Essay/Video: Breaking the Taboo, a film about the failed war on drugs

I have always been a help to you; remember the Civil War? Sometimes I was the only entity available to alleviate pain. When I was not allowed to grow, the suffering of soldiers, Union and Confederate, was unendurable.
-The Opium Poppy

Breaking the Taboo, a film about the failed war on drugs, is a must see for everyone. It is narrated beautifully by Morgan Freeman and tells the compelling story of how out of touch with reality world leaders, especially those in the United States, have been on this issue. Along with millions, worldwide, drugs have caused immense suffering and heartache and in some cases incarceration and death to members of my own family. At this very moment I do not know the exact whereabouts of two of my nephews; young boys who never had a chance, given the lack of guidance they received at home and in the community, to know who they were, or that their young lives had value. Into drugs and crime they went, thinking, since this was mostly what they saw being sold to them on television, that it was cool.

I think criminalizing a plant is a no-win situation, since the plant will survive all of us, eventually. And it has always grieved me, as someone who loves and respects plants, that this insult to plant life has been so cruelly delivered. In a way the destruction of human life and culture we see in all societies where plants are attacked and mercilessly destroyed, though they are entirely blameless, is the karma that humans could hardly escape, based on our brutal behavior. What must plants, that have been so fabulously medicinal and beneficial to humans, think of us?

This film shows the cost of attempting to control addiction by firing guns at it and putting it in jail. A former prisoner talks about the ease with which drugs flow in maximum security prisons, an ease of which our country, with its more than two million prisoners, appears not to notice.

I believe our addicts are treated like criminals rather than as sick people who commit crimes trying not to feel sicker, because our leaders have not only lacked empathy for them as human beings (an empathy demonstrated in this film notably by a former president of Sweden) but have actively despised the poor and of color people of this Great Nation. (They love to call it that as if greatness can survive in institutions devoid of compassion). There is no way we could not receive the message that Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. Walker Bush hated our communities and our young. Just say no, our children were told, as these “leaders” with their Iran/Contra scandals, billions of tax-payer dollars, secret intelligence about everything on the planet, and vast military might, helped spread the epidemic of addiction and violence across the globe.

Legalizing and regulating marijuana, cocaine, and heroin would have a civilizing effect on communities and countries worldwide. We could save so much money! So many lives! So many communities! Our children would not grow up terrified of every stranger they meet.

But what was the real object of the war on drugs? Was it to take our young men off the street so they could not protest the various wars that have impoverished the nation? Was it to destroy neighborhoods so that banks and those who control them could eventually own whole cities across the land? Was it to pay black people back for having a movement in the Sixties that actually made us feel like citizens?

Or was it to distract us from the reality that the planet itself was being smoked.

Presidents as we know can be as racist, hostile to nature, and sociopathic, as anyone else. On this level it did not really surprise me to learn that at the meetings of world dictators (leaders does not really fit) at the Bohemian Grove each year, members wear outfits that are virtually identical to those of the Ku Klux Klan.

It will take all of us working together to see that this failing war is not “won” on the graves of our young people’s destroyed lives.  The mausoleums of our dying communities.

A first step is to watch this film and to see there are ways out of the terror and despair that have gripped so many communities in the world, and that in the general awakening that is happening on the planet, this is an area ripe for the rising sun.