Phelps for president

Not only can you get high and still be elected to our nation’s highest office, you can also win 14 Olympic gold medals.

So I saw this picture of Michael Phelps hitting a bong on the Internet. And since I make all my decisions based on what I see celebrities and athletes doing, I got a bong and stuck it to my face. After much trial and error, I learned you must ignite the plant and suck if you want anything to actually happen. If you didnâÄôt know, the most prolific Olympic athlete of all time was caught on camera smoking an illegal plant. HeâÄôs not the only one smoking. Read President Barack ObamaâÄôs autobiography and youâÄôll learn he used both marijuana and cocaine. He writes about it casually âÄúI blew a few smoke rings âĦ Pot helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.âÄù Sounds about right Mr. President. He smoked for the same reason anybody gets high: to quiet your mindâÄôs incessant babbling and to calm your unsettled spirit. The president recalls one of cannabisâÄô most desirable effects; it is âÄúsomething that could push questions of who I was out of my mind, something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory.âÄù Well, when you describe it like that, it doesnâÄôt sound all that bad. If he was getting high to help wash away identity issues, or flatten out a rocky-heart landscape âÄî I have no idea what that means âÄî or blur edgy memories, I think we can excuse it. Apparently Americans can forgive a little drug use as long as you confess to it poetically. On the other hand, if your admission comes by way of a picture of a bong hanging from your head, well, then youâÄôre just a poor schmuck, open to ridicule. As such, Phelps is AmericaâÄôs latest whipping boy. I donâÄôt really feel bad for Phelps, with all those millions of endorsement dollars on the line he should have known better than to be photographed taking a rip off the bong. It was pretty stupid. Well, more careless than stupid. While weâÄôre on the topic of stupidity, how about an entire society believing that a wild-growing plant called marijuana is a dangerous and deviant weed and just plain bad? Bad, bad, bad. No questions. Just to be clear, there are no legitimate reasons to criminalize manâÄôs favorite plant. Anyone who supports the criminality of marijuana is ill-informed and probably not very fun to hang out with. Now poor Phelps is a victim of a lie that most everyone has bought; a lie that was promoted by a handful of racist white guys back in the 1930s. One Harry J. Anslinger was the man pushing to criminalize the cannabis plant, primarily to bolster his newly formed Bureau of Narcotics. He drew on racism and unfounded claims that cannabis induces violence. In his own words: âÄúMarijuana smokers in the U.S., most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others,âÄù he claimed. âÄúYou smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.âÄù With disinformation like this, I canâÄôt blame people or Congress for fearing the plant. After all, no one likes interracial breeding or fratricide. The reasons to demonize the cannabis plant are about as justifiable today as they were in AnslingerâÄôs day, which is to say not at all. WeâÄôve come a long way though. Just look at the worldâÄôs most successful people. Both the man who holds the worldâÄôs most important position, the declared leader of the free world, and arguably the worldâÄôs greatest athlete are admitted plant smokers, and thatâÄôs a pretty sound argument that itâÄôs not that bad for you. Message to the kids: DonâÄôt worry, you can smoke pot and become president, or better yet, you can become the greatest Olympian of all time. This is an encouraging point for future generations. Perhaps they might not be so dense and irrational to continue to spend billions of dollars trying to kill flowers and imprisoning humans for liking the smell of them. For the most part, PhelpsâÄô sponsors have been silent or supportive, and Phelps seems to have dodged a complete knee-jerk reactionary endorsement yanking âÄî though Kellogg Co. recently dumped him. Former sponsor Rosetta Stone thought to add, âÄúWe do not condone his activities and are disappointed in his recent judgment,âÄù (I donâÄôt know if Rosetta Stone is an actual person, but if she is, I wish she wouldnâÄôt speak). Swiss watchmaker Omega seemed to have a more rational perspective, calling his pot-smoking a private matter and a âÄúnonissueâÄù while swimwear manufacturer Speedo called him a âÄúvalued member of the Speedo team.âÄù (I now hate Speedo wearers much less). Though the ridiculous policies toward Mother EarthâÄôs most friendly green plant will probably remain in place for decades, the fact that Phelps wasnâÄôt completely castrated as an endorsement figure is a good sign. ThereâÄôs nothing wrong with smoking a little pot, or at least itâÄôs no worse than having a beer or taking prescription drugs. All three substances serve to alleviate human suffering, though IâÄôd argue the alcohol and prescribed drugs are much better at inducing it. IâÄôve never known a pothead to beat up his girlfriend, nor have I known one who got too high and made poor sexual decisions. Never have I seen a pothead explode into a violent outburst. MarijuanaâÄôs high is coupled with paranoia, which keeps users humble and cautious. When will we approach the marijuana issue with honesty and maturity, without all the puritanical nonsense? If youâÄôve never tried it yet, know that thereâÄôs nothing evil or sinister about it, itâÄôs actually quite awesome. To all those who try to demonize marijuana âĦ chill out, try smoking a joint and mind your own business. Ross Anderson welcomes comments at [email protected]