CNN has a piece focused on Rand Paul’s reaction to events in Baltimore, attempting to portray the Republican presidential candidate as “unorthodox.” However, buried in their analysis are noteworthy comments from President Barack Obama regarding the root causes of tension between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
“If you send police officers into those situations where the drug trade is the primary economy and you say to them basically your job is to contain that and arrest kids and put them in jail when those police officers know (it’s not going to fix things), then it’s not surprising you end up with a situation of enormous tension between those communities and those police officers,” [Obama] said.
While Senator Paul merely campaigns for the White House, Obama currently resides there. So one might wonder why, if the president recognizes the drug war as a significant root cause of injustice, he has not made the issue a larger and more unifying focus of his administration. Clearly, Obama has no problem using his phone and pen to issue executive orders which in some cases defy constitutional limitations. Why, then, doesn’t he use his legitimate administrative authority to scale back the excesses of the drug war, or pursue legislative changes which could provide more permanent solutions?