After Des Moines Black Lives Matter tweeted out that police should be defunded and abolished, along with prisons, The Iowa Standard contacted each person running for federal or state legislative office to get their opinion. Responses will be published as they are received, and they will be grouped into each race.
Rick Stewart is a Libertarian running for the United States Senate seat currently held by Sen. Joni Ernst.
Here is his response:
Do you support the idea of police and prison abolition for Des Moines or any other city in the United States?
Perhaps for a small town that wants to cut taxes even further, a police force might no longer be necessary to protect Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness for the citizens of that small town.
Des Moines clearly does not fit into that category, so the short answer is no.
It is one of the very few jobs of a duly constituted government – protect Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Unfortunately, due to human nature, large groups of humans predictably include a few who would violate the rights of others. Giving the government a monopoly on the force used to identify and restrain those individuals is fully justified, as it prevents the need for vigilante justice, which tends to be less transparent, and less democratic.
I think the #BLM supporters tend to miss the point. The single most effective way to reduce racist injustice today is to end the racist Drug War. Nothing is so easy, costs so little, and will do so much to reorient law enforcement in America.
When we ask law enforcement to enforce victimless crimes, of which the Drug War constitutes the grand majority, we send them down a rabbit hole of corruption, injustice, racism, and, frankly, severance of the positive relationship needed between citizens and their protectors.
The end result is far too many law enforcement officers serving not the public, but their own twisted world view.
I could go on, but Michelle Alexander’s book ‘The New Jim Crow’ is much more eloquent. The Drug War is racist, has always been racist, and always will be racist. End it now.