Trump’s demagoguery is now turning dangerous. After promising his gullible voter base when he was running for office that he would do something in regards to curbing the opioid epidemic that claimed over 42,000 lives in 2016, he finally rolled out his plan the other day in Manchester, New Hampshire, one of the states hardest hit by the current crisis.
The centerpiece of his plan: Killing drug dealers. No matter that such a knuckle-dragging, boneheaded idea has the support of neither drug abuse, law enforcement nor judicial experts, Trump will no doubt attempt to forge ahead — similar to Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, who has had thousands of suspected drug dealers executed in that country, sans arrest and trial over the last couple of years.
Trump, as he often does, is attempting to play the sly political fox in the stance he is taking, skillfully playing to the ignorance of his base. When the pushback comes against his wild, over-the-top solution he’ll simply throw up his hands and proclaim, “I had a great solution, but you know they wouldn’t go along with it, so it’s not my fault that the problem still exists. Hey, I tried.”
That’s going to be his mantra once he is bounced out of office: “They prevented me from doing my job.” He’ll sit in Trump Tower and take potshots at his successor, no matter if they are a Democrat or Republican. His fun is tweeting, not governing, since it’s a lot easier to do the former than the latter.
But in fact it is, this failure to address the opioid crisis is his fault, along with the rest of our political leadership at virtually every level of government. As per usual, our elected officials are fighting yesterday’s battles while making today’s mistakes. Trump also is proposing that opioid prescriptions be reduced by one-third over three years. The only problem is, the vast majority of people that overdose today are doing so using heroin and fentanyl, not prescribed opioids.
And it was government crackdowns on “pill mills” that created the current crisis. Here in Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine simply had to know that if he abruptly cut off the supply of opioids to addicts (with no viable substitutes to take their place) they would be forced into the back alleys where they would be at the mercy of unscrupulous dealers who would sell them anything, including adulterated drugs. And that’s what caused the surge in drug deaths, wrongheaded governmental policy.
Rather than coming up with real solutions that treat the opioid crisis like the medical emergency that it is, Trump would rather attempt to solve the problem via legal means (which has never worked in spite of over 50 years of trying). Trump is playing politics by laying the blame on the dealers rather than the addicted. In that way he can blame “Mexicans” and “urban blacks” for the problem and thereby absolve the suburban white user, the demographic whose appetite for illicit substances is the real root cause of the problem.
But the dealer out in Medina isn’t worried about the death penalty; he or she knows that it’s not being proposed for them. For them, when America comes to its collective sense about drugs, the country will adopt harm reduction, a form of treatment that puts the addict/client first, where saving their lives until they are cured is the goal. And the disgusting thing about Trump’s actions is that he knows a successful program of harm reduction is currently operational in Seattle, but he — and other politicians — are loath to embrace it.
Trump would rather tell folks what they want to hear: That he’s going to kill drug dealers, the children of the very folks he purports to represent. And some of these stupid people are yelling, “Yes, kill my child!”
From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.