When someone dies, there’s a wish for people to be nice and point out the great parts about someone. In the case of Nancy Reagan, though, she doesn’t deserve this. She fought for a war against people for using plants, and her part in it led to millions of men being thrown into cages. Here is why no one who loves freedom should shed a tear for Nancy Reagan.
(Satyros Phil Brucato) I will shed zero tears for the passing of Nancy Reagan, one of the more destructive personages in recent U.S. government history. Folks may have noticed that I tend to be rather outspoken when it comes to politics. That is partly Nancy Reagan’s fault, and in her case my venom is VERY personal.
In addition to a vast array of crimes that included the promotion of the prison-labor complex, covering for an increasingly addled president, and adopting a “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude with regards to her mix of astrology and evangelical Christianity, Nancy was the chief promoter, defender and apologist for a cult called Straight Inc. And for that, I will never forgive her.
In the mid-80s, my then-girlfriend was just shy of 18. [I will leave her nameless here, but her remarks, and a link to her story, can be found below at footnote #1.] She had a wide array of problems at home, but drugs were not among them. Her now-late brother didhave drug problems, though, and following a harrowing event in which an intoxicated friend of his did something truly inexcusable, their parents decided to take action.
That wound up being a serious mistake.
By that time, Straight Inc. – a supposed drug-rehab organization that had zero connection to medical practitioners or supervision – had already racked up a series of lawsuits and criminal charges. Their activities included beating kids, snatching them off of streets and dragging them into cars and vans, forcing kids to go without food or sleep for days on end, and various forms of physical, social, psychological and emotional torture. They SHOULD have been shut down long before my girlfriend’s parents attended a presentation by a Straight Inc. spokesman.
Instead, they were celebrated by Nancy and Ronald Reagan, who even brought their friend Princess Diana of Wales to see how magnificent Straight Inc. was supposed to be. Thanks to the Reagans, lawsuits were hushed, charges were dropped, and media stories about the group were buried or killed. Nancy Reagan trumpeted Straight Inc. as the salvation of American youth, and so when my girlfriend’s parents came back from that meeting, they had a plan.
The brother, being over 18, was told that he could join the program or move out. Given what had just happened, this was reasonable.
My girlfriend was told she would be “enrolled” as well – no choice involved – even though she was not doing drugs. When she called me in a panic, I assured her that her parents were more reasonable than that. And I was wrong.
The next few months become a horrorshow. The details are long and ugly; I’ll suffice to say that she and her brother – along with every other kid in the program – were deeply fucked with.  I, who had taken her parents’ side initially, was accused of being a drug addict myself, and was kept as far from her as Straight and her parents could keep me. Almost all of her belongings – her records, her books, her posters and stuffed animals, even most of her clothes – were seized and destroyed by order of the program, on the grounds that she (who had tested negative on the day she was “admitted”) was using them all as drug paraphernalia. Fantasy fans, take note – all forms of fantasy entertainment were considered “druggie behavior,” and were forbidden. Thanks to her younger sister, we were able to save a few things, but not very much. Every gift I had given her was destroyed.
What happened to her and her brother in that hellhole is not my story to tell, but I lived with the aftermath of it for many years.
On her 18th birthday, I went to talk to her; Straight was not permitted to keep the kidsliving inside the Straight Inc. complex, and so each night, they’d bring the kids out in physical restraints to take them to “safe houses” run by higher-ups in the program. I tried to talk to her in the parking lot, and was immediately grabbed by several guys, slammed into a brick wall, and held there while a dude waved a baseball bat in my face while threatening to “break your fucking druiggie neck.” Thankfully, I’d brought my friend Randi Kruger with me as backup, and she jumped from my car and rushed to my defense. 
By that point, a crowd of “Straightlings” – or, more accurately, the parents and upper-level kids – was converging on me. A Straight supervisor said “Leave now or we’ll call the police.”
“Fine,” Randi yelled. “Call the police! Let them see what’s going on here!”
Several people had pulled out tire irons and a billy club, and were advancing on me. One guy apparently had a knife. According to Randi, several folks wavered at the thought that the cops might not look kindly on what was going on.
The supervisor, though, was unmoved. “I have a parking lot full of people here,” she said with chilling calm, “who’ll swear we never touched him.”
And then she added, “You’d better get him out of here before they tear him apart.”
Randi talked me down, and the guys who were holding me hauled me to my car, shoved me in, and told me that I was dead meat if I ever showed up there again. They followed me home, and called my mom’s house several times (having gotten her number from my girlfriend’s parents) to assure me that they had their eyes on me.
My girlfriend signed herself out the next day. Straight Inc. told her parents to disown her, and to refuse any contact with her. A Straight rep took her to the edge of the property and left her by the side of the road. She hiked to a nearby church and begged them to let her use their phone. Then she called my mother’s place, and once Mom had come to get her, they called me to let me know my girlfriend was safe and free.
Again, long story. The short version is, she moved in with me, we remained together for years, and the massive PTSD and physical damage that place had inflicted on her was our constant housemate. Thankfully, Straight had stopped beating kids by that point, but she had been fed poorly, was subjected to months of constant psychological abuse, had been refused her anti-depression medication, and had spent a large part of her time in there under what they called “suicide watch”: a euphemism for forced sleep deprivation. Minus physical beatings (but sometimes including sexual abuse), the treatment doled out by Straightlings to their peers was identical to the abuse inflicted on Bush-era prisoners of war.
(Straight kids “motivating” – a ritual enforced by physical abuse, as described at 5:54 and 6:25 in the 60 Minutes link below. My then-girlfriend describes it thus: Days spent sitting in a blue plastic chair throwing our arms around WILDLY (did you know that if you fling your hands around enough and with enough force your fingers will hit together with a snapping sound? If you weren’t snapping, you weren’t “motivating” hard enough) and if your back touched the back of the chair you got a FIST shoved down your spine. This was done every day at Straight. To kids. By kids.)
Thirty years later, my then-girlfriend and her fellow inmates still live with the psychological and often physical scars of their abuse. Some of them didn’t survive. Her brother is one of them. After the insurance refused to pay for more “treatment,” he was released from Straight, supposedly drug-free. He died a few years afterward.
THAT was Nancy Reagan’s America.
THAT is what she left behind.
Tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of children who were abused by – and often abusers in – a program run by demented fanatical profiteers, under the banner of a treatment program that didn’t even fucking work.
Dozens, maybe hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of “Straigthlings” who have since committed intentional or subconscious suicide to escape the pain inflicted by that cult.
Straight, having lost its presidential sponsorship when Reagan left office, was shut down in the early 1990s. The attached links can offer more information for those who want it.Nancy Reagan was repeatedly asked to apologize for the crimes committed by Straight. And repeatedly, she refused. 
But that’s one reason why my hatred for the Reagans and their kind burns every bit as ferociously now as it did back then. I have seen the damage they did first-hand. And it did not end when Ronnie left office. It lingers, and continues to hurt.
I hope that, in some way, in some place or afterlife or incarnation, Nancy and Ronald Reagan are getting back at least a little bit of the pain they put into the world.
Good riddance, hag.
The world is better off without you.