Come on, America. Let’s get SMART.

In Marie Javdani’s essay “Plata o Plomo: Silver or Lead,” she discusses the real causes of the drug problems overseas and in the United States, and how the two effect one another.  This essay really shocked and confused me, and rightly so, because the drug problem overseas is so extremely complicated.  I never knew how many different groups were fighting about the issue, what America’s involvement level was, and how people were really affected.  I don’t even want to attempt to recap the main factors in the problem for you, because I’m sure I don’t understand it enough to do it justice.  My eyes were opened to this unbelievably difficult and horrifying problem taking place right underneath our noses.  Worse yet, our country’s drug problem seems much smaller and less involved in comparison, at least to me.  I now realize how much of a stupid American I was being.  

I feel like so many Americans, including myself, will just easily accept the idea that the U.S. is sending money to aid efforts to reduce the drug problem in afflicted countries of Latin America.  We, as a nation, say, “Alright, there’s a problem somewhere, let’s send them money.”  It’s a cop-out instead of taking the time and effort to understand the complicated problems and try to find more effective solutions.

That’s obviously not working, as Javdani displays in her essay.  The money we send often has negative effects, because it aids destructive and powerful paramilitary groups, that can do just as much damage as the drug lords.

If money is not the complete answer (*gasp!*), then what else can be done?  I think Javdani makes a really good point that the U.S. needs to start looking at the issue at home from an educational standpoint.  Drug education about the effects is important, to be sure, but people also need to learn about how it affects the world as a whole.  How people in other countries are suffering and dying because of our demand for a dangerous habit.  If people knew that their actions had global consequences, rather than just consequences for their own lives, they might see drugs differently, and maybe positive change would happen.  That this essay was such an eye opener for me is a testament to the fact that education about global drug complications is lacking in our school systems.  My two cents.

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2 Responses to Come on, America. Let’s get SMART.

  1. yellow63 says:

    toastedravioli’s “Come on, America. Let’s get SMART” post raises several good points about the ways America takes initiative when problems arise in other nations, specifically those in our backyard. I don’t know if it’s a matter of Americans being stupid as much as it is a matter of Americans being unaware of how deeply the drug wars affect the lives of individuals who live in countries such as Mexico.
    I found a video that gave me some more insight into what daily life is like in the countries where cartels more than governments seem to rule. The video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF9jz1M7lX4.
    The video highlights one of the cartels known as “La Familia” and illustrates how brutal they can be. They traffic crystal meth, mainly to the US.. “Knowing Mexico was fighting to keep drugs off America’s streets, pitched in. Congress made a 1.4 billion dollar pledge” to aid in the process. It’s ironic that this video mentions that the US aided mostly through monetary support, just as toastedravioli says we do.
    As the video progresses, it gets more personal, showing how innocent people can get involved in this culture. toastedravioli suggests implementing some sort of education program in schools. I think that the only way to eradicate this problem is through education, but I am not sure how attainable that goal is, having watched this video, without taking away the power of the drug lords.

  2. calmexpress says:

    I also feel that Americans and our government do not really understand the intricacies of the war on drugs in Colombia or Mexico. However, I strongly believe that we must continue to aid their government in it’s effort to combat drugs. “The money we send often has negative effects, because it aids destructive and powerful paramilitary groups, that can do just as much damage as the drug lords” – toastedravioli. Yes, this is true but imagine if they received no monetary aid at all. The drug lords have just as much money, if not more, as their government. And since we are the biggest consumers of these illegal and harmful drugs, I feel it is only right to fund those fighting against them, as well. “If money is not the complete answer (*gasp!*), then what else can be done?”-taostedravioli I believe emphasis needs to be placed directly on the growers and the strengthening and protection of our boarders. We have to fight this war on every front! Helping eradicate these fields and controlling what’s allowed into our country would be most effective, I think. As long as you have people who want these drugs, there will always be a supplier.

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