We were talking quite some time ago at college about how gay marriage had been legal in Massachusetts for a few years. Despite all the hubbub about it being the end of the world–or the greatest thing since sliced bread–we came to the conclusion that it was a complete non-issue. None of us knew anyone who knew anyone who had ever been to a gay wedding, and even my conservative peers came to not care in the slightest that same-sex couples could get married. It’s gone on for years, and the impact to conservatives who felt threatened turned out to be nil.
And then I remembered that Massachusetts had decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Like gay marriage, it drew a lot of criticism, and had many panicked that the sky was falling. About four months (I think?) later, absolutely nothing has happened as a result. It’s had zero impact on my life or those I know. Massachusetts doesn’t suddenly have a drug catastrophe.
I wonder what else would turn out that way. Drivers licenses for illegal immigrants? (It’s no secret they drive; I’d much rather that they had to follow the same rules I did to get my license.) Loosening up gun laws on non-criminals? (Gotta get both sides in there! I do think Boston and New Hampshire are very different, but I live in a state with incredibly lax gun laws and would be hard-pressed to think of a single gun crime.)
Though I think there’s an interesting lesson in this. For all the political apathy we’re accused of, it seems that there’s an awful lot of Chicken Little FUD (on both sides) about things that turn out to be non-issues to most of us.