Earlier this week Gallup released findings that may come as a surprise to the Trump Administration and Attorney General, Jeff Sessions who’s views towards marijuana are antiquated to say the least. The news that more Americans favor legalizing marijuana isn’t necessarily news (just look at the success it has had at the ballot box) but what is surprising is according to Gallup for the first time a majority of Republicans are also expressing their support for legalizing marijuana; 51% of Republicans favor legalizing marijuana (up nine percentage points from 2016).
64% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana
Although by the late 1970s approximately 25-30% of Americans favored legalizing marijuana, it was not until about a decade ago when a significant number of Americans started to support legalization for recreational use.
Despite what you might think based on the political rhetoric you hear coming from 1600 Pennsylvania and elsewhere, the polling numbers on marijuana continues a trend that shows more Americans are becoming more socially tolerant and liberal on several social issues. No wonder we keep hearing about a culture war – a little more than half the country is becoming increasingly more accepting with many others wondering what has happened to “their America”. Trends suggest that legalization of marijuana, LGBTQ rights and environmental issues will only continue to gain support.
Poll Source: Gallup
Currently eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. They include: Alaska, California, Colorado, D.C., Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Washington. Twenty-one other states have broadly legalized marijuana for medical use and or have decriminalized possession. You can read the full findings from Gallup here.
This past week, while I was in New York for work Mayor Marty Walsh hosted a fundraiser at Club Cafe to talk to the LGBTQ community, and as you can see Sergio was able to meet the Mayor, who was only too happy to pose with his custom shirt, “LGBTQ 4 Marty”.
Boston’s Gay community is often criticized for many things it is not; it’s not friendly; it doesn’t have a great night life; it doesn’t have a neighborhood; etc… but one thing nearly everyone can agree is that Boston’s LGBTQ community can raise money and deliver votes.
Below are a couple photos from the event at Club Cafe that the Committee to Elect Marty Walsh shared with me. Below those photos, I have also included a link where you can get more information about the citywide elections, that take place the first Tuesday of November.
Photos below are courtesy of the Committee to Elect Marty Walsh
The Satanic Temple, which blogger Joe My God pointed out doesn’t really believe in Satan but is an atheist organization with the mission to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people” made news last week on a topic that might at first seem frivolous but has real-life implications if you are gay.
Lucien Greaves, co-founder and spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, has said if the U.S. Supreme Court decides (as it is expected to) that “religious freedom” is more important than civil rights, when they hear the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission No. 16-111 his organization has a devilishly clever plan to troll Masterpiece Cakeshop and others like them – but more on that later. First hear me out on why this is important to you.
What if the best surgeon in your city refused to treat you, citing religious freedom?
While I would normally suggest the couple find another business (one who supports the LGBTQ community), let me point out that by allowing this discrimination, it poses a problem that goes far beyond its hypocrisy. Nobody believes for a minute that this argument would be tolerated if the cakemaker suggested he couldn’t make cakes for Jews, who for example, could easily be classified as opposing this owner’s religious views. However, I digress. The real issue here is by allowing one business to discriminate and not provide service to a gay couple based on their selective religious teachings means that other services could also make similar claims. Although it seems far fetched, what if the best surgeon in your city refused to treat you to you based on his / her religious freedom beliefs? Don’t think it could happen? Don’t be so sure.
making sexual orientation a protected class is both important and relevant.
Although this court case has been described as a matter of Free Speech vs. Civil Rights, I don’t see it that way. The fact that sexual orientation is not a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (unlike race and religion) means there is a good chance (considering the makeup of the court) that refusing to serve anyone who is LGBTQ could be affirmed as a constitutional liberty.
For this reason, The Satanic Temple (TST) announced a plan for those who feel alienated by the privileged status religion holds over sexual orientation: Request your homophobic baker make a cake for Satan. While this hardly resolves the problem, perhaps it can drive home the point that discriminating based on what a person looks like, what they believe or who they are is always wrong and providing religious protections that infringe on the rights of minority groups is inherently a bad idea for everyone involved.
The “Free Speech Rally” hosted this past Saturday in Boston could barely muster a couple dozen Libertarians and White Supremacists to the Boston Common. This despicable group who wrapped themselves in our country’s Bill of Rights for the purpose of antagonizing and getting free media were dwarfed by an impressive counter demonstration that police estimate ranged from 30,000 – 40,000 people.
The photo above from @andrewkimmel_Twitter account caused a bit of a stir. Let’s just say that while hate is ugly there is no denying that promoting peace is sexy and Stew is living proof of that. You can follow Stew on Twitter (if you like) here: @Stewart_Driflot.
This past week was not a very good week for President Trump but then again it is hard to think of a ‘good week’ since Trump was sworn into office. Unsurprisingly the bad press has not deterred his core supporters (approximately 35% if one is to believe polls that consistently show his support in this range). I presume some of those who support Trump would point to his leadership in business and a perception he is making America stronger, but it is hard to follow this logic.
Executives Flee Trump and Allies Mock Him
In the past week Trump’s business advisory councils have disbanded after an embarrassing exodus of executives. (I wish there was more reporting on the fact that Trump cannot seem to work with business leaders.) Couple that with the fact that in less than 7 months Trump has also managed to alienate or offend some of our longest and strongest allies and it is hard to understand how we are “stronger” than we were a year earlier.
Increasingly Negative Global Perceptions of America
I find it depressing to see the cover of Der Spiegel mirroring recent covers by Time, The New Yorker and even The Economist. I can spot a trend when I see one and this is not a helpful or hopeful trajectory for America. I’m curious how Republicans in Congress will work with Trump when they return to DC in September. They have a very busy calendar with important topics to be discussed ranging from raising the debt ceiling to tax reform. If something (anything) gets done, how will the electorate respond? The 2018 campaign season will be upon us before we realize it and this new normal of illustrating our President as a Nazi or KKK sympathizer cannot be good for anyone – least of all the United States.
The title of this post was intentionally a play on words and could easily have read “Facing America’s racist President”. Make of that observation what you will, but his comments regarding recent events in Charlottesville, VA are an embarrassment and more reminiscent of the 1960s than present day.
IMO President Trump’s sympathetic response to white supremacists is not particularly surprising considering how consistently he has courted this group. What is surprising is how many people chose to either abstain from our Presidential election or voted for Trump despite his ongoing flirtations with the KKK and white supremacist leaders.
I’m left wondering if America has become so polarized that there is no line that cannot be crossed – No behavior that cannot be overlooked – No action that warrants a response: Provided those who cross that line, exhibit bad behavior or act inappropriately identify with your political philosophy. It is laughable to think most American’s claim not to identify with a political party because how easily we write off behavior (on both sides) indicates quite the opposite.
This is an easy to follow chart of U.S. Presidential history that I wanted to share. You can click on the photo to enlarge if the image is too small to see in the post.