Has Obama betrayed the stoners?




August 8–


I was just cruising over on the Norml website, checking some things out, and came across a couple of links, this: 





and this:





Of course Obama has laughed off the idea that pot would help our economy, and his new drug czar has stated that he thinks smoked marijuana has no medicinal value. Sigh. Just when we thought he was on our side, yeah? And all the stoners leaving comments are saying stuff like, “I’ll never vote for him again,” yadda yadda yadda.


I have a different take on this subject and it’s just too durn long to leave in someone’s comment section, so here goes.


Obama had admitted to smoking pot when he was younger. So he’s not like, a total pot virgin or anything. He knows it’s not a big deal. And he didn’t make a big deal out of it when he admitted it, as far as I know.


But that doesn’t mean he was likely to step into the White House and immediately start breaking out a fat bag of green bud for his cabinet or anything. Let’s be a little bit more realistic.


It seems like some people expect their Presidents to act like kings, or fairy godmothers; they want their newly elected leader to just wave his magic wand and make things happen immediately, and when it doesn’t happen like that, they get mad. “I’ll never vote for that sumbitch again!” is the cry of someone who doesn’t understand the complexities of politics.


This doesn’t just apply to Obama, either; if right wingers had expected Reagan or either of the Bushes, to, say, immediately make all abortion illegal they would have been disappointed the same way. Presidents aren’t kings, and they aren’t comic book heroes, and they aren’t fairy godmothers. There’s a process to this stuff. 


One thing new Presidents have to think about is their reelection. They’re not going to do anything to screw that up, unless, like LBJ, they just flat out decide not to run for reelection. 


Fortunately for Obama, the Republican party seems to be devolving into a cult of overly religious wingnuts who don’t even seem to notice how ridiculous they come across. If they keep up the kind of crap they’ve been pulling so far, (“where’s the birth certificate? Oh, it’s here? I don’t believe it!”) they don’t stand much of a chance in 2012 anyway. All Obama has to do is keep the country from totally falling apart, while not getting shot. To do this, he needs to walk a fine, careful line. That’s really all we could have expected him to do anyway. Remember, “not a fairy godmother”.


We don’t need him to legalize pot for us, anyway. We need to do that.


We need to keep the pressure on our legislators, write letters, educate people, sign petitions, and all those other political tactics that we’ve all been working on for years and years. Now is not the time to kick back and expect one single politician to fix it all for us. On the contrary; now is our golden opportunity.


Let’s say that several more states legalized medical marijuana, pass local decriminalization laws and “low priority” laws, indicating that a growing number of people are in favor of relaxing the laws against marijuana, even if only a little. You might think that a bunch of local people voting on a decrim law that the cops might decide to ignore doesn’t make any difference, but it does–it proves how many voters are willing to suspend or reduce prohibition. Once that number gets above 50%, politicians have to start paying attention, ‘cuz now you’re a voting bloc, not just a bunch of cartoon hippies sitting in a cloud of smoke.


Let’s say that maybe California makes it legal and taxes it (even if the taxes are too darn high). Then what if another state does it? And another?


What if our movement gained enough steam that our representatives in Congress started batting around the idea of legalizing it altogether? What if there was actually a bill introduced?


That’s when we need Obama to come through for us. All we need him to do is stay out of our way while we’re continuing down the long road to legalization. He’s our ace in the hole. 


If it gets to the point where a significant majority of people show that they’re tired of prohibition, then Obama (or any other sympathetic politician) can cover their ass by pretending to be forced into it by overwhelming public opinion. Politicians are scared to death to go out on a limb, and if Obama tried to openly come out in favor of legalization, some nut would kill him before we have a chance to make any progress. 


(Note: this technique doesn’t just apply to pot…if you wanted to pass, say, single payer health care, you need to keep putting that issue out there until the politicians simply can’t ignore it anymore…then, if you have sympathetic polticians in office, you have a real chance. Just look at what the right wing did with the abortion issue.)


So, take heart, friends! The battle is not yet over!



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