How to Fix It: Lose the Drug War

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“We are the jailingest motherfuckers on the planet. More than that, the number of violent offenders in federal prisons has gone down to its lowest level ever in the history of the country—in the single digits, by the Bureau of Prisons’ own statistics. And the political party that let this get out of control? It was the Democrats. The drug war has actually destroyed the deterrent in inner cities by teaching whole police departments to chase drug stats when they should be solving crimes. And, of course, because they can’t put all those people in prison, it doesn’t even work as a draconian policy. Most people are just thrown back onto the street. A smart politician could cite all these things, and we could stop the madness. But everyone’s worried that the little old lady in Terre Haute is going to think you’re soft on drugs. I think all the little old ladies in Terre Haute get it. The American people are smarter than politicians give them credit for. If McCain came to a Democratic Congress with reforms, I think he’d be a hero to moderates everywhere, because do you know people who believe in the drug war? I don’t know if there’s a cop in Baltimore who believes in it except as a means of getting overtime pay, hoard pay. I think everybody knows except the government.”

Read an extended interview with David Simon about the Bush legacy here.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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