“I think it’s helpful for our society to be tolerant. I welcome states who are increasingly tolerant of people who march to the tune of a different drummer.”
Along with the United States’ first black president being elected for his second term, there were also other historic votes in the 2012 elections, including the legalization of both recreational marijuana and marriage equality in several states.
“I think it’s helpful for our society to be tolerant,” said Rob Catlett, professor of economics and director of the centers for economic education and community research. “I welcome states who are increasingly tolerant of people who march to the tune of a different drummer. I think, in general, our society is better off if we are not focused on telling each other what to do.”
Colorado, Washington and Oregon voted on referendums last Tuesday to make marijuana legal for entertainment purposes, according to CNN. Oregon voted against it, but Colorado and Washington voted in favor.
For those over 21 years of age, Amendment 64 in Colorado will “amend the state constitution to legalize and regulate the production, possession, and distribution of marijuana,” according to CNN.
Catlett said things such as using marijuana used to be called “victimless crimes.” He also said recent data suggests that half of people being held in penitentiaries are there on drug charges.
“We are paying a lot of money to put people away on drug charges,” Catlett said. “To me, that’s not considering our resources as we might otherwise.”
But Lindsay Cuadra, freshman accounting major, said the legalization of marijuana could inhibit the country because of accidents related to drug and alcohol use, but it also could be beneficial because it allows more freedom.
“It will hinder the country by allowing drugs as a whole to be more acceptable,” said John Beyer, junior history major. “I think it will also lead young rebels to try harder drugs.”
Same-sex marriage was also legalized in two states – Maryland and Maine. CNN reported that the vote was close in Maryland – only 51.9 percent of voters were in favor.
“I think it will benefit the country because it was founded on equal rights to everyone, and I think that should include gay and lesbian couples,” Cuadra said.
But Beyer had a different viewpoint on the subject.
“When you redefine the definition of marriage, you begin to lose the value of it,” Beyer said. “When society loses the value of marriage, marriage no longer means anything. Since the importance of marriage in a society is to produce children and raise children, what happens when that traditional family unit is gone?”
In the wake of election day, individuals from 20 states have filed petitions to secede from the U.S., according to CBS News, including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.