Through the time I've spent writing on this site and my activities in the local and state political scenes I've gotten to know a lot of different people involved with a lot of different groups. Some have friended me on Facebook (it's Richard C Barnes if you want to add me) and through that site I find it interesting to follow discussions and see photos of political events.
This week a group of people seeking to legalize marijuana were out in Boston collecting signatures on a petition. Now I do commend them for standing up for what they believe and legalization is something I'm 100% behind, I do have to add in a "however" in this case though...
The "however" in this case comes in when I viewed the pictures of them collecting signatures. The group collecting signatures were all early 20 somethings who fit the stereotype of what people picture when they thing "stoner". One that jumps right out at anyone viewing the photos is a young woman with green hair and a nose ring.
I compare this to Matt Simon who is often seen in a suit or looking business professional when campaigning for legalization. He as a result gets business owners and respectable members of society backing him.
When looking at the two examples I have to ask, even if the young lady with the green hair (who for the record is a soon to be harvard graduate) were to collect 10,000 signatures who is going to take her seriously? Signatures are meaningless if there is no action behind them.
Politicians care about 1 thing, votes. If they see a "stoner" with green hair pushing a petition that half the people signing aren't even reading they will care less. Chances are the hippies in the coffee shop aren't voting anyway.
The business professional and business owners however are a different story. When a politician sees someone who owns and runs their own business they see someone with power. They see someone they know votes and they see someone who can most likely help their campaign and perhaps donate toward it. That person gains attention where the "stoner" wouldn't.
Until those pushing for legalization clean up their act and come off and professional and make it clear to politicians that they are a significant voting block who will not side with either party they will not be taken seriously.