It is Election Day and I’m feeling nervous. The 2022 midterm elections are predicted to swing to Republicans, who may wrest control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives if the MAGA movement continues to build popular momentum.
The economy is bad. Inflation is out of control. The stock market is crashing, and interest rates are skyrocketing as a panicked FED tries to slow inflation. But the real rift in America tears along social lines. Racism is a team sport these days. As a nation we have become factionalized, radicalized, compartmentalized. We divide ourselves along racial, religious, political, and economic lines. The conservative country folks armed to the teeth fighting for God, Guns and Country, while the liberal city folks are lost in political correctness, pronoun realignment and over regulation.
We have devolved into packs of branded partisans. No better than gangs really, flying our colors: MAGA Red or Blue Wave. On this election eve, it’s overwhelming to witness the ubiquitous hate, fear mongering, name calling finger pointing, obfuscation, propaganda, lies, and general madness that defines our political discourse.
Don’t confuse me with the facts! We are unable to discuss the issues, without quickly falling behind dogmatic trench lines – reciting well-worn Party talking points and retreating to sweeping condemnation of the others – corrupt politicians, the deep state operatives, dark money – as the source of our unfortunate circumstance.
Not since my childhood in 1960s and 1970s Indiana have I seen such blatant, proud ignorance presented as wisdom. I thought when I relocated first to New York City, and later to the enlightened Pacific Northwest, that I had left this kind of endemic narrow-mindedness behind. But it turns out, things here in progressive Seattle are every bit as ugly as they were in conservative Indiana.
Ten years into Washington’s legal cannabis industry, we are still wrestling with an under representation of minorities in our industry. Social Equity is the cause of the day, defining the industry coast to coast. On the East Coast, Legal States are putting real teeth to their social equity policy, but not so here in the Pacific Northwest. Oh we talk a good game. But rather than make real, substantive changes or accommodations, our cannabis industry associations and regulators decide to waste energy and resources on political correctness. Their big solution this year? Replacing the word ‘marijuana’ with ‘cannabis’ in state’s regulations. Mistaking words for deeds, this conflation of terms does not benefit anyone, and only serves to confuse matters. Marijuana has always referred to Adult Use; and Hemp has always referred to Industrial Use. BOTH Marijuana and Hemp are Cannabis. None of these terms is racist.
Speaking of name calling, one doesn’t have to look far to find racism and antisemitism in the legal cannabis industry. Anyone who sat in on the zoom calls that the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board hosted to get feedback for proposed Social Equity regulations, witnessed the racial hatred and resentment in the industry as frustrated applicants suggested that not only had Blacks and Hispanics been overlooked, but that somehow that Jews were given preferential treatment in the initial issuance of licenses.
“One group controls the industry,” a cannabis license broker flatly states on a recent business call, “and they are the same ones who control the banks and the media.” I’m shocked he would spew such hatred during a business discussion – especially to me, a Jew! But he seems empowered to continue his rant, by delineating the faults of various ethnic groups who have licenses.
I’m disgusted and end the call. Besides not doing business with bigots, what can one do? Speak out for one. Advocate for equality. Stand up to hate and ignorance. And Vote!