For my money, one of the worst legacies of the 1980s is the phrase "Just say no"--and everything it stands for. It was a stupid idea when it was launched (and was rightfully mocked), and it certainly hasn't gotten any better with age.
The problem with "Just say no" (and with so many other nostrums that the tighty-righties have come up with over the years) is that it attempts to reduce an irreducibly complex issue to a slogan. Worse, the tighty-righties and their allies-cum-enablers in many a Republican administration since the days of Nancy Reagan have clung for dear life to that slogan and the perniciously ignorant attitudes it fosters toward serious problems like drug and alcohol abuse, teen-age sex, and HIV/AIDS. I can't help but notice that none of the gleeful crowd of finger-waggers has ever tried to apply the same philosophy to, oh, I don't know, anything like manufacturing pointless and illegal wars, bending over backwards to assist the rich in getting richer while simultaneously rogering the working class, or trampling on the Constitution. Nor has it escaped my notice than many of the most egregious finger-waggers (see, e.g., Ted Haggard, Rush Limbaugh, and others) have quite spectacularly failed to practice for themselves what they so often and so vociferously preach to others.