Cross-Border Dope War

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Feb 21, 2001.

  1. By Ruben Navarrette
    Source: WorldNetDaily

    Leadership is not about just taking charge, but taking responsibility. President Bush illustrated that in Mexico last week when, on behalf of the American people, he took responsibility for a national appetite for illegal drugs to which drug lords cater.
    Confident that Mexican President Vicente Fox would battle his country's drug cartels, Bush signaled that he supported asking Congress to terminate the annual process in which Mexico must be certified as actively waging such a fight.

    That would be a good first step, as our southern neighbor considers the certification exercise about as humiliating as the average American employee would find regular drug tests. Then, in a gesture of respect to his host, Bush acknowledged that the "main reason'' for the drug flow through Mexico is American consumption.

    He is correct. America's parents have too long looked the other way while their teen-agers got involved with drugs. In effect, this see-no-evil approach lets parents buy into the conventional drug-fighting wisdom -- that their children are innocent prey of foreign drug lords.

    In truth, the kids don't look so innocent. While the Office of National Drug Control Policy proclaims that marijuana and cocaine use among American youth has decreased, anyone in their right mind can tell that these drugs are still far too prevalent. Meanwhile, domestic manufacturing of chemical drugs is increasing, and youth experimentation with so-called designer drugs like Ecstasy is on the rise.

    Fighting yesterday's war by defining the issue as a supply problem, the American government is contemplating a rescue mission to save our children. Having failed to win the war on the home front with an arsenal of drug raids and treatment programs and do-it-yourself political slogans like "Just Say No,'' American officials are ready to escalate the battle internationally, particularly in Colombia, the cradle of the world's narcotics trade.

    Meanwhile, American kids continue to receive mixed messages concerning drugs and those who use them. Recently, the producers of the television show "Ally McBeal'' announced that they have signed Robert Downey Jr., an actor who is a highly publicized drug addict, to a new deal that will earn him close to $1 million for a few months' work. While the government wars against drug lords, stories like this demonstrate to our youth that there is no stigma attached to drug use.

    Maybe the young people of today could have learned nothing else being raised by a generation of baby boomers who, in their own misspent youth, conducted more drug experiments than the FDA. Terrified of becoming Ozzie and Harriet, and desperate to be their children's pals, middle-aged parents have struggled to find the words to tell their teen-age children to do as they say and not as they did. This communication gap is a missed opportunity since teen-agers tell pollsters that the biggest factor in avoiding drug use is concerned and involved parents.

    Americans got a serious jolt from the film "Traffic,'' which depicted the face of addiction in the United States as belonging to a white, suburban kid with good grades in private school. The movie dissed the drug war as a politically motivated stage show.

    Still, it remains difficult for us to shake the habit of blaming others for corrupting our children. For decades, in popular culture and government policy, Mexico and the rest of Latin America have served as convenient villains. Only recently have more and more people begun to say the obvious out loud: That there would be no supply without demand, and little possibility for foreign corruption without a domestic population that is readily corruptible.

    Now that an American president has said it -- and on foreign soil no less -- there is an opportunity for Mexico and the United States to move forward as equal partners in combating illegal drugs. That was the accord reached last week with Bush and Fox pledging to commit their top diplomatic and law enforcement efforts to a new cooperative campaign. Part of that effort should be the ending of the certification process.

    Americans have died in this battle, but so have Mexicans. Ask the families of slain Mexican law enforcement officers who were gunned down by drug lords if they think Americans have assumed their share of responsibility for consuming the illicit commodity that comes up from South America and moves through Mexico. Bush understands that the new relationship between the United States and Mexico must be built upon mutual respect.

    Americans can do their part -- and, while they're at it, pay their respects for dead cops on both sides of the border -- by finally accepting responsibility for raising their children right.

    Ruben Navarrette Jr., a frequent spokesman and commentator on Latino issues, is an editorial board member of the Dallas Morning News and the author of "A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano."

    Source: WorldNetDaily (US Web)
    Author: Ruben Navarrette
    Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2001
    Copyright: 2001, Inc.
    Address: PO Box 409, Cave Junction, OR 97523-0409
    Fax: (541) 597-1700

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