Real Time with Bill Maher: Pot Is The New Gay Marriage

The final “New Rule” – Real Time with Bill Maher – May 31, 2013 – Episode 284

Bill Maher: And finally, New Rule: Pot is the new gay marriage.

And by that I mean it’s the next obvious civil rights issue that needs to fall. Now — If I asked you — What has been the biggest change in American society over the past twenty years? — what would you say? Instagram? Coconut water? Crocs? — All important, but no, it’s that a generation ago the closest thing to gay marriage was Liza Minnelli and Dave Gest.

Liza Minnelli & David Gest

In 1988 only ten percent of Americans approved of gay marriage. Today that figure is almost sixty percent. So what happened? What made gay marriage so normal so quickly? Now sure, part of it was Dancing with the Stars. But mostly it was because gays simply demanded it. They didn’t care that gay marriage wasn’t popular, they put it on the agenda and they made it popular. The same way they made every woman in America want to wear giant bug-eye sunglasses. Now the Democrats, believe it or not, have that kind of power too, they just don’t use it because Democrats operate from a place of fear, unwilling to appear soft on crime, soft on terror, or in Anthony Weiner’s case, soft on camera.

Anthony Weiner - underwear

On gay marriage, they even use their own children as political cover to explain how they “evolved” on the issue. They say “my kids have gay friends and when they come over for dinner I’ve noticed none of them try to fuck me.” Say what you will about Republicans, they don’t chase poll numbers, they move them, like gays.

If Republicans were smart, they would steal marijuana from the Democrats as a freedom issue. Of course they’re not smart, so they won’t — because they’re squares living in a reefer madness cartoon. A cartoon where millions of Americans are still trapped in a no man’s land, where a pot dispensary can sell you weed if you have a “card” from a “doctor” who certifies that you have a “disease,” which is just ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ for pot smokers. And it creates a culture of dishonesty that gives a bad name to people like me who genuinely suffer from whatever it is I told them I had. But this isn’t about me, it’s about the three-quarters of a million people who are arrested for simple possession every year, and the fact that blacks are arrested at seven times the rate of whites — which is a subtle way to suppress the black vote, because forty-eight states limit voting rights for convicted felons. Only two states do not, Maine and Vermont, and Maine’s black population consists of a bear.

Look, we all put something in our mouth that we’re not always proud of, but that makes us happy. Gay barriers fell when Americans realized gays are their neighbors, their friends, their family members, their co-workers; certainly that must also be true of potheads. We all know at least one. In fact, I bet there is one pothead who you all know.

President Obama - official first term portrait

Oh, not anymore, but here he is back in high school with his stoner posse, the “Choom Gang,” posing with a cake that I’m guessing didn’t last long.

Barack Obama - Class of 1979

And it makes me curious why he “evolved” so much on gay marriage but has actually escalated the war on pot. At the corespondents dinner this year he joked, “I remember when Buzzfeed was something I did in college around 2 AM,” which killed in the room, but perhaps not so funny to all the young lives ruined for doing the exact same thing he did back in Honolulu. A simple pot conviction can foreclose on opportunities to vote, get a job, go to college, or qualify for housing. How can our first black president, and our first pothead president, be aware of that, and just look the other way? If anyone can say “smoking pot won’t ruin your life,” it’s the guy who smoked bales of it and then became leader of the free world.

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