Preacher goes wild in Virginia Beach
By Michael R. Shannon
web posted March 26, 2012
Periodically there's an eruption in Virginia Beach that catches us off guard. Much like a dormant volcano will occasionally demand attention, Pat Robertson grabs headlines by making an off–the–wall comment.
This doesn't include predictable pronouncements regarding God's wrath or the wages of sodomy. Everyone knows you can't have a natural disaster without the Rev. Robertson piling on. What I'm referring to are non Jehovah–related eruptions.
Take Pat's claim that he can leg press 2,000 lbs. -- the equivalent of four Al Gore's. Leg press involves letting a weighted sled slide down a 45–degree angle slope towards you. When your tibia and your femur reach a 90–degree angle, you contract your thigh muscles and push the sled back to the starting position.
There's a YouTube video of Robertson "leg pressing" 1,000 lbs. Pat uses his hands to push his knees to full extension and the sled only comes down a few inches. I've seen my wife's legs twitch more when I sneak into bed with cold hands. So it's hardly a leg press and Pat's certainly not moving a ton.
(There's something about a leg press machine that invites hyperbole from political figures. Madeline Albright claims to have leg pressed 400 lbs., which is equally unlikely. Particularly when you consider they don't even have a leg press machine at Minnieland Daycare, which is the only commercial establishment I can recall that would have equipment small enough to accommodate the diminutive former secretary of state.)
Robertson's latest declaration is even more startling. In a New York Times interview, Pat calls for the legalization of marijuana, "I believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol. I've never used marijuana and I don't intend to, but… this war on drugs just hasn't succeeded."
I could not have been more surprised if he'd said he was leaving his wife for Madeline Albright.
This puts Roberson in some strange company beginning with Del. David Englin (D–People's Republic of Alexandria) who introduced a bill in the Virginia General Assembly to study how much money the state would make if wacky tobbacky was sold in ABC stores.
Englin is pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage and the founder of the "Progressive Caucus" in the Virginia House, while Robertson is; well he's Pat Robertson. Still their herb views are remarkably concurrent. Both believe marijuana prohibition, like alcohol prohibition, is not working.
They have a point. Prohibition didn't work in the 1920s and it doesn't work today. Why do you think criminals are involved in growing marijuana and cocaine? Are they like liberal Democrats with their misty–eyed affinity for boutique farmers and 19th Century agriculture?
No, they're in it for the gusher of money. This tidal wave of government–caused wealth is undermining the foundations of Mexico and much of South America.
Without the money that prohibition produces, much of the drug–related crime would disappear. The worst thing that ever happened to the Mafia -- if you don't count the last episode of the Sopranos -- was passage of the 21st Amendment.
If there was ever a conflict that required an exit strategy the War on Drugs is it. Afghanistan looks like May 7, 1945 compared to what has been accomplished fighting drugs.
The main objection to legalization is "more people will use drugs." Frankly, I don't know how that could be possible. All the evidence shows anyone who wants drugs can get drugs. At least legalization will confine the damage to the willing.
What's more, the same laws that apply to smokin' would also apply to tokin'. The only difference would be when striding through the cloud of smoke that obscures the entrance to your local shopping mall, you would feel strangely mellow and eager to find the food court.
Legalization would not eliminate drug testing as a condition of employment or penalties for drug use while operating a vehicle. Naturally advertising would be banned under a government monopoly and the packaging would have suitably scary photos, similar to those on cigarette packages, to discourage use. My suggestion would be Willie Nelson's latest booking photo or any crowd shot from a Grateful Dead concert.
For years I've been in favor of legalizing drugs and limiting the sales to the post office. The USPS needs the money and since many postal employees are already armed, security costs would be low. But Englin's idea to sell blunts at the ABC would work just as well and the employees are accustomed to checking ID.
The real irony is that if legalization ever occurs it will have been a combination of a liberal Democrat and a conservative preacher who made it absolutely impossible for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to privatize ABC stores.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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