Meanwhile, in Nashville, Tennessee, Congressman Jim Cooper, known for taking some of the most courageous and controversial stands of any member of Congress, held a lively press conference yesterday dealing with the burning issue of hemp legalization. The Tennessee legislature recently passed a bill allowing hemp to be grown in Tennessee, but Federal law prohibits it, and Congress would have to take up the matter. The press conference was packed with various member of the Seigenthaler clan, who have dogged Cooper for years on a host of issues.
In response to a direct question on hemp legalization, Cooper said that "the issue of hemp legalization can be a divisive one. It divides our citizenry, our legal and policing authorities, and our medical community. But I will not allow the prospect of potential divisiveness to deter me from taking a courageous stand. I am currently studying the issue and will, at the proper time, take the position that is the most correct one. We know that some people are for it, and some people are against it. That is understandable. But we must always strive to do the right thing, not only in the short run, but in the long one as well.
Asked if there was a cliche with which he was not familiar, Cooper responded with his characteristic honesty and humor: "I know most of them. Perhaps not every single one, but most of them. And I try not to let any of them that I do not go unused. there is nothing more pitiful than an unused cliche; I almost feel sorry for it."
Cooper, unlike most members, has been known to split himself into two entities, or even several, in order to represent his constituents effectively. If a poll had shown such divisiveness as he referred to, on any issue, he has been able to split himself into, for instance, a 52% Jim Cooper, a 27% Jim Cooper, and a 16% Jim Cooper, totaling 95%. For the remaining 5%, he formed an Undecided Jim Cooper (surely a strange position for the Congressman, who detests indecisiveness and lack of moral fiber of stand-taking. Citizens of Washington often see one portion or another of the Congressman walking the streets near the Capitol, subdivided by individual issue. Only in the late evening, when all pieces get together in the same room, does the Congressman appear as a fully formed person.