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drug war | education | youth

Bush and Honesty about Drug Use

There was a recent editorial by Kathleen Parker defending Bush's decision to lie about his former drug use. She misses the point entirely. This was my letter to her.
Dear Ms. Parker;

I was greatly concerned by your recent editorial regarding Mr. Bush's lack of honesty in discussing his drug use. I agree wholeheartedly that "Children like it when parents act like grown-ups and establish clear boundaries." But part of acting like a grown-up means telling the truth when it is vital to do so. And how can you establish boundaries when your children realize that the ground you're standing on is arbitrary?

Wouldn't you agree that honest, open lines of communication are crucial in providing our children with the best means possible to avoid the dangers around them? Yet problems with drug abuse persist because well-intentioned parents like George Bush and yourself close down this necessary parenting tool in order to "protect your children." What you are doing is creating a system of distrust for authority, and a recognition of hypocrisy that damages further communication.

Any average high school student is fully capable of realizing that you can indeed become President of the United States despite "smoking dope". What you and Bush are teaching them is that the secret is to get away with it, and lie about it later. What you ought to be doing is focusing on the positive things they should be doing in order to become President. After that, you could explain (accurately!) how drug abuse might affect those plans. There are no clearer boundaries than those set by the truth.

Our country's problem with drug abuse stems to a great extent from this culture of dishonesty and hypocrisy that we've engaged in as part of our failing "War on Drugs". We've taken a medical and social issue and tried to apply a legal solution, with no success. Worse, we've conducted this war in a fashion that brings no resolution to these issues, because we refuse to address them candidly. What we end up with is a society where men like Bush (and even Clinton) not only hide the truth about their own choices, but publicly advocate jailing the sick and dying rather than allowing them to use cannabis to save their lives. You may find this a comfortable moral climate in which to raise your children, but for myself? I choose a better world for my children to live in.

Thank you,

Bill Hildebrandt
Associate Director, Parents Ending Prohibition

homepage: homepage: http://www.parentsendingprohibition.org