“We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge.”
Donald Trump, State of the Union Address (2018)
In real life, I haven’t heard the term “drug pusher” used seriously in a long time. Which means that Trump is living in the past or is a big fan of either Easy Rider or Mean Girls.
For the record, the term “drug pusher” likely originated as prison slang in the 1930s, and maintained some fading currency for a few decades. Not so much today, at least not in my circles.
Easy Rider (1969)
Hoyt Axton’s song The Pusher, as recorded by Steppenwolf, was featured in the soundtrack of the movie Easy Rider:
You know I’ve smoked a lot of grass
Oh Lord, I’ve popped a lot of pills
But I never touched nothin’
That my spirit could kill
You know, I’ve seen a lot of people walkin’ ’round
With tombstones in their eyes
But the pusher don’t care
Ah, if you live or if you die
You know the dealer, the dealer is a man
With the love grass in his hand
Oh but the pusher is a monster
Good God, he’s not a natural man
The dealer for a nickel
Lord, will sell you lots of sweet dreams
Ah, but the pusher ruin your body
Lord, he’ll leave your, he’ll leave your mind to scream
God damn, the pusher
God damn, I say the pusher
I said God damn, God damn the pusher man
Well, now if I were president of this land
You know, I’d declare total war on the pusher man
Mean Girls (2004)
One of the iconic scenes in the movie Mean Girls has the teacher Ms. Corbury (Tina Fey) explaining herself to her student Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan):
“I’m a pusher Cady. I push people….And now I’m gonna push you because I know you’re smarter than this.”
Leading to this conversation:
I hate her! I mean, she’s really failing me on purpose, just because I didn’t join that stupid Mathletes! She was so queer, she was like, “I’m pusher Cady, I’m a pusher.”
Hahaha! What does that even mean?
Like a drug pusher?
Probably. She said she works three jobs. You know, I bet she sells drugs on the side to pay for her pathetic divorce.
Yes, like a drug pusher, and yes Cady, for somebody’s pathetic divorce(s). If he were president of this land, you know, he’d declare total war on the pusher man.
Note: It is probably not necessary to say this, but I will. This is not to minimize the serious problem America has with opioids and other tragically destructive drugs. It is just to point out how out of touch and out of time Trump, Sessions and others are about the problem, its causes and its solutions. And since I’m adding this note, I will mention that the song The Pusher (a Trump favorite?) makes a clear distinction between the dealer of marijuana (“love grass in his hand”) and the pusher of deadly drugs (“a monster”).