Stacey’s Blog: The War on America


People are talking about a war with the police, and I have something to say about that. It’s gonna be a little long, so I’m sorry about that, but I think it’s important. Feel free to chime in, but please: let’s be civil. This is a situation which is inherently disagreeable, but the only way to move ahead is to work through our disagreements at the citizen’s level.

It is not, on the whole, the boots-on-the-ground police officers fault any more than it is the fault of black people, poor people, or drug users. The police didn’t start this “war.” Black people didn’t start this “war.” Poor or urban people didn’t start this “war.” Ronald Reagan started this “War.

The situation that we are all watching unfold is a failure by modern Americans to comprehend our contemporary history.

Like almost all of Reagan’s other policies, the War On Drugs was something which Nixon had begun, and that Reagan and his ilk used as an opening move in a war on America’s middle and lower classes.

Before the the 60’s, if you were black, and you wanted to buy a house, you were only allowed to buy in certain areas. This limited social mobility for black Americans, who already had a handy-capping history, and over time resulted in concentrated poverty. 1960 is only 54 year ago, that’s not even two full mortgage cycles old. What 54 years really is is 3 generations of people whose social mobility was crippled because of laws changed before they were born.

Also in the 60’s, the CIA, using the mob, elegedly pumped America’s poor (read: black) neighborhoods full of drugs. Twenty years later the most anti-American president who ever was (Ronald Reagan) gets elected on a wave of “government is the problem” retoric that probably seemed very reasonable to a generation of voters who had lived through the Kennedy assasinations, the assasination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Vietnam War, The Civil Rights movement, and the impeachment of Nixon, not to mention the Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as everything else about the Cold-War.

Reagan invigorates the War On Drugs at about the same time America’s 40 year enemy, the Soviet Union, collapses under the weight of it’s own curuption, coupled with an economicly burdensome 10 year war in Afganistan which proved to be un-winnable. With the Soviet Union “defeated” on his watch, American’s were sold the notion that Ronald Reagan was a hero who could do no wrong, and so his War On Drugs perpetuates for another 30 years into today.

Over the 40+ year course of the war on drugs, no actual progress is made on the drug-war front, but it sure keeps police department budgets bloated, even as violent crime rates drop throughout the 90’s and 2000’s, thanks in part to the twenty year old Roe v Wade decison.

So now, with the America’s forign military adventures slowing down, the Military industrial complex realizes that they need a market to pimp their murderous wares and hardware excesses. They make an obvious choice: the American Police departments.

Now we see police officers, most of whom I believe are actually in it for the “right reasons,” armed like soldiers and presented with an enemy to fight, but lacking in proper training to responsibly handle the armorment they have been given. That enemy is, of course, American citizens who have the misfortune to be born into social-mobility desserts, where there are no jobs, no nutrition, and very limited education, few positive roll models, and little hope. All because of segregation laws that were repealed a mere half-a-lifetime ago without thought to reparations, no incentives to diversify neighborhoods.

To some: it seems like the police are the bad guys here. In many instances they may be, but it is crucial that as Americans, we remember that this situation did not arise in a vacuum. Our history, the history of our lives, and of our parents lives, has led us to a terrible cross-roads. If we do not remember that history, then it will be war, and war sucks for everybody except those who have vested interests in conflict.
Those people are the problem.

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