Thursday, March 24, 2016

Nixon's War on Drugs was actually a war on his political opponents - blacks and hippies

John Erlichman, President Richard Nixon's aid who went to prison in the Watetgate scandal, revealed the crass, heartless political motivation for Nixon's War on Drugs.  It was a way to attack his political opponents, hippies and blacks. Here is the stunning quote:

"You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. 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. 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.”"

So there you have it - destroy lives to attack your political enemies, to win votes. Nixon's War on Drugs and his Southern Strategy (courting the South by welcoming racists who wanted to abandon LBJ's Democratic Party) has attacked  American blacks. Inner city black and brown neighborhoods are literally war zones where the police are often seen as an occupying military and huge numbers of young blacks are imprisoned. 

The anti-back tactics continue in the Republican South as they continuously find ever more creative and crude ways to restrict black and brown voting.

I know that my black and brown friends will find nothing surprising about this revealing quotation, but I find it deeply shocking and dismaying.