War. Some people have asked “what is it good for?” A few have a surmised, “absolutely nothing!” But America is a huge fan of war and in a Capitalist system it’s good for the economy…or so we’re told. But America will go to war against anything. American culture is so rooted in war that at this point it’ll wage war on whatever and doesn’t even have to be conventional wars!
Every December there’s a War on Christmas! It’s a holiday for fucks sake! A holiday about love, giving and sharing based on the wrong birthday of a dude that punched bankers in the dick! A War on Christmas is like a police officer fist fighting a baby with another baby…which a police officer might have done.
Joe Biden has declared a war on a virus! Plan A to get rid of the virus that causes COVID-19 was to wait till it was going to have a wedding and then drone bomb the shit out of it. And the first thing America discovered was viruses don’t have weddings! They’re just replicating out of wedlock like the godless fucks they are!
One of the most devastating wars fought on American soil is the continuing War on Drugs! As we know it today the American War On Drugs has permeated the globe with its racist overtones that has only benefitted rich, white, land-owning Americans with direct ties to Big Pharma and the insurance companies.
When we think of the War On Drugs we go back to Richard Nixon and Ronald Regan, but they weren’t the first to wage war – they just perfected it. Human Beings have been waging a war on drugs since the caveman days. There are records of cave drawings that describe a psychedelic trip into our consciousness reminding us that we are all one. And another drawing of that enlightened caveman, getting hit on the head with a rock. Which we can interpret as the caveman version of “This is your brain on drugs!” Or “Just say no”.
They hadn’t discovered eggs, television or Nancy Regan yet so they had to improvise.
Comedic hyperbole aside, the War on Drugs has its origins well before Nixon. [SC 1] The first piece of legislation to go after recreational drug use was in 1909 with the ‘Smoking Opium Exclusion Act’. This banned the possession & use of opium for anything other than medical purposes. There are 2 things to note here.
First, this legislation does exactly what the name suggests. Today we have bills like the HEROES or CARES Act that don’t help the people we call Heroes and don’t care about anyone. They do help corporations and billionaires who profit off our misery. At least in the early 1900s, there was honesty in the names of their laws, and I appreciate that.
Secondly, this law probably led to a lot of high doctors. After seeing your 286th gangrene leg, you’re going to need to take the edge off and the paint thinner that passed for alcohol isn’t cutting it anymore, so you gotta go with something stronger. Opium.
The next piece of legislation came in 1914 with the Harrison Act which regulated the sale, transportation and distribution of opiates & cocaine. Clearly at this point they were no longer naming bills based on what they do but rather who wrote them. They should’ve called this the Buzzkill Act of 1914! Amirite?
In 1937 we saw the first law that started to criminalize the use of cannabis in America. The Marijuana Tax of 1937 put a federal tax on the sale of marijuana/cannabis and hemp. If you didn’t pay this you could go to prison for up to 5 years and/or be fined $2000. This was at a time where $2000 was real money, not a figment promised by an old racist dementia patient.
This bill was passed because the FBI Director at the time claimed there was evidence that marijuana would lead abusing the already illegal opiates and heroin. Ah yes, the origins of the completely false “gateway drug” myth. You have a bigger chance of finding a Minotaur’s labyrinth than cannabis being a gateway to other drugs. Cannabis is a gateway to delicious snacks. They should’ve called this the Buzzkill Act of 1937! Amirite!?
These are the ideas that led to ‘Reefer Madness’ and the wildly inaccurate propaganda campaign against a plant. Think about how silly we would think these ideas would be if we made laws and lies about broccoli or kale. If we suddenly said the energy you get from bananas would lead you to butt-chugging vodka because the yellow fruit kinda looks like a penis. And then you create a super homophobic campaign with zero scientific backing and a 100% confidence in your lies.
The Marijuana Tax of 1937 was written around the time when the term jazz cigarette was introduced. There are legends that the bill was going to be called Skopa-doo-pop Act of 1937. But Congress didn’t know how to add the snaps into the title of the bill and then also realized that particular Congressman might be high. And he was…he was high on opium.
And now we arrive to the 1970s with Ol’ Tricky Dick himself. Richard Nixon authorized the ‘Controlled Substances Act’ and claimed drugs were the ‘public enemy number 1’. Ironic, because Nixon’s legacy is public enemy number 1 today.
In 1973, Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency, or the DEA, with a $75 million budget and 1400 agents nationwide. Today there are over 5000 agents and $2 billion budget. Nixon also put harsher sentences on users and traffickers, virtually making them the same.
There are often many questions whether the War On Drugs was racist or not. Back in the 30s & 40s, it was used to criminalize the predominantly black Jazz community, but a lot of people don’t see that as racist, but more Anti-Jazz. But now we have evidence the War On Drugs was not created as a public health or safety concern, but rather a racist way to destabilize communities of color and peace advocates. John Elrichman, one of Nixon’s Advisors, said the following in a 1994 interview about the War On Drugs: “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.” He said all the shit to a reporter…on tape! The Nixon Administration really didn’t understand tapes!
This confession explains why we’ve had an uptick in police brutality decade after decade. It’s why our media portrays black Americans as thugs and why it was so easy for average Americans to look at immigrants as criminals that steal jobs whilst they traffic the drugs. And why Americans hypocritically believe they’re also lazy.
That never made any sense to me at all. Immigrants have 2 jobs at the least. One is apparently the job they stole from the American worker and the second is being a part of a drug running empire. That’s like at least a 60 hour work week. What part of that is lazy? It sounds like they’re really hard-working and kinda living out the American Dream!
The motive behind the War On Drugs comes from Nixon’s and then FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover’s paranoid racism. In the early 70s, not only did you have white hippies calling for an end to Vietnam War but also Black & Brown Civil Rights leaders. Plus with the gaining popularity of the Black Panther Party’s survival program where they were feeding kids and taking care of the elderly, they needed something to give them unequivocal rights to attack their communities.
The answer was demonizing drugs; drugs that Nixon and Hoover have never seen let alone used. Perhaps if they would have used them, they might have chilled out a little and realized that their racism will create a massive negative reaction in the collective soul of humanity and take our society down a path of suffering and injustice the likes of which humanity has never seen before! But that sounds like Communism, a terrifying thought to President Paranoia!
But we didn’t really have to wait till 1994 for someone to realize the War On Drugs was really about demonizing black communities & anti-war activists. In 1977, Jimmy Carter pushed for federally decriminalizing marijuana, but got rejected and didn’t get a second term. But if you’re a President that tries to lead by logic, you get “voted” out. That’s just the Democratic Party’s policy! At this point in history 11 states had already decriminalized marijuana, because they had seen what laws like this do their communities. But all that was undone once the next President came into power.
Ronald Regan took the War On Drugs to the next level! In the early 80s, Nancy Regan came up with the ‘Just Say No’ campaign. And look I whole hearted agree with this campaign. We should just say no…to Reganomics! It’s a gateway to sociopathy, unfettered Capitalism, infinite consumerism on a finite planet and Pete Butiegiege. Who’s name you need to be on drugs to pronounce.
In 1986 Regan authorized the Anti-Drug Abuse Act which spent $1.7 billion to enforce mandatory sentences, which was first introduced by Eisenhower in 1954. And in the 90s it was reinforced by Joe Biden & Bill Clinton.
This piece of legislation showed the world the racial discrepancy in America’s criminal justice system. This bill criminalized possession and use of Crack-Cocaine, which was cheaper and predominately found in low income and black communities. 5 grams of crack cocaine can get your 5 years in prison. Compare to the predominantly rich, white drug, cocaine, you’d need 5000 grams for the exact same sentence.
This increased suspicions and police were able to continue brutalizing communities of color. This also added the bias that all black people were smoking cannabis and then eventually landed on crack cocaine. Regan amplified every negative stereotype of drugs and applied it to communities of color. Again, we didn’t have to wait till the 1994 confession of John Elrichman to see how racist the War On Drugs was and continues to be!
Between Nixon and Regan the stereotype of the lazy, drug addled black person was born and amplified by legislation. They’re basically the blackface of Presidents. And don’t forget that the Clintons were taking advice from Nixon, which explains a lot about the laws in the 90s.
Regan’s 1986 bill was supported by one Senator Joe Biden who would make it his muse for crafting his own racist, omnibus Crime Bill. The infamous 1994 Crime Bill was crafted by Joe Biden, approved by Bill Clinton and was responsible for a spike in mass incarceration and continued degradation of black & brown communities all across America. Folks that champion Democrats like Biden always bring up the Violence Against Women Act, but ignore the rest of the bill.
The 94 Crime Bill eliminated pell grants for former Prisoners and eliminated any sort of higher education opportunity for inmates, making it harder for these folks to get a better education to get a better job and become better members of society. This ensured and legislated that recidivism would occur, revolving offenders into the harsh prison system non-stop. The major fear here is that if prisoners become educated they might Andy Dufrense themselves out of prison!
Recidivism was reinforced by increased federal prison sentences for repeat offenders, which was more commonly known as the 3-strike rule. This idea was championed by the Biden Democrats as a way to keep our communities safer. But in reality it made the prison system a product with guaranteed repeat customers.
During the Black Lives Matter protests this past summer, which called for Defunding the Police to help fund mental health and social services for communities, Joe Biden said he’d spend more money on the police to help train them to shoot their victims in the leg. This idea comes from his Crime Bill where he gave cops an additional $30 billion to help with training, hiring and place community police officers.
Community Police Officers would be folks that live in the neighborhoods they patrol. But that’s not the case. In most communities, the cops on patrol don’t live there and hence don’t understand the dynamics of the neighborhoods which leads excessive police violence. This is what overfunding the police has led to and now Biden wants to repeat history again. When you repeat the same actions, expecting different results its called insanity.
The Crime Bill gave prosecutors and the police carte blanche to imprison people for however long for whatever crime. This is a society led by fear not safety. And the Democrats didn’t even do this for public safety. They did this because they wanted to appear tougher on crime than Republicans.
The Republicans had spent years harping on how soft the Democrats are on crime and why America was falling into a pit of moral despair. So to show them how strong they really are, the Democrats out Republicaned the Republicans by creating a Crime Bill that would ruin the lives of millions.
That’s right, the 94 Crime Bill was introduced as a Congressional dick measuring contest. Remember that the next time you want to make an excuse for either party not being able to legislate to help people. Public image was more important to these soulless vapid fucks than your livelihoods, dignity and safety. And that statement is only 1/10th as harsh as what the War On Drugs has done to the entire American working class.
Today we see the Biden Administration continue its War On Drugs. Just recently the Biden Administration fired or demoted anyone that had used cannabis in their past by a question in a background check. Some were put into a remote work program as well. The hypocrisy is that Kamala Harris joked about her drug use and still gets to be the VP. Additionally the administration has taken on a policy that no staffer can use marijuana even off the clock and will be subject to random drug tests.
This shows us exactly where this administration is on federally legalizing marijuana. This shows us that Biden and Kamala Harris have no inclination of redeeming themselves for the horrific criminal justice policies they’ve enacted. This shows us that there might be a 2022 Crime Bill coming with a whole new refer madness campaign. This shows us that Biden & Harris are fully ready to make the War On Drugs an Endless War, like all the other wars America loves to wage.
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!