Sunday, October 9, 2011

When I agree with Greenwald, I'll say so

I don't have to agree with someone on most things or even like them as a person in order to occasionally agree with them. In that vein, I almost never agree with Glenn Greenwald's take on politics and although I don't know him personally, I've seen enough to be fairly confident that my take on him as a nasty authoritarian when it comes to people who disagree with him is pretty accurate. In other words, if the circumstances ever arose, I highly doubt we'd ever be friends.

But I have no problem pointing out that yesterday he wrote a column I can agree with almost 100%.

In short, the deceit at the heart of America’s barbaric drug policy — that these substances are such unadulterated evils that adults should be put in cages for voluntarily using them — is more glaring than ever... Obviously, most of these banned substances — like alcohol, gambling, sex, junk food consumption, prescription drug use and a litany of other legal activities — can create harm to the individual and to others when abused (though America’s solution for drug users — prison — also creates rather substantial harm to the drug user and to others, including their spouses, parents and children: at least as much harm as, and usually substantially more than, the banned drugs themselves)...

I genuinely don’t understand why a policy that single-handedly sustains America’s status as World’s Largest Jailer — and that consigns huge numbers of minorities and America’s poor to prison and permanent criminal status for no good reason, in the process breaking up families at astonishing rates (to say nothing of the inexorable erosion of civil liberties) — isn’t a higher priority for progressives.

And yes, as I wrote about yesterday, I also agree with Greenwald in calling out Holder's DOJ for going after medical marijuana dispensaries in CA where the voters have decided that activity is legal.

What I'd expect in return, however, is for folks like Greenwald (if he really does care about the drug war) to give AG Holder the praise he's due for doing things like ensuring the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act and working so hard to get it applied retroactively. Doing a google search on "Fair Sentencing Act Greenwald" produces not one result of the kind.

To me this is about the kind of error we make when we assume fellow human beings are either saviors or enemies. Glenn Greenwald isn't always wrong - any more than is AG Holder. Just as neither of them is always right. I can live with that kind of nuance in humanity. Sometimes I wonder if folks like Greenwald can.

P.S. I'd just like to correct one of Greenwald's statements:

I genuinely don’t understand why a policy that single-handedly sustains America’s status as World’s Largest Jailer...isn’t a higher priority for white progressives.
(Bold added)

If he checked in with African American progressives - he'd find that its been a priority for a very long time.

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