One could write an entire book just ABOUT Michelle Alexander’s devastating treatise THE NEW JIM CROW. Pulling just a small moment of brilliance, though, I marked a passage that set off in my mind a moment of “the wings of the butterfly” adage, that saying that the smallest transactional movement in one part of the world can set off a storm on the other side of the planet.

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So, on page 160, Alexander writes about a man named Drake who was convicted of a marijuana-related felony: “Drake’s vote, along with the votes of millions of other people labeled felons, might have made a real difference in 2004. There is no doubt their votes would have changed things in 2000. Following the election, it was widely reported that, had the 600,000 former felons who had completed their sentence in Florida been allowed to vote, Al Gore would have been elected president of the United States rather than George W. Bush.”

So, by criminalizing marijuana and disenfranchising more than half a million voters, we get a different President. Imagine if marijuana convicts had NOT lost the right to vote in Florida: we get Gore as Pres, and maybe no war in Iraq, maybe no ISIS, no Syrian Civil War, no refugee crisis, no destabilized EU, no Brexit, etc etc etc, and,well, let your imagination run wild with the way things might have been different 16 years ago if those voters had been allowed their constitutional right.

PLAYA DEL REY, CA - OCTOBER 20: Author and activist Michelle Alexander attends Michelle Alexander VIP Reception And Justice On Trial Film Festival at Loyola Marymount University on October 20, 2013 in Playa del Rey, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/WireImage)
PLAYA DEL REY, CA – OCTOBER 20: Author and activist Michelle Alexander attends Michelle Alexander VIP Reception And Justice On Trial Film Festival at Loyola Marymount University on October 20, 2013 in Playa del Rey, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/WireImage)

If you haven’t, please read THE NEW JIM CROW so we’re all on the same page about protecting our constitutional rights as citizens. At least we’re partly headed in the right direction with the decriminalization of marijuana and reversing the racially-driven policies of the past fifty years (or longer).