Law Observance: Shall the People of the United States Uphold the Constitution?

By W. Durant C. | Go to book overview

"NO MORE JOKING"

G. L. Cleaver Former State Superintendent of Secret Service, Former State Prohibition Commissioner, Inglewood, California

THE 18th Amendment and the laws passed by Congress for its operation cannot be satisfactorily or impartially enforced on a political basis. This sumptuary federal law with its concurrent clause for enforcement by state and county authorities has become a political convenience rich in possibilities for corruption--because of the aggressive minority opposition.

In answer to a question about the practicability of prohibition, one of our greatest statesmen answered, "We do not know yet, because enforcement has never been tried." He states an absolute truth. Enforcement of national prohibition has been so interfered with by politics that it has never had a fair trial.

Therefore, that federal policy, method or system of enforcement which will come the nearest to eliminating the political factor will be found the most satisfactory. To illustrate: It would be difficult if not impossible to find a political subdivision in the United States where there are not enough wet votes to wield the balance of power in an election. For this reason, the candidate for sheriff, district attorney or justice of peace in the county unit, who will make the best promises to satisfy the voters who are opposed to prohibition, is the candidate who is elected to office (in the majority of cases).

Such conditions result in the election of officials who are thereby placed in a compromising position with the friends of the illicit liquor traffic, being bound by political obligations to protect such friends when protection is possible. Therefore, it is necessary to make protection practically impossible by keeping the federal and state enforcement

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