Rebels of the Week: Students for a Sensible Drug Policy at CPACFebruary 9th, 2011
The Conservative Political Action Conference commonly known as CPAC is bearing down on us. Starting tomorrow and continuing into the the weekend politicos from the right side of the political spectrum will converge in Washington, DC to discuss the state of the nation and their plans to garner more political influence. In attendance will be our Rebels of the Week, the coalition group Students for a Sensible Drug Policy.
As a coalition group SSDP is comprised of members from across the political spectrum dedicated to ending the drug war, its unacceptable violation of civil liberties, its incredibly wasteful costs, resultant police brutality and surveillance, racialized enforcement of the law and the inability and hindrance of legitimate medical patients to receive their much needed medication.
We wouldn’t dream of labeling SSDP as a conservative organization but framed correctly they should fit in perfectly at a conservative conference whose stated ideals are respect for individual rights, fiscal responsibility and limited government. SSDP can see the disconnect between conservative rhetoric and its incomplete implementation in reality. This is a common critique of the conservative movement that is often levied, much as Rachel Maddow recently did.
Calling conservatives on their misleading rhetoric and encouraging them to employ a consistent approach to their own ideals is the noteworthy goal of SSDP’s attendance at CPAC and we’re truly glad to have their terrific activists fighting on our side.
Stacia Cosner, SSDP’s Associate Director, said of their participation this weekend:
[SSDP is] educating CPAC attendees about the fact that the Drug War represents the most dramatic expansion of the size and scope of the federal government in the history of the republic.
This is a particularly appropriate event for SSDP since a large part of our mission statement is about engaging young people in the political process, and I personally take a lot of pride in SSDP’s political diversity. We have students from everywhere on the political spectrum but we all agree that the war on drugs isn’t working.
Due to the increasing influence of the libertarian and Ron Paul movements in conservativism and the Republican Party CPAC has been garnering disapproval from social conservatives as a progressively more and more libertarian-oriented event. Ron Paul won last year’s CPAC presidential straw poll and congratulating the American Conservative Union and CPAC for inviting the gay Republican organization, GOProud, to participate in the conference. Young America’s Foundation representative Ryan Sorba reacted in his subsequent inflammatory speech and condemned the organizers of CPAC for being tolerant to queer and alternative lifestyles.
This year many socially conservative organizations have decided to go the next step and boycott the event due to the perceived move toward more libertarian values. Heritage Foundation is the most recent and certainly one of the biggest organization to join the walk out over this “scandal.”
Despite this conflict SSDP is confident that they will be able to steer limited government enthusiasts into a consistent position against government overreach into more areas of our personal lives.
Students for a Sensible Drug Policy are our Rebels of the Week because they are slugging it out in the ideological trenches for liberty and are a reminder to us all that while we might not always agree with everyone on everything we can always work together to roll back the invasive state regulating and oppressing us in our peaceful private lives. Behavior like that has no place in a free, open and liberal society. Look for SSDP at CPAC asking some tough questions about drug policies to conservatives in attendance, passing out literature and reminding us that the war on drugs is a war on us.