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LOOKING ASKANCE - Joseph T. Gonzales (The Freeman) - November 11, 2018 - 12:00am

There is a disconnect in our nation’s drug policy. The Palace spokesman thinks it’s good idea for children to take mandatory drug tests. Not only does it follow the government’s relentless drive against the drug menace, but supposedly, parents would want to know if their kids are doing drugs.


How convincing is that? The best way to test would probably be to ask the parents themselves. Is this something they welcome? That a random government officer can just approach their child and test them? And not get any direction from parents to see if they think it’s a great idea? Is this not fundamentally a decision that should be left with the parent?

If a parent objects, can the government override the decision? Why force the parent and child? Is this not a violation of their privacy and Constitutional rights and a gross exercise of state power?

The spokesman says it can be done under the doctrine of parens patriae. That is a legal doctrine supporting the principle that the state will act like the parent of its citizens, and force all its citizen-children to do what is best because father knows best! It’s like requiring all citizens to undergo mass inoculation against a disease, or deciding to prosecute a rapist even if the victim’s parents don’t want negative publicity.

Parens patriae is a fluid, legal concept and can be interpreted many ways. Ultimately, it will be the Supreme Court that will define its limits, and getting a ruling that state-forced drug testing for kids is illegal migration might take years. Meanwhile, this government intends to waste resources by pursuing mass tests on the sector least likely to use drugs.

Really, my tax money will be devoted to catching kids on drugs? Why not adults?

Meanwhile, let’s juxtapose the government attitude towards drug testing of children versus drug testing for political candidates.

For candidates, our government isn’t gung-ho about mandatory tests. The spokesman said it might violate the Constitution if drug agencies forced them to do so.

Say what? Why would the Constitution care if the official is forced to take a drug test if it cannot protect a 10-year-old from being forced to take it?

The inconsistency in attitude towards different sectors in society is troubling. We can force drug tests on kids, but not on politicians? What is the reason for such disparity?

The explanation is that there are already certain criteria imposed by the Constitution for candidates, and the executive branch cannot add qualifications. It would be unconstitutional.

Well, there’s an easy solution for that! Let all those who fail drug tests continue running for office (meaning don’t disqualify them), but prosecute them for their crimes, if need be. Track them for use and abuse. Figure out their suppliers and accomplices, and catch them in the act. And let the electorate know whether those politicians did or did not break the law. Now there wouldn’t be anything constitutionally prohibited about that, right?

That’s much better use of government funds. And it will show consistency from this administration that has talked tough versus drugs. You want to catch druggies? What better way to set an example than purge from within?

Let us wait for our government to stand firm, and demonstrate to us that there is neither fear nor favor in their supposed war against drugs. Is this a war that the state can wage within the very midst of the ranks of the powerful and rich? Or just against innocent, defenseless kids?

Let not “pathetic” be the ending to this story.

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