The War on Drugs and America’s White Flag

“’The War on Drugs’ is an American term commonly applied to a campaign of prohibition of drugs, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade.” – Wikipedia

Many of us see the term, “War on Drugs” or, “Drug War” each time we cut on the television. But what does it really mean? Sure, you read the definition at the beginning of this article, but how did we get here? Why are drugs inherently bad? Are they inherently bad to begin with? I hope to answer all of these questions by the end of this article.

Let’s start with the beginning of the history of the drug war: The prohibition of alcohol. In the early 19th century, America was at the peak of revival. Many Christians became convicted that alcohol in any quantity was against the Law of God, therefore appealing to the US government for intervention to stop the distribution, manufacture, and sale of liquor. Many revivalists called alcohol, “America’s Curse”. When enough protesters (including suffragists, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and the Anti-Saloon League) caught the government’s attention, the 18th amendment was passed, causing liquor to cease manufacturing in the United States. It didn’t just stop at liquor, either. Wine, Beer, and other beverages alike were forced to call it quits. Now, the prohibition only lasted for slightly over a decade due to the economic strain it caused the government. Cinemas closed down, restaurants couldn’t make enough money without selling liquor, and millions of jobs were lost. The US government lost $11 million dollars over the prohibition! The Drys (prohibitionists) thought that crime would lessen due to lack of intoxication, but what they could not expect the culture of Bootlegging – the illegal manufacturing, distributing, and selling of alcohol – to emerge. Crime skyrocketed, the death rate increased due to liquor poisoning (because people could still drink alcohol. Drinking liquor was oddly not part of the prohibition act therefore not illegal), and the economy tanked. This led to more crime, fewer jobs, and increased death rates – a vicious cycle. The Great Depression hits in 1932, FDR enters the presidency, and soon after the 21st amendment, the repeal of the prohibition, was put into effect. By 1966, all states repealed the ban on alcohol.

By the time alcohol was accepted by all the states – which took 133 years – America made a new enemy, and the term, “War on Drugs” was coined. Richard Nixon was the first to utter these words in 1971, however, this war was only just recognized. Between the time of the prohibition and the cultural acceptance of liquor, the federal government began to force strong bans on certain substances. In the 1870’s , anti-opium laws began to spread due to the influx of Chinese immigrants, who brought with them opioids. In the early 1900’s, the American South began to crack down (pun intended) on cocaine. African Americans began selling, distributing, and manufacturing cocaine without the government’s consent, thus leading to the street name, “Crack”. What is also interesting to note is that Coca Cola used to have COCAINE in their soda! It was taken out of the soft drink in 1929, far after the crack laws became enforced. Mexican immigrants brought with them marijuana beginning in 1910, and grew it privately. Soon after, anti-marijuana laws were brought to effect.

The journey from illegality to legality is a relatively slow process. It begins being met with strong opposition – a prohibition, a war on drugs – then it becomes slowly integrated into society by the lower class, it then gets picked up by the youth, and eventually, once the youth become influential in the work force, it is received with mass appeal, then legalized. Am I saying the War on Drugs is wrong? No. Am I endorsing excessive recreational drug use? Of course not. What I am saying is that the War on Drugs is losing its fervor because of the widespread acceptance of drugs by the youth! Am I saying that excessive recreational drug use should be illegal? Yes. Do I believe that these substances – like the coca leaf and marijuana plant – have medicinal qualities that should be implemented more and legalized for the health benefits of our nation. God made these substances for a purpose! Is there a fine line between medicinal use and addiction that should be closely monitored by healthcare professionals? Of course. We cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater (my Southern roots are coming out). In other words, we cannot keep regulating substances so heavily without understanding them first. Ignorance and fear help no one.

With all this boring history and sociology now brought to a close, I want to ask you something. When – not if – marijuana becomes legal, is it the government’s responsibility to do something about it? Remember that the prohibition happened because the public did not approve of the use of alcohol. Federal laws are created by the will of the people. As Christians, it is our responsibility, not our government’s, to tell our children why excessive recreational drug use is wrong. We cannot keep wagging our finger at our federal government when we are not doing our responsibility as Christ followers in the first place. We cannot be complacent when it comes to this coming generation. Does America need to turn to God? Absolutely, but it starts with us, His children, pleading, interceding, and acting in accordance to His perfect will.

First and foremost:

“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full.” – Deuteronomy 11:13-15

Then:

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.” – Deuteronomy 11:13-21

AND ONLY THEN:

“At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.” – Jeremiah 18:7-8

THUS RESULTING IN:

“And He remembered His covenant for their sake, and relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.” – Psalm 106:45

Sources: drugpolicy.org, history.com, Snopes

 

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