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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Generational tipping point in 2012 election

       The 2012 election saw the impact of a few different demographic changes.  The increasing number of Hispanic and Asian voters made the difference in many states.  We also saw the generational shift with more younger voters playing a significant impact on the election outcomes.  This was clearly seen in the referendum questions here in Maryland and in other states.
      The scales finally tipped in favor of marriage equality in Maryland, Washington State and Maine with the approval of gay marriage in each state.  In Minnesota the voters turned back a referendum question defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.  This 4 for 4 win for marriage equality came after losing 31 straight times in elections up to this year.  We all knew that eventually the younger vote would mean the approval of gay marriage by the voters but it turned dramatically this year.  The trend is definitely headed toward more states approving gay marriage at the ballot box.  Look for California and moderate political states to follow shortly.  The next big battle will be at the federal level with the Defense of Marriage Act coming under attack.  With so many marriage issues with the IRS and Social Security the energy will quickly move in this direction.  Republican opposition to marriage equality will only serve to cement the young vote to the Democrats the way that civil rights issues have cemented the African American vote to the Democrats.
    The Dream Act in Maryland passing by a comfortable margin was somewhat of a surprise.  The increasing number of Hispanic and other immigrant populations, along with younger voters pushed this referendum question to be approved.  The increasing diversity of our population is widely accepted by younger voters.  Again the Republicans will pay the cost of continuing to run campaigns with the call to "Take our Country back."  Most voters know that is code language for when the country was whiter and less diverse.
    The final area that the election showed the increasing voter strength of the younger population was the approval of recreational use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington State. The vote in Colorado gives new meaning to the John Denver song "Rocky Mountain High." The hypocritical nature of having alcohol legal and criminalizing marijuana has finally been shown at the ballot box. Our prison population for possession of marijuana is a black mark on our Country. The "War on Drugs" has been extremely costly to our justice system and has been as unsuccessful as Prohibition was. Our inner cities have been decimated by the imprisoning of men on drug charges. The reality is that the last three Presidents have admitted to using marijuana even if Clinton implied he "didn't inhale." The new conflict between the Federal Government and the states will be played out in the near future with more states moving in this direction to reduce the money they currently spend to catch, prosecute and imprison people for possession of marijuana.  I say all of this as someone who only tried marijuana once in college and don't recommend the use of any "mind altering" substance, including alcohol.
"The times they are a changin"


P.S
From the Columbia Association:
Fourth Annual Clothing Drive ongoing at several CA, village facilities
Less than three weeks remain for people to donate to the fourth annual clothing drive organized by Columbia Association’s (CA) Youth and Teen Center and its Teen Outreach Committee.
Collection boxes have been stationed at all 10 village community association buildings, Columbia Art Center, Youth and Teen Center @ The Barn and Supreme Sports Club. Those donating can bring in new and gently used clothes, shoes and accessories (including but not limited to ties, belts, hosiery, hats, gloves, pocketbooks and jewelry). The collection boxes will remain at these facilities through Friday, Nov. 30.
These donated items will then be distributed to community members in need on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both distribution days will be held at The Barn, located at 5853 Robert Oliver Place in the Oakland Mills Village Center.
Youth who are interested in earning community service hours by assisting with the collection, sorting, set-up and distribution should contact Safire Windley at Safire.Windley@ColumbiaAssociation.org or 410-992-3726.
The Youth and Teen Center (YTC) at The Barn is a fun, safe way for teens and pre-teens to socialize and participate in recreational and educational programs. Columbia and Howard County kids ages 9 to 18 are welcomed year round with after-school, summer time and some weekend activities and programs that are designed to promote self-esteem and to develop life skills.
For more information on the YTC, go to ColumbiaAssociation.org/YTCatTheBarn or call 410-992-3726.

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