Nancy Reagan

I guess I shouldn’t be puzzled by the media beatification of Nancy Reagan, who always seemed nice enough–though I’m among the apparent minority who always found her lovely but cold with an icy smile, perfect hair and clothes notwithstanding. And leave it to the “new” MSNBC to lead the way Sunday, with its solemn funeral music and Nancy portrait and lifespan after every commercial break–and especially Boy Wonder Chuck Todd, who if I heard him right, said that she was the most influential First Lady in American history, forget Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Betty Ford and Michelle Obama–perish the thought, of course, that he say anything nice about Michelle Obama.

But perhaps I slept through the Reagan years, for about all I remember about her was that Godawful 1980s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign slogan. True, it was quite effective–but not in winning the unwinnable “War on Drugs.” Rather, its biggest success was forcing Highway 101, and their label Warner Bros.–lest it be accused of not falling in line–to put in the parenthetical in the title of their great 1988 country hit “(Do You Love Me) Just Say Yes.” God forbid a country song about love be misconstrued with advocating drug use!

Looking back at it now, “Just Say No” prefigured the Republican Party mantra of the Obama years, and is a symbol of the personal and social repression that the GOP has come to represent by embracing the negative over the positive. And if anyone did in fact say no to drugs–and perhaps many did–it didn’t stop the current highly publicized heroin epidemic. All it accomplished for certain–besides modifying a country song title–was saying no to research on the potential benefits of marijuana usage, that and the continuation of a war that has wasted billions of dollars and immeasurably harmed countries whose products supply our insatiable demand for that which we’re supposed to say no to.

To her credit, Nancy did finally say yes, but only in as it applied to stem cell research, and only once her beloved Ronnie took sick with Alzheimer’s. Too bad for her, her husband and the rest of us that George W. Bush, in this and so many other regards, had taken her Just Say No campaign to heart.

The Bessman Sideshow: Idiot Patrick J. Kennedy

Saw Patrick Kennedy last night on MSNBC, practically in tears again pleading that marijuana not be legalized, not even medical. It’s a gateway drug, another drug for our children to fall victim to, etc.–the same old shite we’ve had to listen to since the ‘60s.

He was pitted against some doctor on the side of legalization, presumably, but whatever tack he was taking got lost in a puffed up personal exchange with crybaby Kennedy.

So let’s put this jack-off down once and for all. Just because Pattycakes couldn’t hold his pot, it means those of us who can should remain criminals? Because kids might do it, responsible adults shouldn’t?

I know and you know many, many people who’ve smoked dope every day since the ‘60s, and they ain’t dopes. Nope, they’re people in the absolute highest positions in their fields. The worst it does to them is get them through their day, maybe even makes them laugh at something they might not have found funny, maybe gave them a brilliant idea.

But look. I know where Kennedy’s coming from. When I was a kid there wasn’t nothing I wouldn’t shoot. Heroin, morphine, speed, Darvon. I sniffed everything from Testors glue to Freon to Oven Guard to PAM to gasoline. I’d gobble down any pill in front of me and was so high at a rock festival I took both acid and psylocibin and didn’t get off on either of them. When I finally landed in the state mental hospital, they said they didn’t know what my eye color was for two months. And you’re right if you guessed that my gateway was…alcohol.

So I can appreciate that it was a problem for Kennedy and commend him for cleaning himself up and doing what he needs to do to stay healthy and productive. And no way I’m encouraging anyone to do what I did or do—especially Darvon, if they still make it: It blows out your veins, kids.

Indeed, I went clean myself for two years after I got out of the hospital. I refer to them as “The Lost Years.” But don’t get me wrong! I rarely really do drugs anymore outside of prescription. If I smoke pot, it’s no more than a hit or two at a time. A line or two of coke if I get lucky. I’ll drink like a fish if it’s in front of me. But I never buy any of it. I’m a freelance writer and don’t have that kind of money—and as you can see if you’re reading this, I got work to do.

But it’s not for me to talk for anyone else, unless it’s a problem. And if it’s not a problem, it’s not a problem.

I won’t say this about anything else, but I’ve yet to see any conclusive evidence that there’s any harm to health from smoking marijuana, and we’ve all seen plenty of good it does for those who are sick. And there are millions, probably billions, who smoke it responsibly. And the trillions wasted on the failed War on Drugs have wrecked not only us, but other countries that we’ve interfered with…and…and….

But enough of stating the obvious.