I’ve begun to wonder whether Joe Biden’s fondness for conjuring up images of record players, haberdashers, and other antiquities in his campaign speeches is not so much his being out of step with the times as it is wishful thinking. Maybe Biden is the living incarnation of Edwin Arlington Robinson’s unforgettable character Miniver Cheevy, whose all-consuming regret was being “born too late.” Whereas as Cheevy “loved the days of old/When swords were bright and steeds were prancing,” Biden seems to long for the 1960s and 1970s — a time that he actually lived through.
That would certainly explain his latest blast from the past. It came during a town hall in Las Vegas this weekend where the topic was the nationwide legalization of marijuana. For a change, Biden broke with his far-left competitors for the Democratic nomination for president by suggesting that the question of decriminalizing marijuana possession should be left up to the states. The former vice president also broke with 62% of Americans, who believe the drug should be legalized, but far be it from me to criticize the man for having the courage of his convictions.
But it was the reason Biden gave for his reluctance that is the central point of this post. That is, he believes there has still “not nearly been enough evidence” to determine whether marijuana is “a gateway drug.”
When is the last time you read or heard the expression gateway drug? An article at PolitiFact notes:
Back in 1983, a substance abuse prevention education program was born in Los Angeles. It was called D.A.R.E. — Drug Abuse Resistance Education — and its lessons were led by police officers who visited classrooms to teach kids how to resist drugs and violence.
It was around this time that the term gateway drug came into common parlance.
But apart from Biden’s old fogeyism, his claim that more research is needed is wrong. From MarketWatch:
Research does not appear to support the “gateway” hypothesis. While some research has found that a large share of people who use marijuana proceed to use other illegal drugs, there’s little evidence to suggest this relationship is causal. “The majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, ‘harder’ substances,” says the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
In the last stanza of “Miniver Cheevy,” Arlington reveals Cheevy’s fate:
Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.
Maybe Biden should himself consider drinking.