Monday, March 30, 2009

The Politics of Being Illogical

posted by: Chris F. 2 days ago
The Politics of Being Illogical

As I argued in a previous article, it makes no sense whatsoever to continue to criminalize and wage a costly battle against the cannabis drug. In an online forum with the public, where President Obama answered unfiltered questions sent in by millions, he would've been remiss to ignore the popularity of the one topic that kept popping up in different areas of discussion: the legalization of marijuana.

(It is inconclusive whether the popularity of the marijuana-related questions were the result of a voting campaign by particular interest groups, or in fact, the public at large is finding the issue of legalization much easier to digest given the condition of our economy.)

To his credit, President Obama did ultimately address the issue of whether marijuana should be legalized, albeit with a statement the U.S. Supreme Court would be proud of. Although the President did not explicitly state his opposition to the decriminalization of marijuana, he instead relayed his belief that it was not a "good strategy for our economy".

I can fully understand that Mr. Obama's primary concern, as it should be, is to lead our nation out of this deep financial crisis and use all the influence and negotiating acumen he possesses to create and pass the legislation that is probably necessary to keep our economy from falling much further.

It might appear to some, at least given the words from most of their members, that the Republican Party might be somewhat hesitant to give their full approval to all that President Obama seeks from Congress. Given the stress and opposition already in place, had he come right out and announced his support for the legalization of marijuana, his efforts to work with Congress for all of these economic and mortgage packages would've been made that much harder.

That's not to say the savings and revenue realized from such decriminalization and resulting taxation would've been fictional or insignificant in any way. Just the opposite.

But in the world of politics and Washington, D.C., negotiations and conflict are a daily occurrence, and the microscope is so trained on the opposition, by both parties, that everything said or done can be used positively or negatively. Elections for 435 members of Congress are every two years, which essentially means they are constantly running for office. Good or bad, polls in their district will largely dictate what they say and do as Representatives. Even national polls may influence the talking points of national candidates.

For instance, it is definitively Unconstitutional to prohibit same-sex marriages, yet most politicians, including President Obama, have failed to support such a right, maybe because most polls show a lack of support nationally. Add in the factor of an opponent whose most vocal supporters would be energized by such an issue, and it instantly becomes a topic to largely avoid, regardless of how wrong it is.

This could be tied to the backlash against several Republican legislators in California I noted in another previous article. They decided, on their own, to act in a way they thought was best. Yet, because of their party, and a few vocal constituents, they could face political retribution.

This is politics. Speaking with vagueness; acting with polling support; rarely saying and doing the right thing before everyone else believes it to be the right thing as well.

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