Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Here is a comment that I posted on Facebook in a conversation in which the teachers in Staten Island who wore NYPD t-shirts to school were being discussed.

Imagine a twentieth-century America in which the 18th amendment to the constitution (prohibition of alcohol) was NEVER repealed, and so America was never able to join in grappling with the challenges that the world later faced in the mid-twentieth century, because it was too busy destroying itself in the conflagration of an ever-escalating "war on booze". No counterweight to Fascism or Communism from us; we were too busy stamping out the nastiest of vices in our own communities (turning them into raging war-zones) to be effectively engaged in the world.

Now flash forward to the reality of twenty-first-century America, in which a very similar "war on drugs" has been raging for 40 years(!), and various skirmishes in that war are raising tensions in various communities across the country. This has led us to this debate on whether it was appropriate for a group of teachers in a Staten Island school to escalate tensions in their community by wearing T-shirts that appear to have them "taking sides" in one of the recent skirmishes.

I don't want an America in which we're choosing sides against one another in an internal war. It's especially exasperating because we are so blatantly ignoring the lessons potently offered in the relatively recent history of our own country, the lessons from the failed experiment that was the 18th amendment. It was repealed by the 21st amendment, not because we decided that we liked the horrors of alcoholism and other social ills resulting from alcohol abuse, but because we decided we did NOT WANT TO BE AT WAR WITH EACH OTHER!

Today, I became an associate member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. (I'm living in Japan right now, so it was the most potent way I could find of trying to make a difference back home at this very moment.)

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