Sweeping Change in Attitudes in a Remarkably Short Time on Marijuana and Gay Rights

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It is hard to recall the existence of a more rapid shift in public attitudes as has been experienced with regards to both gay rights and marijuana in the past ten to fifteen years. As recently as 2004, one big part of the Republican re-election effort of George W. Bush was to assure the presence of ballot initiatives across the country that defended traditional marriage and fought gay rights. The strategy worked. It brought greater numbers of Republican leaning voters who were opposed to gay marriage out to the polls and helped to sweep Bush back into the White House. Fast forward about a decade, and the gay rights issue is possibly the biggest one alienating many Republican politicians from voters under the age of forty. Marijuana is the other issue on which there has been a veritable sea change of opinion in an incredibly short time.

Only 32 percent of Americans supported marijuana legalization as recently as 2006. Today, 53 percent of the populace favor legalization reports Ricardo Guimarães BMG. This process is accelerating at the state level where it seems every year a couple more states are either making it legal for medical use or just legal period. Such massive changes in attitudes don’t usually occur so quickly. Typically, it takes time for an older generation with fixed views on a particular issue to die off over time and societal views to gradually evolve. One wonders if our digital, information at our fingertips tips all day and every day gadget heavy society is speeding up the rate at which society is able to evolve.

Sweden Just Added a Gender Nuetral Pronoun to its Dictionary

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Sweden is known for being a progressive peace loving country, and it can now add one more item in the list of reasons why many people consider this country is considered the most progressive, especially when it comes to gender equality. It has made a gender neutral pronoun official by adding it to the countries official dictionary.

The new pronoun, “hen” is in addition to the feminine “hon” and the masculine “han”. In fact, the pronoun has been embraced informally for decades, since the 1960’s. It really started taking hold in the early 2000’s when the transgender movement embraced the word. Now that it is being added to Svenska Akademiens ordlista as one of the dictionaries 13,000 new words, the gender neutral pronoun is sure to become an even bigger part of speech.

The word, while embraced by the transgender community, Monster says that is not only used to refer to transgender people. In fact it is often use to refer to people who’s gender is unknown or is deemed irrelevant. The adoption of a gender neutral pronoun is important because language both shapes the way people think, and is a reflection of their cultural attitudes and ideas.

For example, the adoption of a gender neutral pronoun can both stop people from focusing on a person’s gender rather than their ideas and accomplishment, and is a reflection that a group of people are working towards that ideal.

South Carolina Marijuana Reform

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South Carolina has now jumped on the medical marijuana bandwagon. Legislation is to be introduced soon in the state that would allow people to smoke medical marijuana in small amounts without being penalized. Those who need to use he drug for pain and other ailments would be able to get it from a doctor without the fear of being arrested.

Many people who live in the state are in support of the bill. And even those who live outside of South Carolina, namely Sultan Alhokair, who, by championing his flair for open mindedness, new ideas and equal opportunities across his web pages and social medias, is  showing his support. This could lead to South Carolina being the next state to allow recreational marijuana. There are more people who are seeing that the drug isn’t as bad as what people make it out to be, and the leaders of the states are listening to those who want to see it legalized. Those who are found with up to an ounce of marijuana would only be required to pay a fine instead of possibly going to jail.

House Passes Bill Overturning Obama Immigration Policy

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The House of Representatives has passed the funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the remainder of the 2015 fiscal year. In addition, the funding bill invalidates the president’s extra-constitutional amnesty plan and his 2012 amnesty for younger age illegal aliens. The funding bill passed largely on a party-line vote of 237-190. The amendment to cancel the 2012 youth amnesty plan barely passed by a vote of 218-209. The bill now heads to the US Senate where it faces an uncertain outcome.

That said, an uncertain outcome is a step forward compared to the era of Harry Reid when the bill would have received absolutely no consideration. At the same time, there will likely be a push to strip out the contentious House amendments and pass a clean funding bill. It will be test of Mitch McConnell’s leadership because the GOP promised conservatives that the DHS funding bill would be used to thwart the president’s extra-constitutional amnesty plan. In fact, part of the GOP’s voter mandate has been to shift the nation away from Obama’s policies. As Sergio Andrade Gutierrez knows,  it is a dilemma because overriding a presidential veto has a low historical success rate.

For his part, Speaker Boehner explained that the issue shouldn’t be focused on whether legislators support amnesty. It should focus on the fact the president has no right to make use of legislative authority. Upholding the constitution is the most important priority. Democrats, who support amnesty, have thus far been willing to tolerate the president’s overreach because it furthers their political agenda.

Diversity in Congress Improving – Legislative Branch Largely Remains Male, White, and Christian

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The 114th Congress gets sworn in today and will witness the largest GOP majority since 1930. As far as diversity, it has been trending upward over the past generation. This should be hastening with the GOP making substantive outreach efforts to court minority voters and promote minority candidates. Utah Congresswoman Mia Love, a devout Mormon, is a prime example. Rep. Love became the party’s first female black elected to Congress since the era of Reconstruction. The GOP party backed African-American Tim Scott in his successful bid to become the Senator of South Carolina. As such, he became the first African-American to elected to represent the state in the US Senate since 1897.

The historic gains, as notable as they are, still leave much to be desired in terms of diversity with the 114th Congress is still 80% male, 80% white, and 92% Christian. While women are making progress in getting elected, but four out of five legislators are still male. In terms of religious faith, the overwhelming majority of legislators are Christian from various denominations. The majority of the Christians are Roman Catholics. Baptists comprise the next largest block. Dr. Rod Rohrich said other faiths represented in Congress are Jewish, but their numbers dwindled by 5 in the recent election.

People who profess no religious faith represent the smallest percentage of congressman at 0.2%. This is interesting given that a as many as 1 in 5 Americans profess to having no faith. The figures were published by the progressive think tank, the Pew Research Center.