There is a war going on in North America. Over 40,000 people have been killed in the Mexican drug war in the last five years – over 200 of them American citizens. The issues in Mexico are far deeper than mere drug trafficking, and as the conflict has escalated, it is not an unheard of proclamation that Mexico teeters on the verge of collapse. The cartels, which have infiltrated literally every aspect of Mexican government, are virtual tribes which vie for power and control of drug supply routes. These are well organized and well armed, with the major supply of weapons and ammunition coming from the United States. Within the American population, I see a distinct problem with the understanding of this crisis. There is something futile about the whole affair, and while the American and Mexican governments boost the masses of military and police forces along the shared border, I feel a sense of remorse at the losses we are positioned to take – both economically and in terms of lives. My remorse is due to the fact that this is entirely preventable war. The bloodshed is pointless. But worse still is the undeniable truth behind this statement: the American who participates in the purchase of illegal drugs from Mexico – no matter how harmless or fun – is directly responsible for the loss of life in the Mexican war on drugs. The truth is that America and Mexico are at war with themselves; we are at war with our own addictions and our various pursuits of happiness.
How exactly are we at war with ourselves? Observe the facts: 33% of American college students have used marijuana within the last year. About 11% of the American population at large uses the drug, representing 33 million people, making the marijuana industry worth at least $10-40 billion. More troubling is that roughly 60% of this demand is supplied by the Mexican cartels. Furthermore, Mexico likewise supplies America with 90% of its cocaine (just as America supplies the cartels with 90% of their weapons) and floods the market which is valued at $38 billion. The United States currently makes up nearly half the global cocaine market, and while cocaine usage among college students is much lower than the use of marijuana, it is still a large market: 5.7% of American college students used cocaine in 2005 alone. We are thus faced with a twofold problem: 1) a war on our southern border which threatens to destroy the nation of Mexico and continue to kill both Mexicans and Americans; 2) and a population which continues to fund our enemies by purchasing and distributing the narcotics which support them.
Thus I suggest a radical reevaluation of our priorities. Recognizing that the demand for the product supplied by the Mexican cartels is homegrown, we must self enforce a veritable ban on the unethical drug products being sold in the United States. Similar to the Killer Coke campaign against Coca-Cola, our efforts must aim at the cartels themselves. Notice, however, that the Killer Coke campaign never asked to make cola illegal or boycotted the entire industry, it was a targeted campaign against the problem agents. Of course, when talking about cocaine and marijuana, the problem agents represent the largest share of the market. In effect, a boycott of cartel imports means a boycott of cocaine and marijuana in general. But if, as the pro-marijuana camp has stressed repeatedly, marijuana is not addictive then it should be no problem to quit for a time while the lives of innocents rests in the balance (cocaine may prove more difficult for users to quit... but then, this fact has no import on the need to cut the cash flow to the cartels).
The facts are clear: thousands are dying along the United State's southern border in order to supply the addictions and whims of millions of Americans. The cash flow from user to dealer and dealer to cartel is short. Thus Americans who buy the products which fund the drug lords are committing de facto treason; the money flows directly into the pockets of individuals who kidnap, murder, and in other ways destabilize the United States. There is no difference between an American citizen who gives money to al-Qaeda or Hamas, and one who buys marijuana, coke, or another of the various drugs coming in from these cartels. Treason is treason.
It is no exaggeration to say that local dealers are the representatives of the Mexican cartels in your neighborhoods. Your dealer may not be affiliated with the Zetas officially, but just follow the green. Short of full scale war and an invasion of Mexico by the United States, it seems like there is no clear state level solution to the problem – especially when the state of Mexico is nearly run by the cartels. Already troops are massing on the border. And with war comes the inevitable deaths of our loved ones, our friends, our family - all of this to continue our hedonism. Indeed, when buying marijuana, you can have 60% certainty that you are funding the cartels – and when purchasing cocaine the certainty rises to 90%. Are innocent lives really worth the gamble? We are at war with ourselves; America is at war with America. The obvious solution to this problem is simple: we must all put the lives of innocent people before our own pursuits of intoxication. We must stop to cash flow from our pockets to the cartels, a boycott of Mexican drugs. We must, in other words, be willing to fight the cartels – starting at the base of their power: us.