This segues into a post by Walter Cronkite, at HuffingtonPost that I was quite interested in.
[Confession] Originally republished by Harper’s Magazine, March 2006. The magazine explains that this is part of a statement made by George Earl Lewis of Chickasha, Oklahoma. Mr. Lewis was arrested “after sellng two grams of crack cocaine to an FBI informant.” Mr. Lewis is seventy four years old and lives on “$600 per month in retirement benefits and pays $350 a month for his wife’s cancer medication.” The court issued a ten-year suspended sentence.
I, Mr. George Earl Lewis, do agree that what I’ve done was not right concerning the law. I do not deny the fact whatsoever. However, I did what I did simply to keep my wife Thelma up in her medications and to pay any bills owed due to her illness. She was diagnosed with cancer. Her Medicare doesn’t pay all of her expenses. So what I did was simply trying to meet the needs of my wife, whom I love very much. I can assure you that I have learned a valuable lesson. I will do all I can simply to live on our income, which is my retirement check. And pray that God will have mercy on me, to see me through this
As anchorman of the CBS Evening News, I signed off my nightly broadcasts for nearly two decades with a simple statement: “And that’s the way it is.”
To me, that encapsulates the newsman’s highest ideal: to report the facts as he sees them, without regard for the consequences or controversy that may ensue.
Sadly, that is not an ethic to which all politicians aspire – least of all in a time of war. I remember. I covered the Vietnam War. I remember the lies that were told, the lives that were lost – and the shock when, twenty years after the war ended, former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara admitted he knew it was a mistake all along.
Today, our nation is fighting two wars: one abroad and one at home. While the war in Iraq is in the headlines, the other war is still being fought on our own streets. Its casualties are the wasted lives of our own citizens.
I am speaking of the war on drugs.
I’ve seen Republican administrations come and go. It has always seemed to me that when they are in office, everything goes downhill, but domestic policy in particular suffers because the Republicans like to concentrate on foreign adventures. Now they have got us so tied down and fucked over in Iraq that it is easy to forget about the problems that are growing and growing here at home.
And there are a lot of problems here, as most people are aware. We have refugees from the coastal areas scattered throughout the country, with no homes to return to and no prospects for being able to resume any kind of normal lives. Public education is in turmoil, underfunded, hamstrung by mandates from No Child Left Behind, and in danger from the private school voucher bullshit for which the Repugs have such a hard-on.
If you read Cronkite’s entire piece, and please do, you will see that in it he talks about our threatened civil liberties. The Bush administration has tried mightily to bootstrap its way into a police state, by using the war in Iraq that it started as an excuse for violating just about every single constitutionally guaranteed civil right we have. if law enforcement then turns around and puts itself into the breach that has been made in the wall that is supposed to protect citizens from the government, the war on drugs is apt to escalate in ways that will make us all in to George Lewises. The War on Drugs is really a War on Americans and a War on Sanity and we need a detente yesterday.