Smoke a bowl for equality

By Douglas Hardman

Have you ever looked at someone smoking a blunt and said to yourself, “Wow, they are totally affecting my own personal life?” If you haven’t, then you’re probably a progressive person.

Throughout 2014, weed legalization was a major revolution. Washington and Colorado were the only two states to fully decriminalize, legalize, and distribute marijuana in markets, while some states have only just decriminalized it in some aspects. And people are ok with this.

I mean, why shouldn’t they be? There’s legitimately nothing harmful about the consumption of marijuana (in moderation) and it has been proven that the effects of alcohol consumption are far more devastating to the body than smoking a bowl. Hey, we put a prohibition on alcohol back in the ‘20s and people still got away with making, distributing, and consuming it. That didn’t last very long. The war on drugs will soon follow suit (disclaimer: I am only advocating the legalization of marijuana).

But there’s a problem here. Our society, as a whole, seems to be very supportive of this movement. There are the straight-laced, elderly Republicans who obviously are not, but the majority is in. You’d hope, or think, that the vast majority would be just as enthusiastic about a cause that advocated human rights, right? That’s where the problem is.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender plus community has been fighting forever (many say the fight started in the ‘60s/’70s) to be seen and treated as equal humans. But because they are not heterosexual humans, they are not even considered human. And how twisted is that? To me, that brings back memories of slavery in America. No, we aren’t forcing the gays into slave labor, but we are still denying them equal treatment, equal rights, and equal lives with everyone else, and for what? They’re different.

People who smoke marijuana are labeled “hippies” and “potheads,” and members of the LGBTQ+ community are labeled “inhuman” and “disgusting.” Do you see the problem? We don’t dehumanize “potheads” even though they lead an “alternative” lifestyle from the straight and narrow. We may judge them, but I’ve never heard of a case where someone was bullied, belittled, or even murdered (outside of gang relation) over smoking a joint, whereas members of the LGBTQ+ community (especially teens) are killing themselves simply because people tell them they don’t belong.

While I applaud the states for making it unconstitutional for gay marriage to be banned, where is it actually legal? Maybe a handful of states? Maybe even more states than where marijuana is legal. But the numbers are irrelevant to me. I love progression, and I’m all for the movement, but it’s a bandwagon now. People are only “getting on board” because it’s popular to be down with the gays. News flash: if you’re only supporting gay marriage to be in with the “in crowd,” you don’t believe in human rights.

When we, as a society, continuously advocate against human rights, belittle the minorities, and attack a progressive future, we obviously do more damage than good. We cannot hope for a better world, a better future, when we leave out a large chunk of the population. We need to put basic human rights above all. Love thy neighbor, America, no matter who they are, because, in the words of Ghandi, “A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.”