Total chaos has erupted in El Paso, TX following a city council resolution calling for an open dialogue about drug legalization. The mayor promptly vetoed it, and lots of angry people are talking about how we shouldn’t talk about this.
To understand how little it takes to drive drug war supporters completely insane, watch El Paso City Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s impressively reasonable argument for a dialogue on our drug policy. All he’s saying is that we should talk about drug policy options and try to address ongoing problems. And to that, the mayor replied…VETO!
Here is the totality of El Paso Mayor John Cook’s
argument for not talking about drug legalization:
"It is not realistic to believe that the U.S. Congress will seriously consider any broad-based debate on the legalization of narcotics," Cook added. "That position is not consistent with the community standards both locally and nationally." [El Paso Times]
If this sounds familiar, it’s because enemies of the drug war debate have been insisting for years that there’s nothing to talk about. It’s weird too because if they’re so sure Congress will never do it, then there’s really no good reason to obstruct the conversation. What are they afraid of?
Of course, the downside of claiming a monopoly on reality and refusing to debate is that you look like an idiot. And that’s exactly what appears to be happening here, as the mayor’s allies are refusing to back his veto and the council is pushing for an override.
So all we have to do is win the debate over whether or not to have a debate, and we can finally get around to debating. I can't wait.