We have heard candidates take tough stands on what they will do to criminals who get caught. But they said little to nothing about the drug business that is causing the violence.
In Wilmington, where the violence is the greatest, there was little discussion of what to do about drug trafficking. Should the laws be changed and how? Should drugs be legalized or decriminalized? Should the penalties be changed? What kind of alternatives should be made available?
We are not endorsing any of these views. But it is curious that all that most candidates have done is rant against crime. Where are their solutions?If Libertarians had been allowed to debate at the University of Delaware this week, or if the News Journal had ever noticed press releases or announcements of campaign activities from the LPD through the last three months, the editors would know that one party actually has proposed specific solutions to these problems.
Libertarian candidates in Delaware are running on a platform that calls for legalization of marijuana. We note that it costs roughly $30,000/year to keep a non-violent drug offender incarcerated in Delaware, and that more than one-third of our state's prisoner population fits into this class. If marijuana were legalized and regulated like wine, we would not only eliminate that strain on our prison system and our budget, but we would have plenty of money left to treat those who actually had addiction problems (at a cost of around $9,000/person/year instead of $30,000).
Legalizing marijuana would, in one fell swoop, put a high percentage of Wilmington's drug traffickers out of business.
Our candidates for General Assembly and statewide offices have all advocated such a change.
But legalization (which is on the ballot in places like Colorado and Oregon this year) will not be sufficient without changes in Washington DC. The Feds (primarily the Drug Enforcement Agency) under President Obama's directives, refuse to pay attention to state laws about drugs.
For example: Delaware passed medical marijuana, but cancer patients still cannot access it. Our doctors are afraid to prescribe it, and no suppliers will step forward because they are afraid of the DEA. Our congressional delegation has employed the silence of cowards with regard to this issue.
This year the only candidate for Federal office will to discuss the failed "war on drugs" is US House candidate Scott Gesty. But Scott can't discuss the issue and get it into the political discourse as the News Journal editors wish because . . . their own paper refuses to cover third party candidates.
You do not have to support or vote for a candidate or party to need them in the news or in the debates. You need them there to raise the uncomfortable issues that Demopublicans do not want to talk about. Democrats won't talk about drug legalization because it makes them look soft on crime. Republicans won't discuss it because their evangelical base would abandon them.
If there were Libertarian candidates on the stage, Demopublicans would have to deal with this issue.
On the State level it will take Libertarians (as, indeed, it took Libertarians on the national level) to push the issue of drug legalization to the forefront.
So, editors of the News Journal (several of whom are among my personal friends and associates), if you want specific answers to uncomfortable policy questions, how about covering the candidates willing to provide them?