, I did not know him from Adam. As of now, he's easily in my top ten list of people hired by the Obama administration.
Kerlikowske used to be police chief of Seattle. He is now the United States drug czar. (To see how I feel about calling people czars, click on this link.) He has been quoted as saying we should lose the phrase "the war on drugs."
Nice first step, Gil.
I want to say that I have no personal stake on the outcome of our country's drug policies. My favorite drugs are caffeine and alcohol. There is absolutely no war on caffeine, and the laws only forbid operating heavy machinery under the influence of alcohol. Since I currently don't own any heavy machinery, I can live with that.
This whole idea that this is a "war" adds to a lot of stupid ideas about how to reduce the use of drugs in this country. There are a lot of people who think that places where drugs are produced are havens of corruption and vice, while the United States, the place where the drugs are consumed, is completely untainted as cops and federal agents try to stop a multi-billion dollar business. We need to look at what our efforts have done to communities, to realize that some of our decisions should be reconsidered, to stop what amounts to a race war with the cops as the shock troops for the white people.
I'm not saying Glum Gil here is the guy who will do it all. But losing the "war on drugs" terminology is a really good first step, and I hope he can follow up on it.