Thursday, May 4, 2017

Quick Hit #2

      In the United States, for as long as the drug epidemic remained in the cities, for as long as the nation’s white majority could plausibly claim that the disease of addiction was confined to people of color and the result of a character flaw, our nation adopted a full-out, law-and-order approach to the problem of drug addiction. Lock ‘em up and throw away the key, preferably into the Pacific Ocean at its deepest point, 36,000 feet.

       There are people serving thirty- and forty-year sentences for possession of an eighth-of-an-ounce of cocaine. Thousands of them. Like Atiba Parker, who drew a sentence of 42 years for selling 3 grams of crack cocaine, the drugs worth, at most, four hundred dollars. Parker, by the way, had been treated for schizophrenia before his arrest, a mitigating factor that carried no weight at time of sentencing.

      But circumstances have changed, as have the relative moral positions of our white and black populations. The epidemic has morphed, from cocaine to opiates. It has also spread from the cities to the burbs and the boondocks where all those white people who fled the inner cities currently reside. Now it’s the moral majority’s turn to serve decades in prison for even the most minor infractions.


      No chance, of course. Now it’s treatment, treatment, treatment. Let’s forget the part about a character flaw, the part about just say no. I mean, c’mon, look what’s happened to us. Our jobs are gone, our way of life, our white privilege, our male privilege. How do you expect us to act, if not by pumping our bodies full of whatever takes our minds off our diminished prospects? We’re victims. Isn’t it obvious?

      Just yesterday, the Congress, in its emergency appropriations bill, designed only to keep the government running for a few short months, included funding for Opioid Treatment. There’s a TV ad out there, which I’ve seen perhaps a dozen times, promoting a laxative to remedy the constipating effects of opiate addiction. According to Governor Le Page of Maine, 90% of Maine’s drug dealers are black, which makes virtuous white dope addicts twice victimized, by their economic devolution and by African-American predation.

      Alright, alright. I know I’m not the first to mark this so-blatant hypocrisy, or to note that racial inferiority is as deeply embedded in American culture as anti-Semitism in European culture. But you’d think, after all this time, the whiney whiteys who turned to Don the Con would have realized, at least dimly, that they’re being played by the greediest and most ruthless among us. You’d think the white working-class would have come to understand that so long as working people remain divided, the Trumps and Mnuchins will continue to successfully implement their low-tax, low-wage, pollute the planet agenda. Shorty-term profits being, apparently, the only game they know.

      You’d think.

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