Joseph Biden, Mass-Incarcerator-in-Chief and Other Accomplishments

There are memes going around telling us that we cannot vote for candidates who hurt the ones we love and care about. We understand who the meme refers to. Its target is Donald Trump and those who may vote for him. But it would be more accurate to ask this question of all those voting for Joe Biden.

Didn’t Biden author the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act in the Senate, the draconian crime bill that disproportionately impacted poor and minority members of our society? That wasn’t the half of it.

I bet you don’t remember the Biden-Thurmond crime bill of 1982. It eliminated parole at the federal level, expanded civil asset forfeiture, limited access to bail (a provision the ACLU denounced for standing legal innocence on its head), increased penalties for drugs, and called for a drug czar. Terrifyingly, the bill passed by the Senate and House overwhelmingly but was vetoed by then-president Ronald Reagan. Why? The drug czar bit was too much for Reagan. Really? Yes, really.

Sen. Joseph Biden, right, and Sen. Strom Thurmond are pictured in 1987. (AP Photo)
Strom Thurmond and Joseph Biden, responsible for the Biden-Thurmond crime bill of 1982

Who’s this Strom Thurmond person? Look into it. Biden eulogized the man in 2003. That’s a eulogy probably worth looking into. Before you go to the polls. Or maybe you already voted? Hey, Biden isn’t big and orange, right?

Biden didn’t let Reagan’s veto deter him. Biden shaped the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. The bill eliminated parole, expanded civil asset forfeiture, and restricted access to bail. Biden led in foisting upon the public the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. It lengthened sentences for many offenses. That’s the law that created the infamous 100:1 crack versus cocaine sentencing disparity. I am pretty sure you’ve heard of that monstrosity.

Biden finally, got his drug czar with his Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. It is this law that, more than any other, drove up federal imprisonment by lengthening sentences at the federal level.

In 1989, Biden criticized President George Bush’s for being “not tough enough, bold enough or imaginative enough” in his war on drugs. “The president says he wants to wage a war on drugs,” Biden said, “but if that’s true, what we need is another D-Day, not another Vietnam.” That was his inspiration to write the crime bill Bill Clinton signed into law in 1994.

You don’t love the poor and minority members of our society who were sent to prison for long periods of time? What about their children?

Didn’t Biden vote for the Iraq War? You don’t love the people who are killed and maimed in regime-change wars? Didn’t Biden support NAFTA? Hasn’t Biden been at the forefront of organizing the migration of manufacturing from the United States to China? You don’t care about the loss of livelihoods for vulnerable working families?

If you don’t think Biden’s actions hurt the ones you love or care about, then you aren’t paying attention to your surroundings. Or maybe you don’t love and care about the right people. In any case, your attempt to guilt trip your peers is nothing more than a demonstration of doublethink.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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