Democratic Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich reminds me of that kid who ran for class president on a platform of painting the school and buying a new projector, while other kids were promising longer recess and candy machines. He has passion and a geeky charm, which he brought to Seattle's Hempfest on Saturday.
Kucinich was there supporting the cause of marijuana legalization, either because he's a pothead, or more likely, because Democratic State Rep. Roger Goodman of Washington, a longtime proponent of legalization, was speaking at Hempfest also, and may be an opponent of Kucinich's very soon. Kucinich may lose his congressional district to Ohio's redistricting plan next month, and is contemplating a run in Washington's first or tenth district, after that state gained a seat in their redistricting process.
Reading from his Blackberry, Kucinich tried to pump up the crowd as he compared marijuana legalization efforts in the U.S. to the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as to suffragettes and civil-rights activists. He exclaimed:
"This is how Gandhi's march to the sea cast off the British Empire. This is how America's suffragettes gained for women the right to vote. This is how Dr. Martin Luther King's March on Washington became a pivotal moment in the civil-rights history of this country."
Kucinich also quoted from George Bernard Shaw, advocated "hospitalization, not incarceration" for substance abusers, and said Seattle had "shook the world," as if the city were Muhammad Ali. He spoke about the wars, abortion rights, the Patriot Act, and environmental regulation. Surprisingly, he didn't mention the recent sequencing of the marijuana genome and its potential medical benefits.