Retrofitting a Legacy, Pt. 2 – The Marijuana Obstacle

Retrofitting a Legacy, Pt. 2 – The Marijuana Obstacle

Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed; the final fatal role of the would-be black man…” – Barack Obama

In the previous post, Retrofitting a Legacy, examples were given of outgoing President Obama’s attempts to appeal to millennials. The White House is targeting millenials through memes and media outlets such as Vice to deliver the message of a ‘cool’ presidency that was. A presidency that saw an actual fulfillment of the ‘hope and change’ that was promised to the hazy, dewy-eyed faces of millennials.

marijuana-favorability-poll-numbersBarack Obama smoked weed into his early adulthood, much like that of millennials today. In fact, according to Pew Research, “Millennials – those ages 18 to 35 in 2016 – are more than twice as likely to support legalization of marijuana as they were in 2006 (71% today, up from 34% in 2006), and are significantly more likely to support legalization than other generations.”President Obama knows this information. As witnessed in the picture above, as well as what was written by his very own, sticky icky fingers, Barry Obama was a giant pothead. Instant credibility with the majority of millennials… he’s just like us!

There’s just one problem, if he’s been president for 8 years, why is marijuana still illegal to smoke in the vast majority of states? How come young adults are still seeing massive incarceration rates for non-violent drug offenses? Wouldn’t this president, one who has long indulged in the exact same recreation, yearn for the day when he could finally do something about it? At least, if for nothing else, he’d want to evade the glaringly massive hypocrisy of partaking in an illegal activity for years and then forbiding others from doing the same. An activity so illegal, that, had he been arrested for it, it would have hindered him from becoming president in the first place. Surely, this president would do anything in his power to change this law…

In a recent Rolling Stone article from Nov. 29, 2016, President Barack Obama said the following when asked about legalizing marijuana, “But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it. Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict but are done either legislatively or through the DEA.” 

obama-smoking-weed-jointOk, Obama definitely just passed the buck off to the DEA or congress. So, if only they can reclassify marijuana away from it’s current Schedule I Controlled Substances Act classification, then who appoints the chief of the DEA? The president does. If Barack Obama desired that marijuana be reclassified, he could have selected someone who shares his views to head the DEA. But he didn’t. Better still, Obama consciously chose against it.

Even though he decided not to pursue marjiuana classification, can we really hold Obama solely accountable for all the non-violent drug offenders’ sentences  being carried out during his presidency? Yes, actually we can.

ron-paul-speaks-to-about-pardoning-non-violent-drug-offendersDuring his 2012 presidential run, then Congressman, Ron Paul, weighed in on how, constitutionally, as president, he would handle this very situation. Adam Kokesh of RT asked, “So are you saying that you would pardon all non-violent [drug] offenders?” Ron Paul responded, “If somebody is in prison, for non-violence drug uses, never committed a hard crime, yes. They should be pardoned, and they should be let out.

President Barack Obama has this very power right now. But instead of delivering Americans, in particular the youth, a solid appointment of someone empathetic to the legalization of marijuana, and unshackeling millions of downtroddened Americans through a presidential pardon, Obama has remained cowardice and done neither.

But don’t be disillusioned, he won’t remain silent on the issue. We will continue to see retrofitting strategies, much like the excuses in the Rolling Stone article, implemented on millennials to view these failures as ‘simply insurmountable obstacles’ that are out of the scoop of president, and his cowardice and hypocrisy will be framed as an ever-championing, step-by-step progression towards justice.

Retrofitting a Legacy

Retrofitting a Legacy

Looking at the Obama Administration objectively, what would you say are his accomplishments?

The obvious one that comes to mind is Obamacare. How did that work? Let’s just say, with insurance premiums skyrocketing, this nauseating, often tearful, cornerstone of his legacy is not drawing anticipation of an erected statue in his homage.

Ok, what else? Pundits have mentioned the killing of Osama Bin Laden as a crowning achievement. But does a Nobel Peace Price recipient deem a murder to be a proud staple of his legacy? He shouldn’t. What’s left? A somewhat anemic economy surviving off of life saving, low interest rates, bailouts, and a $10 trillion additional debt. That’s not exactly a robust advancement that will leave a favorable impression with the American people long after he leaves the White House.  What about race relations? Obama was championed as our first, post-racial president who has come to heal a divided nation. How did that turn out? Well, the “Washington Post-ABC News poll found a 55 percent majority saying Obama had done more to divide the country than bring it together.

But Barack Obama instilled an expectation of hope and change on his way in the door. The branding of these terms will always be synomous with Obama. When people quickly scan their minds for evidence of the accomplishment of these promises, they will come up empty. What then? Either an extreme form of cognitive dissonance will set in or the individual will realize Barack Obama’s presidency was a failure.

What can a lame duck president do to assuage this massive disparity between hope and change and what was actually delivered? Retrofit his brand. img_5604

The White House has embarked on a subtle marketing campaign targeting the perception of millennials. Hitting the social media networks like a shattering earthquake, Obama and Biden memes can be seen and felt reverberating ceaselessly for few weeks now. The obvious draw for the adminatration is the associative property of humor linked with the outgoing president and vice president. An association that was not there for you when you saw insurance premiums jump, but one that the president hopes will linger in your mind when you reflect on his presidency.

Millennials love memes. They are incredibly eye catching, and easy to absorb with very little time investment. Plus many are hilarious.

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The White House has taken a direct play out of the freshly enacted and extremely successful Donald Trump playbook. As it stands, the WH and the left branch of the establishment have already lost The Great Meme War. Oh yeah, it’s a thing. And Trump has vanquished his enemy by allowing the humor and the organic ingenuity of the internet fight his battles and create an image for him tailored towards millennials. But the Obama administration just now seems to be showing up to the fight with their synthetic attempts.

In addition to memes, Barack Obama has sat down for a soon to air one-on-one with the CEO of Vice, Shane Smith, for a Special Report: A House Divided (HBO). In it, the president and many other top, elected government officials elaborate on their perspective as to why there is some grid lock in Washington. I insert the word ‘some’ here because, although these politicians would try to convince you otherwise, there is far too much bipartisanship in key areas that are destroying the country, war and debt to name a couple.

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The goal of this Vice interview is to associate the Obama presidency as not a failed application of hope and change for America, but instead, that of an amiable, in touch president who tirelessly strove to achieve greatness for our country only to be thwarted by a solely fringe, right-wing opposition in Congress. It’s no accident that Vice was given this in-depth interview. Vice caters to millennials, which is a key demographic that elected Obama and one that will be voting for many decades to come.

These efforts are only the beginning of the next 60 day push to repurpose, dust off, and add to a branding image that elected Obama into the White House. Keep an eye out for them; a well distinguished legacy is imperative for a president  and the future of his ideology.