In the next few months up to 20,000 Americans, convicted of crack cocaine possession, will be realeased back to their homes. This is a result of the Supreme Court's decision, effective on the first of this month, that the manditory sentencing rules imposed on judges back in the 1980's were too harsh and, in fact, racist. Possession of crack mandated 5 years in prison. Ten years if 5 grams.
As crack is the ‘black man’s drug’ and the powdered form is the ‘white man’s drug,’ our racist culture encouraged their legislators to impose mandatory jail time for crack, effectively removing thousands of black folks from the streets of America. Eighty-five percent of crack users are black.
In June of this year, the pernicious and punitive Bush Administration asked its now-defunct attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, to persuade the high court to halt this sentence reduction order. Gonzales and Bush are fellow Texans, a state known for killing more inmates than any other. Mr. Bush, himself, as governor, allowed 116 to be executed in his 4 years in office; he granted one stay of execution. He was known ‘the chief executive officer of the Texas death industry.’
Wisely, the US Supreme Court did not listen to Bush/Gonzales and on the first of this month, reduced the average crack sentence by 15 months. The Republican Party, of course, is appalled by this ruling, preferring ‘those people’ to stay in jail to ‘keep our streets safe.’ No doubt they will use this ruling as a campaign wedge in the presidential election next November.
The terribly skewed thinking of the Republican Party on this issue of ’safe streets’ and mandatory sentencing for crack users is this: most Republicans live in the suburbs or on farms in America, miles and miles from the ‘dangerous streets’ that they hope to protect. Were it not such an egregious political scam it might be laughable. The folks in the inner city watch each day as their young men are hauled away to jail, disappearing from the community for 5 to 10 years, for possessing a rock of crack while in the suburbs, their young men snort a line with near impunity. Whose ’safe streets?’
Yet, because of the highly-effective political spin machines employed by the Republicans [read swiftboating of John Kerry] many Americans will blindly support tougher mandatory sentencing, believing that ‘their’ streets will be safer because the drug dealers and users will be behind bars. That’s how the Republican Party here in America survives- fear and ‘justice!’
What a racist history we present to the world. We were not ashamed enough that we stole the native lands? That we enslaved Africans? Today, decades later, our white superiority still knows no shame or sorrow. When will we ever learn?