As I puttered around the house doing laundry and tidying the kitchen and fluffing pillows yesterday morning, my local NPR station was on in the background. The host was interviewing Barry McCaffrey of Clinton-era war-on-drugs fame and I found myself intrigued. I recall him taking a very different tack from the Nancy Reagan “just say no” campaign, but couldn’t really remember many of the specifics, so my ears perked up and I slowed my tasks down in order to pay closer attention.
It is easy to pay attention to General McCaffrey, given that he is a career military man and speaks with 100% authority. He has very strong opinions on seemingly every subject in the Universe and speaks about them with no equivocation whatsoever. When callers or the host disagreed with him, he was not condescending, but so sure of himself that I wonder if he often causes others to question their own rationale. I found myself agreeing with him on a few issues and disagreeing about others, but glad I wasn’t in the room with him admitting my dissent.
Until he began talking about the drug policy his task force crafted for the Office of National Drug Control Policy during his time in the Clinton White House. It started innocently enough, with him advocating for developmentally appropriate approaches to drug resistance education. Okay, fair enough. I can see the logic in that.
I agree with you one hundred percent although I do admit to the general stupidity of youth — sorry about that.
I agree with you, too. I wish we could put more energy into positive attempts at change. Lately, my discouragement has risen above my hope at times. Yet, hope is not completely smothered…not yet dead. Long live HOPE!
Dear Kari, once again, what I think of as your "fierce honesty" is displayed here and I applaud your reasoning and your passion.
So often people think that we've got to be "tough" with others. That only "toughness" brings change. The thought is also that we need to make an enemy out of drugs or sex or whatever is the bugaboo of the time.
We often define ourselves by what we're not. So we seem to need enemies. In that way, supposedly, we discover who we aren't and then we know who we are. Strange. Truly.
And so drugs become the enemy. And the "superior human being" warns us against them. And says the "tough" things about what will happen if we become druggies. Let's not be THEM! Let's be . . . what?
That's the thing we need to do– help one another discover who we want to be. Who we are free to be.
And we need to create the space and opportunity in which growth into that "who-ness" we choose is possible.
Thanks for making me think!
Kario, I'm behind you all the way. I believe the best way to turn our youths off drugs is by educating them to the dangers they pose. While some youngsters may seek drugs as a form of escape from reality, depression, and family troubles, for example, they need to know that this is not the way to solve their problems. Their fix is temporary and in the case of stronger drugs, the risks are that much higher. And while young people can have "stupid" moments, it doesn't mean they're stupid. I don't feel this is the way to prevent drug use in minors. No way.
I think the general's approach explains a lot about the general pickle we're in as a nation. Shame, bullying, exclusion of anyone disagreed with – and see how well it's working.
I'd vote for you if you ran for office, my friend!
"The only way to really change the way we treat illegal drugs and alcohol is by understanding the reasons people turn to them in the first place and supporting them as they learn to deal honestly with the challenges in their lives."
I'm with you, 100 percent, and with Deb Shucka. Shame, bullying, exclusion have no place in healing the broken heart, and sometimes mind, of a child.