cannabisnews.com: Gore's Hay Day





Gore's Hay Day
Posted by FoM on February 15, 2000 at 15:50:22 PT
By R.U. Sirius
Source: Salon Magazine
The leader of the classic hippie-haven the Farm is running for president just like his old friend Al Gore -- whom he's not so happy with these days. In the late 1960s, Stephen Gaskin made a name for himself teaching a weekly class on the meaning of the psychedelic experience in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury District. At the start of the Ď70s, he led a hippie exodus to Tennessee, where he created "The Farm," just about the only successful hippie commune still standing. He's written several books about pot and psychedelia, including the "Amazing Dope Tales." 
He says he also had a friendly and mutually supportive relationship with a fellow Tennesseean named Al Gore. (Gore could not be reached for comment on the extent of his friendship with Gaskin.)Now, Gaskin is seeking the Green Party's nomination as its presidential candidate. So far, he's entered that party's primaries in New York and New Mexico and has formed Georgians for Gaskin. He claims that while "a lot of Greens are just going to go for [Ralph Nader] automatically, there is also a bunch who are ready for me to challenge." Given the recent claims of former friend John Warnecke that Gore was an epic stoner in the early 1970s (which Gore denies), could Gaskin's candidacy provoke a media critical mass, forcing Gore to confront his past as a countercultural dilettante?Gaskin laughs at the suggestion, but then Gaskin laughs every few minutes anyway over our breakfast at the Fairmount Hotel, during his recent visit to San Francisco. It's the deep laugh of a man who has made his peace with the marijuana gods pretty much on a daily basis for more than three decades running. But Gaskin's turning on isn't about self-indulgence. He brings an impressive record of public service to the table that includes his work as founder of Plenty International, an overseas relief and development company that helped rebuild 1,200 houses in Guatemala and clinics in Lesotho and southern Mexico. His Jefferson Award-winning South Bronx Ambulance project in New York City adapted the police slogan, "If you're in trouble, try calling a hippie," and stripped it of its ironic intent. The man even did his time in the military. He's folksy, plain-spoken and fearless -- the kind of guy who can sit down with his redneck neighbors and tell 'em just why he's against guns, and for gays and feminists, and walk away unscarred. "I get along with my gun-loving neighbors. At first, they thought we didn't have guns 'cause we were cowards. And then they found out that we didn't have guns 'cause we was courageous and they respected that." Given half a chance, these qualities could allow him to find a constituency out there in the Heartland. Still, Gaskin recognizes that it's the Gore connection, and not his down-home honesty or his seven-point program that's likely to get the media attention needed to launch his campaign. He's willing to play along, but only to a degree. It's an article of hippie faith that Al Gore used to hang out at "The Farm" and smoke pot. Will you comment on that? Well, he came around a bit, first as a reporter for the Tennessean. He did a story on us in '72. It was very fair and positive. And we stayed friends. He was supportive of my wife, Ina May's work as a midwife. Tipper read all our books. As far as dope, I can honestly say I never toked up with Al. I don't know if that was his fault or mine. I'm glad though. I'd rather rag on him for being a Republicrat who can't say "non-profit health insurance" to save his life. Have you been following the John Warnecke claims about Gore's prodigious dope smoking in the '70s? Is it your impression that it's accurate? I am not in a position to give evidence and I will not do hearsay, but I believe Warnecke's story. When you first met Gore, did you think he was really straight and stiff, like his current public image? No, not that straight. I mean, he was a reporter. He wasn't a hippie. But from the first time I met him, I was really impressed. Without any prompting from me, he said, "What you people are trying to do here is get to the clear state." So he was hip on that level. And Tipper was about halfway into the local rock 'n' roll community. She was fond of the Farm Band. Would you say that you were close friends? We'd see them once in awhile. We'd go to some of his speaking gigs. We really liked him. And when he was going to run for Congress, our attitude was "Hey, cool. We'll have a friend in Congress." We liked him as a congressman and we liked him as a senator. I watched him closely in the Senate. He's a really good student. He studied arms control and helped write the SALT treaty. Paul Nitze said, "Al knows that stuff better than Sam Nunn does. And then once the treaty was done, he dropped all that stuff like a hot rocket and turned right to the environment. Our lawyer on the Farm, Albert Bates, had written a book on the environment called Climate In Crisis. And he got Al Gore to write an introduction to his book. Al's smart, and he was right there with us on a lot of issues. That's all his good stuff. The other stuff is watching him make the compromises he had to make to stay in the game. If someone getting into politics wants to be president, they can't put any barriers between them and that thing they want. So if you want to be governor, you can't really say that you're against capital punishment if the state has that law already. People will get worried because you take an oath to uphold the laws. He got where he started making the compromises to stay in the game. And I held those compromises as IOU's that I could cash in later. (He laughs.) But he put himself over his credit limit with me when he cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the Gulf War. One of the consequences from that gesture, as far as I am concerned, is the 50,000 babies who died from bombing the Baghdad water supply, which I believe is a war crime, by the Geneva Convention. And all we did was make Kuwait safe for feudalism. Are you able to talk to him still? Not since the inauguration in '92. Do you consider Gore a hypocrite on marijuana policy? Is that motivating your candidacy? I am angry with him for being a hypocrite about pot, but breaking the tie to get us in the Gulf War was worse. I understood that he couldn't start off saying, "I'm gonna legalize it" before he starts to run. Although, that's what I'm going to try to do. But he called it a "false experience." What does that mean? Obviously, he's afraid of the religious right. He's even refused to comment on Kansas or evolution. "Senator Science" didn't rise up to defend evolution. So he talks up the "War on Drugs." He acts like he's completely against getting high. And he knows, and Bill knows, and Susan Molinari knows, and all those guys know just as well as you and I do that it doesn't make you unfit for public office. And in the context of drugs, it's not a very big deal. Right? You're lucky if you find anything that is a big deal. You search to find something. But he's running from the religious right. He's not gonna cross them. He's running as a Christian. But he's a little vulnerable in the sense that he's pretty serious about Buddhism. He's read all the books. I've had a couple of deep conversations with him. He really knows that stuff. Now he likes to say, "I'm a man of family and faith." It's a way of saying it so that nobody knows that any of his faith is anything different than what theirís might be. In the late 1960s, Stephen Gaskin made a name for himself teaching a weekly class on the meaning of the psychedelic experience in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury District. At the start of the Ď70s, he led a hippie exodus to Tennessee, where he created "The Farm," just about the only successful hippie commune still standing. He's written several books about pot and psychedelia, including the "Amazing Dope Tales." He says he also had a friendly and mutually supportive relationship with a fellow Tennesseean named Al Gore. (Gore could not be reached for comment on the extent of his friendship with Gaskin.)Now, Gaskin is seeking the Green Party's nomination as its presidential candidate. So far, he's entered that party's primaries in New York and New Mexico and has formed Georgians for Gaskin. He claims that while "a lot of Greens are just going to go for [Ralph Nader] automatically, there is also a bunch who are ready for me to challenge." Given the recent claims of former friend John Warnecke that Gore was an epic stoner in the early 1970s (which Gore denies), could Gaskin's candidacy provoke a media critical mass, forcing Gore to confront his past as a countercultural dilettante?Gaskin laughs at the suggestion, but then Gaskin laughs every few minutes anyway over our breakfast at the Fairmount Hotel, during his recent visit to San Francisco. It's the deep laugh of a man who has made his peace with the marijuana gods pretty much on a daily basis for more than three decades running. But Gaskin's turning on isn't about self-indulgence. He brings an impressive record of public service to the table that includes his work as founder of Plenty International, an overseas relief and development company that helped rebuild 1,200 houses in Guatemala and clinics in Lesotho and southern Mexico. His Jefferson Award-winning South Bronx Ambulance project in New York City adapted the police slogan, "If you're in trouble, try calling a hippie," and stripped it of its ironic intent. The man even did his time in the military. He's folksy, plain-spoken and fearless -- the kind of guy who can sit down with his redneck neighbors and tell 'em just why he's against guns, and for gays and feminists, and walk away unscarred. "I get along with my gun-loving neighbors. At first, they thought we didn't have guns 'cause we were cowards. And then they found out that we didn't have guns 'cause we was courageous and they respected that." Given half a chance, these qualities could allow him to find a constituency out there in the Heartland. Still, Gaskin recognizes that it's the Gore connection, and not his down-home honesty or his seven-point program that's likely to get the media attention needed to launch his campaign. He's willing to play along, but only to a degree. It's an article of hippie faith that Al Gore used to hang out at "The Farm" and smoke pot. Will you comment on that? Well, he came around a bit, first as a reporter for the Tennessean. He did a story on us in '72. It was very fair and positive. And we stayed friends. He was supportive of my wife, Ina May's work as a midwife. Tipper read all our books. As far as dope, I can honestly say I never toked up with Al. I don't know if that was his fault or mine. I'm glad though. I'd rather rag on him for being a Republicrat who can't say "non-profit health insurance" to save his life. Have you been following the John Warnecke claims about Gore's prodigious dope smoking in the '70s? Is it your impression that it's accurate? I am not in a position to give evidence and I will not do hearsay, but I believe Warnecke's story. When you first met Gore, did you think he was really straight and stiff, like his current public image? No, not that straight. I mean, he was a reporter. He wasn't a hippie. But from the first time I met him, I was really impressed. Without any prompting from me, he said, "What you people are trying to do here is get to the clear state." So he was hip on that level. And Tipper was about halfway into the local rock 'n' roll community. She was fond of the Farm Band. Would you say that you were close friends? We'd see them once in awhile. We'd go to some of his speaking gigs. We really liked him. And when he was going to run for Congress, our attitude was "Hey, cool. We'll have a friend in Congress." We liked him as a congressman and we liked him as a senator. I watched him closely in the Senate. He's a really good student. He studied arms control and helped write the SALT treaty. Paul Nitze said, "Al knows that stuff better than Sam Nunn does. And then once the treaty was done, he dropped all that stuff like a hot rocket and turned right to the environment. Our lawyer on the Farm, Albert Bates, had written a book on the environment called Climate In Crisis. And he got Al Gore to write an introduction to his book. Al's smart, and he was right there with us on a lot of issues. That's all his good stuff. The other stuff is watching him make the compromises he had to make to stay in the game. If someone getting into politics wants to be president, they can't put any barriers between them and that thing they want. So if you want to be governor, you can't really say that you're against capital punishment if the state has that law already. People will get worried because you take an oath to uphold the laws. He got where he started making the compromises to stay in the game. And I held those compromises as IOU's that I could cash in later. (He laughs.) But he put himself over his credit limit with me when he cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the Gulf War. One of the consequences from that gesture, as far as I am concerned, is the 50,000 babies who died from bombing the Baghdad water supply, which I believe is a war crime, by the Geneva Convention. And all we did was make Kuwait safe for feudalism. Are you able to talk to him still? Not since the inauguration in '92. Do you consider Gore a hypocrite on marijuana policy? Is that motivating your candidacy? I am angry with him for being a hypocrite about pot, but breaking the tie to get us in the Gulf War was worse. I understood that he couldn't start off saying, "I'm gonna legalize it" before he starts to run. Although, that's what I'm going to try to do. But he called it a "false experience." What does that mean? Obviously, he's afraid of the religious right. He's even refused to comment on Kansas or evolution. "Senator Science" didn't rise up to defend evolution. So he talks up the "War on Drugs." He acts like he's completely against getting high. And he knows, and Bill knows, and Susan Molinari knows, and all those guys know just as well as you and I do that it doesn't make you unfit for public office. And in the context of drugs, it's not a very big deal. Right? You're lucky if you find anything that is a big deal. You search to find something. But he's running from the religious right. He's not gonna cross them. He's running as a Christian. But he's a little vulnerable in the sense that he's pretty serious about Buddhism. He's read all the books. I've had a couple of deep conversations with him. He really knows that stuff. Now he likes to say, "I'm a man of family and faith." It's a way of saying it so that nobody knows that any of his faith is anything different than what theirís might be. About the Writer:Freelance writer and cyber-iconoclast R.U. Sirius is the editor-in-chief of GettingIt.com, and mulling his own presidential run for the Revolution party. salon.com | Feb. 15, 2000Copyright © 2000 Salon.com Related Articles & Web Sites:Steven Gaskinhttp://www.thefarm.org/lifestyle/sg.htmlThe Farmhttp://www.thefarm.org/general/farmfaq.htmlThe Education of Al Gore - Newsweekhttp://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread4620.shtmlSalon Magazine Articles:Propaganda for Dollars - Salon http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread4317.shtmlWashington Script Doctors - Salonhttp://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread4291.shtmlDrug Money, How the White House Secretly Hooked TV - Salonhttp://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread4290.shtml CannabisNews Articles On Vice President Gore:http://www.alltheweb.com/cgi-bin/asearch?type=all&query=cannabisnews+Gore
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Comment #8 posted by CongressmanSuet on February 16, 2000 at 21:04:39 PT:
No, FoM, THANK YOU.....
   Your constant diligence is what has made this site succesful. I dont know how many times I have come here at 2 am and found a plethora of articles submitted after midnight. Dedication? Total.Perserverance? Unquestioned. You are the backbone of this site, and deserve to be congratulated. Without you, this discussion would lack the focus it needs, and YOU are the one to be congratulated.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by military officer guy on February 16, 2000 at 19:19:19 PT
Libertarian 
i'm voting Libertarian, just like kap said, a lot of people say my vote will be wasted, but the more WE spread the word to other in our families and friends the better chance they'll get some votes...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by FoM on February 16, 2000 at 08:07:11 PT
Good Morning Everyone!
Hello Everyone!The news is slow and I am reading the comments and I want to say how proud I am to have such a fine group of regulars here at Cannabis News. My husband enjoys reading the news and mostly the great comments that people are posting. Words to explain how it makes me feel don't seem to be enough. This part of my life since we started Cannabis News has been a great experience for me and I owe it to all of you! Thank You All!Peace, FoM!PS: The article on Gore on this thread is wrong. I reposted the corrected article for future referencing. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by Rainbow on February 16, 2000 at 07:46:07 PT
We need to get the message out
KapI agree with you again, I am putting some pressure on my pols by sending emails and relating the stories I see here. In fact I copy them for their enjoyment.It would sure be nice if we could get the Get out and Vote campaign going for the 70 million and use the campaign to send the message.Pols hide behind the lack of information most folks have (like there are 70 million of us) to support their alleged positions of the people.Feinstein and Hatch understand and hence the anti-1st Amendment bill.I agree communication is happenning and we are getting more on board 1 by 1 but your enlightenment about Mr Browne is new news to me. This is pretty late, but yes in time. It is also a rather haphazdard way to find out about a candidate. His thinking is what led me to vote for Jesse and to vote for him again. The regular pols will very get it because;They do what they get paid to do. Pure and simple and they get paid a lot by outsiders. Our contribution to their salaries are probably not as powerful as other lobbyist types. CheersRainbow
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on February 15, 2000 at 18:37:44 PT
Hobson's Choice
C-S, sad to say, you're right about the third parties... for now. As one talking head observed, they are like bees; they sting and die. They do what they have to do, and then pass into history.But, by lending support to a 3rd party, you send a message. The only reason the budget was a concern of the Duopoly was because ol' Ross Perot's Reform Party just kept rubbing it's collective nose in it. And 20% of the voting public listened. And voted for him. One out of five voters! Granted, he wasn't a whole lot better than they, but it served to get an important issue recognized.Of all the 3rd parties available, the Libbers have consistently maintained that the WoSD must be stopped. Our way. The most promising candidate they've come up with is a gentleman named Harry Browne, who minces no words: immediate pardons for non-violent drug offenders. Legalization (not mealy-mouthed, half-a**ed notions like decrim) of drugs. Return of forfeited property. I could go on, but you get my drift.Please understand: I admit to being a Libber. But I am also a realist. It is not likely that Harry or any other 3rd party candidate will win. But by throwing your support in their direction - when a huge number of people are leaving the main parties and registering as independant - it will send a message to the ossified elites of this country, that this issue is not going away, and they will have to deal with it. Sensibly, this time.I can just hear the same old complaint: "You'll be throwing away your vote!". Well, friends, haven't you been doing that for thirty years, hoping that the pols would wake up and stop the DrugWar? When was the last time the pols did anything intelligent about it? How many times have you been cheated by them, when they went back on promises made? More importantly, how many *more* times will you allow yourself to be cheated in the future? Every vote for the Duopoly is a vote for the DrugWar. Time to let them know that it is no longer 'business as usual.'
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by CongressmanSuet on February 15, 2000 at 17:55:45 PT
Cut our losses, yes, but how?
   Kap, you are right, we cant expect Gore to help us very much. I mean, young reporter, somewhat enlightened guy, smokes, thinks about the Earth and conservation issues,gets involved with politics and sells his soul. Old story. Tipper goes from rock affecianado to running a commitee searching for subliminal satanic messages in rock music. It doesnt get too much more perverse than this. But now what? Sure, Libertarian Party. But....we both know that the L party will not win any large elections anytime soon. Given the 3 choices we have at this minute, who do you believe would be the less of 3 evils...and PS, Amused , you great thinker you, how about a defending your stance?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 15, 2000 at 16:29:19 PT
I have the corrected story above!
Hi kaptinemo and everyone. I made a mistake editing this article because it was two pages so I posted the corrected article above! Interesting isn't it? I hope I got it right this time! Sorry!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on February 15, 2000 at 16:21:20 PT
The skeletons are rattling
but will the media listen?That Gore and his significant other are hypocrites (he about MJ, she about rock music) seem beyond argument now. As Gaskin observed, he has made his compromises. And his actions - or lack of them, depending upon viewpoint - speak for themselves. The man has had 8 years to use his 'bully pulpit' to endorse MMJ, but has done exactly the opposite. And there are no doubt some people who read this website every day who are hoping against hope and think he will change if elected. Time to cut your losses, folks; he's not going to do the 'right thing'. He's got a terminal case of SlickWillie-itis - apparently, it's highly contagious, and it went without treatment for too long.
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