David Dunn-Rankin

David Dunn-Rankin

The vast majority of us, once we make a decision, almost never ever change our mind. Even when the data is clear that we are wrong. Even, when in retrospect, we made the decision for the wrong reason.

Let’s take America’s war on drugs as one example. How did the “war on drugs” start? It started with President Richard Nixon and his appeal to the silent majority. Nixon’s supporters felt certain types of people were ruining America. Nixon fed that fear for political gain.

Nixon’s close advisor on domestic affairs, John Ehrlichman, was quoted by author Dan Baum as having said the following:

“You want to know what this (the war on drugs) was really all about?

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying?

We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news.

Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

The war on drugs was an excuse for a war on Nixon’s perceived enemies list.

America spent two generations fighting the war on drugs started by President Nixon. Some estimates are over $1 trillion has been spent. Did we get a good return on our trillion dollars?

The number of people incarcerated for drug use has exploded from just 5,000 in 1968 to over 500,000 today. About half the people in federal prison are there on drug charges.

Is this level of incarceration from the war on drugs, which is 100 times the levels of 1968, reducing drug use and drug overdoses?

In 1968, just 5,000 people died of a drug overdose. That number has grown almost every year until we experienced over 93,000 deaths from drug overdose in 2020. No, the data is clear, the war on drugs is not working.

Florida has over 5,000 drug overdose deaths a year. To put Florida’s drug annual overdose death rate in perspective, in 1968, the year Nixon declared war on his enemies with drugs as the pretext, we had just 5,000 drug overdoses in the entire country.

About 8% of Floridians used illicit drugs in the last month. That’s about 1.5 million Floridians.

The war on drugs was made for the wrong reasons based on faulty logic. It is time to change our mind.

Democrats and Republicans want fewer drug overdoses, fewer destroyed lives and lower crime. Can we have a thoughtful, intelligent debate about how to dramatically reduce our crime rates and loss of lives caused by drugs?

We just need a leader who can admit it is possible to change our mind – the current approach to drugs is not working. A Democrat cannot lead on this issue without being labeled soft on crime.

The right person to lead this debate is a strong, self-confident Republican. 

Ron DeSantis is an example of a strong, self-confident Republican who could help make Florida safer for future generations reducing the scourge of drug use if he would take on this task. He could convince us to use new and better tools to fight drug use, making Florida a safer place to live.

Ron DeSantis could be that transformational governor. He could help us change our minds.

Share your thoughts: David@D-R.Media.

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