Steve Gaskin is a politician. You can tell just by watching the way he works a room, meeting and greeting and pressing the flesh. It's even more obvious when he gets behind a microphone. He's got that smooth sweet way of talking that is reassuring and inspiring and makes you trust him.
But he doesn't dress like a politician. He's an older gentlemen, with a stark white beard, and he wears a jacket with patches on it instead of a suit. And he smokes pot openly, something no politician in America would ever want to do.
And yet, Steve Gaskin is talking about running for president.
He's got some exciting ideas. He's planning to challenge Al Gore for the democratic nomination. He's gonna run on a 3 plank platform: Campaign Finance Reform, Universal Health Care, and Marijuana Decriminalization.
Furthermore, his wife is going to be his running mate. "Everyone's always complaining about how Hillary is trying to run the country," he says, "so I might as well just make her the vice president."
Of course, he has no chance, and he knows it. All he really hopes to do is force the issue onto the table. By pulling votes away from Al Gore, he hopes to force Al into embracing marijuana decriminalization. Steve Gaskin wants to take the Hippie vote away from Al, and then give it back to him after Al has properly earned it.
And the Hippie vote is nothing to sneeze it. It's never really been demographically drawn out before, except perhaps on environmental issues. But there are a lot of Hippies out there. After the Vietnam war ended, they got jobs and settled down and raised families. And now, their kids have grown up, and they've started smoking pot, too. It's no longer just something rebellious youths did, as it was in the Sixties. Adults of different generations are smoking pot together. And the Hippie minority has also grown in numbers, as aging Hippies have passed their values on to their children, who even now are coming of age in America.
The rebellious Hippies of the Sixties have become part of the Authority that they once rebelled against, but not all of them have forgotten their younger ideals. And although they have long been silent, all it will take is a galvanizing leader to get them to rally around this cause. And Stephen Gaskin is that leader.
It was really cool getting to meet him, and even having a chance to share a smoke with him. His is a name to watch for in the coming years. I predict we'll all be hearing about him quite a bit.