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Madison, Wisconsin has designated April 20, Ben Masel Day in honor of our friend and compatriot who was so well known and well loved here at dailykos and elsewhere.

Ben was known far and wide for his cannabis activism, as well as his activism for justice and civil rights in general. It's appropriate that 4/20 be dedicated to Ben. I expect he'd be pleased. Ah Ben, you was one of a kind.

Read more of what I've had to say about Ben over the Itzl.

I met Ben Masel initially online at DailyKos.  It was immediately apparent to me that he was both knowledgeable and astute.  Still, I had no idea.  

I met him in the flesh at YKOS'07 in Chicago.  I didn't realize who he was at first, I just spotted him as someone I'd like to know.  I caught up to him as he was walking down a hallway and said “Hey brother.”  He smiled and we stopped to talk.  I looked down and saw his name tag and realized who he was.  I knew well the name of Ben Masel (only I thought until then that is was pronounced 'Mazzel', it's actually 'May ZELL').  It was a delight to finally meet him.  We discussed some of the online conversations we'd had in the past and soon wandered off to find a place to roll one up.  He was the soul of generosity, always willing to share – his time, his thoughts, his cannabis, whatever.  We were both refugees from the sixties and were instant friends and brothers.

My Friend Ben

He used to say “I'm Pro-choice on everything.”  How can you not love that?
For me, Ben Masel embodied the spirit of the 60s.  I cannot express how badly I hated to see him go.  I wish he could have at least lived to see the complete legalization of cannabis.  It seems like such a small thing to ask...in the land of the free.

Some Further Thoughts on Ben Masel

It's strange how powerfully people can affect you, for better or worse. The effect another has on you can change you, transform you, lift you to a higher level of existence even. A good friend can sometimes do that with a word or a gesture, or just by their presence. And when they go it can tear a hole.

Not Fade Away

I know, not much of a song. He deserves better.

Just some bad rhyme, a light-hearted tribute, one I hope Ben would appreciate. That song does make me think of him though...for some reason. I guess it's the 'it's better to burn out than it is to rust' line. Describes him pretty well. Dude went out fighting. There is some video later of him protesting near the very end of his life. He left his deathbed at the hospital to protest for free speech. Think about that when you see him at the Wisconsin State House.

This is a song about Ben Masel

Though not specifically about Ben, this seems to fit here:
Honest connections between people are not always easily achieved or maintained, and for their very rarity they are somehow all the more precious, and somehow wondrous. Though often as elusive as the melting snow, that deep connection between people is a special feature of the human experience. Is it surprising that we make such deep running connections? In a social species, perhaps not, yet it's a standout in the panoply of a human life. It is a very special part of being human.

He Was a Friend of Mine

Thanks for reading. Find a way to celebrate Ben today. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.


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Mon Apr 20, 2015 at 10:47 AM PT: Please forgive the re-post but in this case it seems appropriate.

Originally posted to One Pissed Off Liberal on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 07:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Team DFH.

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