Jeff Sessions is a racist. We know this. We know this because back in the days when Republicans hadn't surrendered all of their ethics and morality, even they said he was too racist to be a federal judge. This, of course, meant he was perfect to be President Bannon's Attorney General in Charge of Destroying Minority Communities.
Sessions is already vigorously pursuing his life's calling of reigniting the failed and debunked "War on Drugs" to wield as a cudgel against Those People. America is in the middle of the worst drug epidemic in our lifetime so it's the perfect time to start terrorizing, sorry, I meant "clean up" black and Latino communities. There's just this one teensy little problem:
The drug epidemic is not in minority communities.
This is a helpful map The New York Times put together to show the counties where the largest amount of fatal overdoses are taking place. The darker the county, the less overdoses, the lighter, the more.
If, like me, American geography is not your strong suit, the states getting pummeled the hardest by opioids are New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The first four states are known for a lot of things, but racial diversity is not one of them. And if you check a census map, you will find that the areas suffering the most in PA and MD are the ones with very few minorities. The opioid epidemic is almost entirely relegated to white communities. And that's a problem for a policy rooted in hurting minorities.
"The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people," former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman told Harper's writer Dan Baum for the April cover story published Tuesday."
You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities," Ehrlichman said. "We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."
Knowing this, it came as no surprise that President Bannon's pick to lead the white nationalist assault would use the same methods. But the question now is how to persecute minorities under one set of rules and whites under another? Sessions says he's opposed to drugs in general but there is little chance he will take the war to white communities; that simply isn't the point of this exercise in government-sponsored terrorism.
We saw Sessions' conundrum play out over the last several years as conservatives "suddenly" realized that throwing addicts in jail is not the solution to drug abuse. That this realization came just as opioid abuse started to impact white communities was surely just a coincidence but conservatives shifted from "Junkies are scum of the earth and they must be punished for their moral rot" to "These poor souls are suffering and we must have compassion for them." The hypocrisy and racism was galling but, like so many other problem afflicting minorities, America had to wait for white people to suffer the same way in order for something to be done about it.
But Sessions is truly gung-ho about doubling down on a policy that was threatening to visit the same suffering on white people that it visits on blacks and Latinos: Young men being sent to jail repeatedly for using drugs, being unable to find a job when they get out. Children losing their father as the police routinely incarcerate them for even the mildest of drug offenses. The creation of a vicious cycle as children grow up in broken homes in a community with an ever increasing number of felons, feeding into poverty, misery and more drug use and crime.
Sure, that sounds great (to Republicans) when it's black people and Latinos doing the time but how does a white supremacist justify doing the same to his own "superior" people? Especially when so many of them are conservative voters? It's possible Sessions will rely on an artificial distinction between opioid addicts and recreational marijuana users. Perhaps the former will be victims who need help and the latter will be willful scofflaws deserving of years in jail. Perhaps opioids will find themselves reclassified as less dangerous. Perhaps we'll "discover" that marijuana is funding terrorists and is now a threat to national security. Perhaps Sessions will simply ignore the opioid crisis and make marijuana his priority, knowing that the racially tilted outcome will fulfill his true goal.
Whatever it is, look for the obscene rationale that will allow Sessions to focus the full weight on the United States government on "drug-infested" minority communities while turning a blind eye to the actual drug epidemic in our midst. The only way to stop this coming carnage is to take back the House and Senate in 2018 and demand Congress end the use of American law enforcement to further a blatantly racist agenda.
There are 567 days left to the 2018 elections.
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