"Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade...Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians...I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility." --Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking to reporters on her two day trip to Mexico City as US Secretary of State
This morning's newspaper blared the headline: Clinton takes drug-war blame. How did El Paso respond? Keep these factors in mind; they make El Paso's reaction significant:
- El Paso voted overwhelmingly for the then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton in her Democratic primary bid for the US presidency. Obama did not even bother to visit the city in that race.
- El Paso is not known as a particularly progressive or leftist-leaning city.
- El Paso has been a bewildered and distressed bystander to intensive levels of violence in her sister-city, Ciudad Juarez. El Paso is a secondary victim, economically and emotionally, to the Mexican drug war.
It is too soon to report El Paso's response definitively; early reports rest on inconclusive data. But early indicators do look positive for Clinton as El Pasoans consider her frank comments in Mexico.
The El Paso Times opinion poll question today, entitled "Blame for Mexico drug wars," asks the question: Is America's consumption of illegal narcotics partially to blame for the recent violence in Mexico?
As this report is written, the unscientific results from 1422 participants are:
376--Absolutely, which is why we should legalize drugs (26.4%)
639--Yes, but legalizing drugs isn't the answer (44.9%)
314--No, the U.S. shouldn't be blamed for Mexico's problems (22%)
093--No, and we've wasted tax dollars with our so-called war on drugs (6.54%)
Of 55 internet reader comments to today's Clinton banner headline news story, they sort out roughly into three categories:
Pro-Clinton = 16 [eg. "Finally, a high-level federal official has the courage to speak the truth. Now let's work on both sides of the border to fix what is a shared problem."]
Con-Clinton = 11 [eg. "Another Democrat blaming the U.S. for the world's problems. These people are so pathetic!"]
Neutral or off-topic = 28 [eg. "I guess I should feel guilty for smoking pot and contributing to the deaths of innocent Mexicans. I do but I will never stop buying Mexican Marijuana as long as I live..."]
This part-time El Pasoan feels congruent with Clinton's assessment. A quote from James Joiner's recent, timely essay is relevant in the context of the Secretary of State's comments:
"It seems to me that the drug war has spilled over the Border with Mexico. However it went north to south. It is our drug war that has spilled into Mexico. It is we who have made Mexico the narco State it is."
Other "person on the street" opinions in this brief vid from UPI.com: