Monday, March 07, 2016
Nancy Reagan is dead, I feel for her family and wish her eternal peace. She was elegant, graceful and fiercely protective of her husband. She is in the background of campaign photos I took way back in 1976 - that was an exciting year as an 18 year old I got to photograph a couple of presidential campaign stops.
I will admit, I voted for Ronald a couple of times. The closet and self hatred make for strange politics. I truly wish I felt good about her legacy. But what others are declaring her lasting legacy leaves me shaking my head thinking what a simpleton. "Just say no."
Politicos saw substance abuse and addiction as a personal weakness, told us that millions of dollars were being wasted on therapy and treatment of people who just needed to learn to behave and quit sitting around in a circle talking about their struggles. The decision to slash federal funding for treatment was made, and when asked what people were to do, she uttered, "just say no!" I am embarrassed to admit that at the time, I thought she has a good idea. But it is a simple answer, that overlooks the fundamentals of science and psychology that cause addiction and abuse.
So we cut millions in treatments budgets, and went on and wasted billions of dollars in a law enforcement and military war on drugs, a war we have lost because we went after the supply side instead of the demand side. It was a terrible mistake. It has cost of billions of dollars and wasted millions of lives. Not a legacy anyone should be proud of.
Can't we just remember Nancy as a sweet and graceful first lady?