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Pot laws looked like theyd never change Then WHAM: Salutin

Deep social change happens so slowly it looks like nothing is happening. Not just over years but decades, maybe longer. Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. Then WHAM. The imminent legalization of (nonmedical) marijuana is a perfect example. Its perfectness even has a generational, father to son, symmetry.Back in 1969 the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau appointed a royal commission to recommend policy on marijuana. Its head was a future Supreme Court justice. They heard hundreds of witnesses, including John Lennon, and in 1973 reported. Two of the three members recommended decriminalization for possession and cultivation; the third supported legalization. No one suggested keeping it criminal. It must have been what Trudeau wanted. You always select people knowing what they’ll give you. Then nothing nothing nothing — till the son.Why finally now? Who knows? But that’s how it goes: there is social ferment yet no official policy or law reflects it. You feel it’s hopeless. Then it bursts forth whole. Too bad for devotees of the cause who died in the interim.In the same era, the 1960s, came the sexual revolution. It questioned heteronormative sex. It was like the drugs, music and political revolutions. Anti- capitalist authorities, such as Herbert Marcuse, theorized about the possibility of “nonrepressive desublimation.” Intellectual guru Norman O. Brown advocated “polymorphous perversity” versus uncomplicated (marital only) intercourse.Then 30 years of nothing. Gary Hart dropped his 1988 Democratic run for president because he was spotted on a sailboat with not-his-wife. In 1998 Bill Clinton was caught having oral sex in the oval office (making every word in that phrase sound sexual) with an intern. The sole achievement of his eight years as president was resisting the stigmatization and staying in office. (It seems to me Donald Trump owes Bill Clinton for the fact that his “pussy” tape didn’t cost him victory.)Article Continued BelowThe official marker for change on this front was same-sex marriage, which became legal nationally in the U.S. in 2015. WHAM, finally.What about Bill O’Reilly, the mighty mouth at Fox News, who this week was booted for harassment of women working there? Did the Murdochs just find out? I think it’s unfortunate that O’Reilly’s harassment history got intertwined with Fox’s right wing ideology — because the very same things have happened for years at other media outlets of all stripes. Women’s lives were blighted and careers destroyed at more “liberal” or progressive institutions by behaviour as ugly and sometimes far worse than his including, bien sur, the CBC.But why now? Nobody knows. It seemed to coalesce at the time of the Jian Ghomeshi and Bill Cosby cases two or three years ago. Then, why then? I don’t think there’s an answer. (Which should make people wary of declaring “causes” of anything, like wars and recessions.) But that’s when women who had been fighting these battles for decades began saying they sensed a “sea-change.” The lesson is obvious: don’t fret about lack of results; just keep on battling.

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