Monday, November 17, 2008

is California the new Ohio... Florida... ?

Like many, I was shocked by the results of the latest election, first for the overwhelming victory of Barack Obama over John McCain, and secondly that Prop. 8 actually passed in California.

Thankfully, law suits have already been filed and protesters are already raising hell, because let's face it. This is a civil rights issue. How it got on the ballot in the first place (thanks to leaders of the Mormon and Catholic faiths, woohoo!) is appalling.

Don't we know by now that those who want to lead a married life should be allowed to do so in the pursuit of happiness? And the Yes on 8's position of "protecting" the "sacred" union between a man and a woman is pure hogwash considering the divorce rate and such stellar examples of heterosexual marriages in today's society like those of Britney Spears.

So now there is wind that California's election was corrupt, given that the computerized voting machines are largely owned by members of the Christian far right.

Then do we really know for sure if Prop 8 passed? Many exit polls show that it would have been defeated. Even though I live in an SF bubble, it still shocked me that the majority of Californians could be so discriminatory.

So the fight begins again. Above is a soon-to-be released poster from Shepherd Fairley that I hope will appear in as many windows as his Obama Hope.

Love Unites.


Hereward said...

Even I, yes, I, went to City Hall on Saturday. That bad taste in my mouth I woke up to on Wednesday the Fifth, especially after my joy on the night before, is still there and still irritating the heck out of me.

Hereward said...

Also, some small bits of good news, here.

KT said...

YAY!!! I'm so proud of you for protesting and raising hell!!!

Thanks for spreading the good news!

Hereward said...

It was actually pretty fun. There was mostly a good vibe but, Man was it hot!

thelonelytrader said...

Frankly I'm not surprised at all at the election result and the prop 8 result. Honestly, is anyone here surprised? And despite the efforts of the religious right, and of the Church of LDS, the lines along which prop 8 was passed were largely ethnic -- you know, the same demographics that overwhelmingly elected a man with an African father and an American mother -- who we all call a "black man". Demographically, most people who voted against prop 8 -- an overwhelming majority, in fact -- were "white". And there was a statistically significant number of Republicans in that mix as well -- many of whom voted for McCain. (Though I do not at all say that a majority of Republicans voted against. The Republican Party is still the Party of Bigots.)

"Blacks" and "Latinos" voted overwhelmingly in favor of Prop 8. Apparently they don't see the irony. And many Americans don't discuss the fact that we are all prone to bigoted thinking because in the country it is politically unfashionable to make equivocations between whites, blacks, and other ethnic groups when. For obvious reasons. So, out of sight, out of mind, right? For many people, this is justification enough to leave that terrain unexplored. Or perhaps it is more about inertia...I dunno. And of course we as Americans, and particularly "whites", will continue to view this nation through the same old ethno-centric lenses, perpetuating demographic myths about political tendencies of select groups and thus assuming too much from select demographic groups in the great political debates playing out. For example, we are now primarily a nation of immigrants that is generationally disconnected from the history of slavery. And yet many whites in this country who are second, third, or fourth generation Americans carry the burden of that repugnant episode in our history. And many "minorities" expect them to.

But back to myths: We often make the logical leap that a group that has historically been oppressed will be less inclined to oppress others. Nothing could be further from the truth -- at least, not from a historical perspective. That is to say, more "liberal white people" often think that "black people" will identify with those who have struggled and so be more tolerant. Like gay people. Like Jewish people. Same for Latinos. Same for Asians. Yet, the statistics do not bear this out. In fact, these groups are actually less tolerant than the preponderance of "whites" in tihs country -- who have been super-sensitized to the underbelly of US history. I know I speak social heresy here. But the numbers do not lie. And we assume that because racism still exists in our institutions -- I am personally of the opinion that we confuse racism with bigotry in our country far too often -- that the majority of "whites" are themselves racist. In fact, it is a tiny minority of whites who are racist. (Recalling that racism and bigotry are different.) I suspect the proportions are no different from other ethnic groups in this country -- as defined by the census bureau. And if my experiences abroad are anything to go by, Americans are remarkably tolerant. (Another subject for another time, perhaps.) I personally think the word "ethnic" is also problematic in the political, social and cultural narrative of this country. I think that it has been appropriated by academic nutjobs and propagated by self-serving egoists masquerading as social reformers. But I am forced to use that damn term...I digress.

So, I'm not surprised at all at teh result. Disappointed, yes. And a bit disillusioned, which can be a good thing. But not surprised.

/end rant

KT said...

OK, give me some facts to back up what you're saying, LT.

KT said...

P.S. I actually now think it's a good thing that Prop. 8 was passed because more people are talking about this issue and raising hell like Hereward has been doing than ever before, and if the case goes to the high courts, as it should, its precedent is Brown v. Board of Education, so the ruling should be in favor of civil rights.

thelonelytrader said...

which facts do you want? that higher proportions of african and latino americans voted in favor than was seen in the "european american" demographic? or that americans are no less racist than the rest of the world? or was it something else?

and i hope you know i voted against...only trying to point out the irony of the voting patterns.


KT said...

Yes, all of the above, but mostly in relation to Prop 8. Because I think it was fixed.

Hereward said...

I'm inclined to think two salient things after this election result: Given that Prop 22 passed in 2000 61.4% to 38.6% and Prop 8 won 52% to 48%, the most telling thing in a year of exceptional turnout, especially among Latinos and Blacks, isn't that they voted for Prop 8, it's that it won with such a slender majority. The real core of support for it wasn't really new voters of color but people over 65. The other thing and one which I find unconscionable is that opponents didn't bother liaising with many churches because 'they wouldn't listen to us anyhow'. Whatever your personal religious attitudes towards marriage (hello, divorcés remarrying!), enshrining discrimination in the California constitition is something that many people, even deeply pious people, could understand is not something to be put into the fundamental law of the State.

KT said...

"enshrining discrimination in the California constitition is something that many people, even deeply pious people, could understand is not something to be put into the fundamental law of the State."

Well said!!!

Side note, my African-American coworker said yesterday that her pastor on Sunday changed his tune to being anti-Prop. 8 and his message was notably pro-gay rights.

Change is gonna come!