Charleston’s News and Courier featured a progressive opinion piece by former SC state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel on Saturday. Ravenel belongs to a well known political family in the state. His father is the former Congressman Arthur Ravenel and his family is descended from blue-blooded Huguenots who arrived in the 1600’s. So a very well established family.
Thomas Ravenel was elected Treasurer as a Republican in 2004, but was forced to resign less than two years later after being arrested for possession of less than 500 grams cocaine. He was convicted and did time.
Ravenel makes many arguments that will be familiar to proponents of drug legalization. However it is encouraging that argument is being made today in South Carolina and by a Ravenel. The P&C’s hyperconservative editors can’t resist mocking Ravenel in an opposing editorial. He deserves better and one suspects that the editors resort to ad hominem attacks because they cannot counter his arguments. It takes courage to stand up to Charleston’s moral guardians, when you live among them.
It’s encouraging to see South Carolinians debate the drug war in the press. Hopefully, Ravenel’s arguments will be taken up by others around the state. It is past time that we reconsidered the drug prohibition policy in light of its cost and never ending cycles of imprisonment.
Drug prohibition violates logic — and civil rights
By Thomas Ravenel
No matter how bad you might think illegal drugs are, drug prohibition (the War on Drugs) makes it infinitely worse. We must, again, repeal prohibition, not for drug users but for all Americans who are forced to endure the violence, street crime, erosion of civil liberties, corruption and social and economic decay caused by prohibition.
Drug abuse is a medical, health care and spiritual problem, not a problem to be solved within a criminal justice model. What historical precedent is there to recommend our current prohibitionist policy? Isn’t history abundantly clear about such foolishness?
During the 1800s, drugs were legal and could be bought in grocery stores and pharmacies. The temperance movement was started to stop what was considered a menace to society — alcohol, not drugs. Americans learned in the 1920s that prohibition was far worse than alcohol as it created crime, corruption, drive-by shootings and organized crime. Isn’t it time we relearn that lesson and end the madness?
Read the rest: http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/feb/05/05ravenel/