One week before the publication of my new book, United America, we take a look at some of the historic milestones that seem to be reshaping America’s common ground, today.
The milestones we will discuss this week were charted by the Pew research team. They are different from the core values I will identify in my book, but these emerging points of consensus identified by the Pew team certainly signal historic trends that could turn into large majorities, someday.
WHAT PEW FINDS
ON GAY MARRIAGE
Today, consider that—for the first time ever—more than half of Americans favor allowing same-sex “marriage” and a majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.
Today’s question: Which surprises you more?
Equal opportunity is one of America’s 10 core values, but it is one that has taken a long time to materialize—and it has a long way to go. Today, Pew researchers have found, a majority of Americans support legalizing same-sex “marriage.” Overall, 7 in 10 Americans (72%) say that the legal recognition of same-sex marriage is “inevitable.” Even among current opponents of same-sex marriage, 6 of 10 still say it’s inevitable.
Same-sex marriage remains a divisive issue. Over 4 of 10 Americans (42%) oppose it, often on religious grounds. But Pew’s Fact Tank shows a clear upward trend over the years. The historic milestone of majority support for same-sex marriage may prove to be the tipping point after which support grows and grows.
AND MARIJUANA: The same is true for support for the legalization of marijuana. Last year was the first time in 40 years that a majority of Americans (52%) said they support making legal the use marijuana. Some may think of marijuana as a recreational drug, but more and more Americans use it for pain relief. I have a relative in severe arthritis pain who finds some relief with it.
Like same-sex marriage, the legalization of marijuana is a divisive issue. Almost half (45%) say it should not be legalized. However you feel about making marijuana legal, the historic milestone of majority support may be the tipping point in public opinion.
ON RACIAL EQUALITY: Over the sweep of many decades, the application of equality has broadened and deepened. But we still have a long way to go. For example, only 45% of Americans say we have made a lot of progress in the last 50 years on racial equality, according to Pew. That’s something to reflect upon today, the day we honor Martin Luther King, Jr.
How do you feel about the historic milestones of majority support for gay marriage and marijuana?
Are these milestones evidence of increasing equality?
Or, a sign of social decline and deterioration?
Which one surprises you more?