While I have been very critical on Weld, I find his views on marriage equality refreshing. Too often politicians are so afraid of public opinion that they would rather be hateful and ignorant than right (Simon). While this issue is easier to see in the Republican Party, Democrats, such as Hillary are guilty of it too. You can see how Hillary’s views on marriage equality have progressed at ontheissues.org.
“I believe marriage is not just a bond, but a sacred bond between a man & a women. I have had occasion in my life to defend marriage, to stand up for marriage, to believe in the hard work & challenge of marriage.” (2004)
“Marriage has historic, religious, and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman.” (2007)
“this has not been a long-term struggle yet” (2007)
“I prefer to think of it as being very positive about civil unions.” (2007)
I know what you’re going to say, I cherry picked these quotes. Hillary does not really feel this way. She said these things to help get Defense of Marriage Act to stop the passage of a marriage amendment to the Constitution. That is the point I am trying to make. She made these comments because of political expediency, not because it was how she actually felt on the issue.
The same thing is true of issues like cannabis prohibition. Gary Johnson noticed that many officials have told him that they believe he is right on the issue but they are afraid to talk about it publicly:
I have been approached by some elected officials who’ve said, “Way to go. This needed to be said. Your position is right, but I can’t say that in public.”
However, this fear is not based on reality. According to Gary Johnson, 95% of the outspoken people in his state supported his stance on cannabis. According to Gallup (2013), most Americans support the legalization of cannabis.
According to the Bing Political Index, the US public is progressive on drug policy and only three states are slightly conservative on the issue. The rest are progressive. All of the candidates that are still in the race are progressive on drug policy and favor medical cannabis. Even Donald Trump is 100% behind medical cannabis. All of the candidates that were conservative on the issue of drug policy have dropped out of the race due to lack of support. Rand Paul calling out the hypocrisy of these candidates may have helped contribute to that phenomenon.
We need to end this absurd pandering to a minority. It reinforces ignorance and does not exhibit leadership ability (Simon). Voters reinforce this form of pandering by supporting the candidates who pander in this way. However, people are demonstrating that they smarter than politicians and political analysts give them credit for. At least on the issue of medical cannabis, voters are not allowing candidates to continue to pound their chest and regurgitate ignorant statements.
However, this pandering still appears to work with immigration and protectionism. To close, I am sharing a cartoon that can help explain this tactic and why we should be concerned when Donald Trump fuels anger against immigrants and Bernie Sanders fuels anger against the 1%.