Monday, February 9, 2009

Role Model... Or Just Any Model?

I can't turn on the television, radio, computer or, even my facebook page, without hearing or reading that someone is disappointed in or shocked at Michael Phelps for hitting a bong.  A few days ago, I was having lunch with a friend when the subject came up.  "I just don't know how I'm going to explain to my son that his role model was smoking pot," she said, while taking a sip of her second vodka martini.  Hmm...  "Do you think maybe he should have a different role model or realize he can be something greater than that," I responded.  Athletes and celebrities don't save or alter lives.  Some do charity work and that is to be admired but most are just regular people with some talent.  Talent cannot be emulated.  Teachers, firefighters, and strong family members are role models.  People like that make a tangible difference every day and they are who we should look to, if not ourselves, when searching for a role model.  To me, the idea that Michael Phelps needs to apologize to the public is absurd.  Would any of us have cared, in the slightest, if this photo portrayed him with a bottle of Corona in his hand?  I'm not so sure.  It bothers me when those who drink alcohol, casually, regularly and party, sometimes to the point of getting sick and making bad decisions, judge others who smoke marijuana.  Marijuana is also used for medicinal purposes, my only known purpose for alcohol is pleasure.  Marijuana is prescribed to those suffering from cancer, HIV and AIDS, glaucoma, back problems, autoimmune disorders and many other illnesses.  It relieves pain and is proven to be much less addictive than many types of traditional pain medication.  In 1974, a study was conducted to prove that marijuana damages the immune system.  The study instead, showed, that THC slows the growth of three different types cancer in mice - breast, lung and leukemia.  Scientists in Spain repeated this study, in 2000, and received the same amazing results.  Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 10 states, with a doctor's prescription.  President Obama recently vowed to end the raids on medical marijuana dispensaries and to stop the federal government from intervening on state laws.  Many people feel we are living in a time similar to the alcohol prohibition.  Personally,  I don't think it will be long before we are seeing packs of joints at 7-11, right next to the Marlboros and American Spirits.