OCTOBER 2001: WHEN THE BATTLE IS OVER
When the battle is over - I cannot help but recall that famous old hymn sung to me by my dear grandfather as a young boy.
The other day while listening to talk radio, I heard the most interesting comment by our Attorney-General, John Ashcroft. He was commenting on the war in Afghanistan. "We are at war, make no mistake about that. We are faced with only one war."
Whoa! I say to myself, what happened to my war? Is it over? If it's over, who won, and better yet what was won? I mean, here I sit, rotting away year after year in prison. When a war ends, are not the prisoners of war released from captivity? What kind of war is this or was this, this war against drugs? It was not a war against drugs at all, it was and remains a war against the citizens of this nation. A band of renegades are intent on having their values indelibly imprinted on the population's way of life. I am not supporting the use of drugs, but who am I to say what my fellow Americans do with their leisure time? Am I their lieutenant, do I command another, and if so by what authority? It is time to call off this war against our citizens and tend to the business of repairing the roads and infrastructure of this decaying nation. I can see why people the world over are PISSED OFF at us, how they look at us and smile and pat us on the back while saying among themselves, I wish the hell those Americans would mind their own damn business. And they are right, we should sweep our floor clean of a corrupt and filthy Congress, before we go traipsing off to God knows where to put someone else's house in order. If we want a democracy, I for one say, let it begin at home and not in some distant foreign land with a name we can't even pronounce properly.
So what happens now, Mr. Ashcroft? We go home to our wives and kids and fly kites again? Or do we just tighten up our prison garb and wait out these barbaric sentences?
I might remind those of you that do not remember what happened after prohibition of alcohol was abolished. No one convicted for bootlegging illegal rum from Cuba or illicit Canadian whisky from our neighbor to the north went free. No indeed, to a man they served out their miserable sentences. The last of the bootleggers was set free in 1942, in a body bag. Think about it. This time let's not make the same mistake.
Until next month, this is your Drug War correspondent writing to you from behind the wire.
Richard J. Lester