Last night, I while I was commuting home, I received a robo-call from Congressman Rob Wittman. This was not your usual “vote for me” robo-call, it was regarding a telephonic town-hall and asking questions of my congressman. First, let me say that this is a great venue and I hope he and other elected officials do this more often. He started with an update from Washington, in which he hit several Republican talking points (e.g. economy, bigger Navy, healthcare executive order, deregulation, and propose tax reform).
Most of what he was saying is good news, such as the economy is booming and the executive order on healthcare will help reduce cost of healthcare. Next, the phone line was opened for questions, which I tried to take full advantage of. However, when I told the call screener that I wanted to ask Congressman Wittman, “What he is doing to the end the drug war?” The call screener let out an audible exhale, and stated that he would put me back in the waiting list. While the congressman was able to take four calls on healthcare, three on taxes, and two on foreign policy, my question was never asked.
Last year our nation had 65,000 citizens die of a drug overdose, more than the number of soldiers who have died in every war since Vietnam combined. In addition, we have the highest incarceration rate in the world. Furthermore, it is easier for children to obtain drugs than alcohol while the profits go to fund gangs like MS-13 and the Zetas. Our nation has so many non-violent drug offenders that the U.S. has brought back slavery not just in prison but through organizations like Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery (CAAIR), which forces people, who have not been charged with a crime, to work for up to a year without pay in order to avoid a felony drug charge.
I understand that Congressman Wittman does not want to have this conversation but, the war on drugs at a minimum is unconstitutional, costing us billions of dollars, killing tens of thousands of people, and violates the 13th Amendment of the Constitution. After 100 years of failed policy, it is time to try something new or at least have the conversation. I like Congressman Wittman, I have voted for him in the past but at least one of his Democratic opponents, Edwin Santana, is for ending the drug war. I have never voted for a Democrat in my life and while I truly hope that we can have a Libertarian candidate on the ballot, we need to ask ourselves if we are not going to have the conversation, then it may be time pay higher taxes, be over regulated, and live in a nanny state just to end the war on drugs.