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Jonathan Westminster: "The 15% Solution," Serialization, 4th Installment: Chapter Three

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              In this environment, "The 15% Solution" worked to perfection. With nei­ther the Democratic Party nor the left-wing third parties offering via­ble, politi­cally attractive alternatives to either then-pres­ent policy or the longer-term   Reactionary threat, voter turn-out for a Presi­dential election fell to an all-time low in the year 2000: 39% of regis­tered vot­ers, repre­senting 28% of the eligible vot­ers.  Former Sen­ator Pine won the Presi­dency with 53% of that vote, amounting to pre­cisely 15% of those eligi­ble, just as the original "Solu­tion" had called for.  With simi­lar voting outcomes, the 15% Solution also led to the election of in­creased Republi­can majorities in both Houses of Con­gress.

              Further, by this time almost all of the sitting Republicans had the endorse­ment of the Christian Coalition and openly espoused its political agenda.  That agenda, first presented in summary form in 1995 in a docu­ment called the "Contract on the American Family" (PFAW; Porteous) featured the so-called "morality" issues, for example: termi­nat­ing freedom of choice in the outcome of pregnancy, mandating prayer in the schools, government support of reli­gious schools, banning sex education, denying the civil rights of homosexuals, and so forth.  At the same time, its writers were giving almost equal billing to the prima­ry interests of their major backers: further tax cuts, evermore deregu­lation of private economic activ­ity, ever-freer rein to the reign of the profit-driven "free market."

              In late 1994, with the prospect at that time of a Republican take­over of the Congress, the Coalition had briefly abandoned its primary focus on the "morality" agenda to concentrate on Right-Wing economic is­sues, such as tax cuts for the wealthy (DNC, 2/13/95). (It is fascinat­ing that in his speech to the Republican National Convention in 1992, Pat Robertson had actually used the word "taxes" more than he had used the word "God.")

              But after the election of the Republican Congress in 1994, in the run-up to the 1996 Presidential elections that began in early 1995, the Coalition made it clear that "morality" (in its sense of the term) would always come before economics (Edsall).  Since the Coalition controlled the core vote for the Republican Party, and showed that it could wield that control very effectively, every serious Republican Presidential can­didate from 1995 onwards put Christian Coalition-type "morality" first, even if he or she didn't really believe it.  Thus Pine's heavy emphasis on the matter in the year 2000.  (Knowing that Pine wasn't really one of theirs, his Chris­tian Co­alition supporters often referred to him in a term they had also used for  Bob Dole: "transitional President" [Judis].)

              Actually, that sort of maneuvering for   favor was noth­ing new for Re­pub­li­cans.  In 1980, George Bush was offered the Vice-presidential nomi­na­tion with the former Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, a deter­mined opponent of freedom of choice in the outcome of pregnan­cy. Bush and his wife had been life-long supporters of an organization called Planned Parent­hood.  It provided sex educa­tion and elective pregnancy termination ser­vices across the country.  But Bush overnight switched to being an out-spoken opponent of free­dom of choice.  And during his term as Presi­dent the majority of his vetoes, the high­est num­ber ever recorded by a one term President, were related to that issue.

              Just like President George HW Bush, his Republican contemporary by age, Carnathon Pine had no real policy alternatives for governing the country and no concerted plan to turn the economy around other than "cut taxes and end government regulation, interference, and red tape."  This ap­proach had already been tried under both Bush's predecessor, Reagan, and his successor, the Bill Clinton/Newton Gingrich tandem.  (Newton Gingrich was the first Republican Speaker of the House of Representa­tives in the '90s.)  It was, however, not a solution to, but a major cause of, problems.  But no one seemed to recognize that fact, or if they did, make much of it.

              Although not a true believer himself, Pine had leaned heavily on the Religious Right for support.  Thus in his speeches he spent much time talking about "moral decay," "turning away from God," the "fail­ure of the family," and (referring to the then still legal medical proce­dure elective termination of pregnancy before the time of fetal viability) the "slaughter of innocent children in the womb," as the primary causes of the problems the country faced.  As has been pointed out previously, they were, of course, nothing of the kind.  But given the weak opposi­tion he faced, Pine was able to use the "moral decline" theme with great effectiveness.

              The solution to the national problems that he proposed was "moral restoration as the savior of the nation."  Although the slogan had a nice rhyming ring to it, it unfortunately had nothing real to offer in the way of problem solving.  Pine sought to get around that problem by focus­ing the "strategy" on one or two well-defined areas of human behavior.  A promi­nent one for him was the use of the so-called "illegal drugs," primarily marijuana, heroin, and cocaine.

              All of the "recreational drugs," whether "legal" or "illegal," were non-medicinal chemical substances used to achieve various desired alter­ations of the conscious state.  (Such drugs often caused undesirable short- and long-term outcomes as well.)  They ranged from alco­hol through tobacco to cocaine.  (As is well-known, today only those few substances that are relatively safe, unlike tobacco and alco­hol, are widely used.  The use of no psychoactive recreational drugs is promoted or adver­tised, of course, and all are sold only on a non-profit basis.)

              Some saw the issue of the use of the "illegal" drugs as a moral one, while others viewed it as one of  public health (alcohol and tobac­co use being responsible for over 25% of all deaths at the time).  But mor­al or health issue, following a traditional old politically based American prac­tice, government attempted to deal with the problem through the use of the criminal law.  (Today, of course, this approach just makes no sense.)  Thus, in the old United States all drug use was illegal, at least for some per­sons.  However, the laws were enforced differently for different drugs and different types of person (Jonas).  That reality creat­ed serious prob­lems of its own, beyond those created by the action of the recreational drugs on those individuals using them.

              For example, the sale of tobacco and alcohol to underage persons was seldom the focus of criminal prosecution, the non-prescription sale and use of prescription psychoactive drugs, also "illegal," almost never.  However, in that national program called the "Drug War," violations of the laws concerning the possession, distribution, sale, and use of the "illegals" were heavily en­forced--for certain persons.  Blacks and His­panics were much more likely than whites to be punished for violating such laws.

              Although the "War on Drugs" had little effect on drug use, it did wreak havoc on the minority communities in which it was waged, and filled the pris­ons with (mainly minority) non-violent drug offenders (Mauer and Huling).  And it was very useful politically.  Like Presi­dent Bush, President Pine knew that.  And so he set out to resurrect a strate­gy that had lain virtually dormant for the decade of the 90s.  Mo­bilizing the "mor­al imperatives," Pine resolved to revitalize the "Drug War" by de­claring "The Real Drug War."

              "The Real Drug War" no more solved the problem of drug use/abuse as it was defined by   Reaction than did the origi­nal "Drug War," prose­cuted with varying degrees of vigor by Republi­can Presidents from Nixon through Bush (Jonas).  But the idea was very effective politi­cally, just as its predecessor had been.  It created an ene­my, and that ene­my could conveniently be defined as black (even though the overwhelming majority of the users of illegal drugs were white).

              More importantly, as we shall see, the "Real Drug War" was very signifi­cant in laying down the physical and psychological foundation for the coming Fascist Period.  Pine felt that the drug issue would be so useful to him politi­cally and institutionally that he devoted virtually his whole Inaugural Address to it.  We present the complete text of that address (one of the briefest in Pres­idential history) here.

The Inaugural Address of President Carnathon Pine, Jan. 20, 2001

   Mr. Chief Justice, Madam Speaker, friends, my fellow Ameri­cans.  It is both a privilege and a burden for me to ap­pear before you in my new role today.  A privilege because no one can aspire to a higher office than the Presidency of our great, God-blessed, land.  A burden, because after all of my years in the Senate, many of them spent criti­cizing Presidents for do­ing this and not doing that, I now have to try to do what I said all along they ought to be doing but weren't.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS, is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine, Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books on health policy, health and wellness, and sports and regular exercise. In (more...)
 

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