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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Social issues show change in attitudes

  • It's finally over.
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  • It's finally over.
    The 2012 election came to a close for the most part on Tuesday night.
    The most obvious news came when President Barack Obama won a second term in the White House.
    But there were some other stories which came out of the election that are quite interesting — and might say a lot about changes in society.
    One of those matters is gay marriage.
    In Maine and Maryland, voters approved same-sex marriage. In most cases, gay marriage has been approved by lawmakers, not voters.
    But in these two cases, the historic vote came from the people, which is a significant shift in attitudes.
    What this all means is an open question.
    The likely answer is that more and more people are becoming tolerant and accepting of gay marriage. Maybe it's that people just don't care enough about the issue and are more focused on other issues like the economy and energy.
    In another somewhat stunning development, voters in the states of Colorado and Washington legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
    This sets up an interesting battle because marijuana remains illegal on the federal level. How that will all play out remains to be seen.
    What was fascinating about these initiatives is that organizers used a different tactic than in the past when it comes to marijuana laws.
    Those for the law decided to compare marijuana to the failed days of prohibition when alcohol became a vehicle for illegal activities, including mob involvement.
    They said there has been a failed war on drugs and told the electorate it only made sense to pass the law so the focus for law enforcement could be on more serious issues.
    It is a fascinating approach and worked.
    This, too, would seem to indicate that attitudes about marijuana are changing.
    The marijuana issue also created some strange bedfellows as staunch conservatives joined the movement citing government overreach and failed drug policies. Overcrowded prisons were also a factor in these decisions.
    All in all, these very controversial issues seem to be less controversial in this day and age.
    It may be that as the population ages, the baby boomers are showing their true feelings on social issues. It would seem that would only become more and more prevalent as the offspring of those boomers age, as well.
     
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