Another evolution: President Obama and Mayor Rahm take a stand

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Obamas evolution: publicly supporting positions he already privately held.
  • Charles Dharapak/AP
  • Obama's evolution: publicly supporting positions he already privately held.
I read in the papers that President Obama says he's thinking about relaxing federal laws against marijuana.

Looks like we got another political evolution on the way.

A political evolution is when politicians—generally, liberal Democrats—publicly move to a position they already privately held once it's politically safe to do so.

That is, now that public opinion polls show a majority of voters—or close to a majority—have already taken that stance, thanks to the drum pounding of activists who aren't afraid to take a stand when it's unpopular.

It's called standing up for what you believe in.

In this case, President Obama's slowly starting to evolve toward relaxing the federal crusade against marijuana now that voters throughout the country—like in Colorado and Washington state—have voted to pretty much legalize it.

Of course, you know as well as I do that President Obama has probably favored the legalization of marijuana since his days back in Hawaii when he was smoking voluminous quantities of the stuff.

It didn't seem to hurt him too much.

Plus, he's a smart guy: he has to know the laws are unfairly enforced so that lower-income black kids get locked up for doing the same things that wealthier white kids do every day without getting busted.

Busting all those black kids comes at tremendous costs not only to the kids, but also their families and the communities in which they live. We're going to need a major evolution to get any politician to care about that.

As far as I can tell, the main reason we still outlaw marijuana is that a bunch of right-wingers left over from the 60s—or their immediate political descendants—are still trying to prove that they were right and the hippies were wrong.

OK, you were right and we were wrong—now, can we legalize it already?

If you recall, President Obama underwent a similar evolution in regard to gay marriage just in time for this year's presidential campaign and all of its donations.

Even though I'm sure he was always for gay marriage, almost from the moment he gave any thought to the subject.

In fact, gay marriage has become so mainstream that even Mayor Rahm—who's not exactly Mr. Bold when it comes to political initiatives—says it ranks third on his legislative agenda. Right behind stealing pensions from retired teachers, cops, and firefighters. Apparently, making life miserable for old geezers scores high on the mayor's internal polls.

I'm sure Mayor Rahm—like President Obama—always supported gay marriage. He just wasn't willing to risk a backlash by doing anything about it until now, when it seems as though the General Assembly is about to approve it, with or without him.

So if he's going to get any credit, he'd better speak up now or forever hold his peace.

Well, as long as politicians are evolving. How about evolving on gun control so that it's not so easy for lunatics to buy semiautomatic weapons?

Speaking of things that probably every Democrat is terrified to support until it's politically safe to do so.

And how about the mayor evolving on jobs? As in stop outsourcing good city ones in privatization deals with cronies and contributors.

Sad to say, I don't think that evolution's going to happen anytime soon. Unless, of course, the polls change. Then just watch how fast Mayor Rahm evolves into the second coming of Eugene Debs.

Makes me long for the days of Harry Truman. Say what you will, but the man had a backbone. Leaders lead, politicians evolve.

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