It's often said that those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. In 1919, the 18th Amendment prohibiting the sale, trafficking, and consumption of alcohol went into effect. People who wanted to drink managed to continue to do so by buying it illegally, going to speakeasies, or making it themselves. Meanwhile, the Mafia rose to power and there was a rise in organized violence. The majority of Americans realized that Prohibition was a disaster and in 1933, it was repealed with the enactment of the 21st Amendment. Sound familiar?
Now the powers in Washington are engaged in a battle over the deficit and the very existence of our fragile social safety net is threatened. The Tea Party and Republicans in general seem determined not to levy even one more penny of taxes on the wealthiest 2% among us. Yet there is a solution at hand: We can surrender in the war on drugs. If drugs become legal, the sale of drugs like that of alcohol, cigarettes and other legal but harmful substances can be taxed. Think of all the tax revenue that will bring in. While we Americans seem to have a problem taxing the uberwealthy, few people from either party will object to taxing drug dealers. In addition, we can drastically cut our law enforcement and prison budgets and spend the money instead on the many social problems that desperately need attention. Maybe we can even start to fill the gaping holes in our social safety net.
So to bring back a slogan from a war that President Nixon finally was forced to end, Hell No, We Won’t Go! Yes, it’s time to surrender in the War on Drugs.