Thursday, October 30, 2008

Time for Every Purpose

I was going to write about why I think Barack Obama hasn't come out strongly to denounce Prop 8 but got sidetracked by pumpkin carving. Yet now that I'm here, I can't seem to stop myself. Pumpkins next.

The reason Bush kept winning wasn't so much that he ran a persuasive campaign, although he did. (And he persuaded me that he was dangerous.) It was that he ran a campaign against 2 guys who looked wooden in public and couldn't get people to rally behind them. And in conjunction, the GOP got a bunch of state level activists to propose anti-gay and/or anti-woman measures on the ballot which are known to draw out people who vote Republican. It gets them fired up and out the door and into the voting booth like nothing else. When you have two candidates who no one is really excited about, you encourage the voters you want by needling them about their pet ancillary issues. When are only 2 parties capable of winning, it's pretty easy to polarize them and the GOP will not give up on bullying people out of their rights - even now.

In Obama's case, a vast number of people think he's the cat's meow. But he's black and that is a serious handicap. The rest of the world, were they voting, would almost unanimously elect Obama over McCain [economist readers responded]. The reasons I see that it's even a close election now and not a wipeout is because Obama's black and therefore scary and because there are people who will never, ever vote for someone who might allow that a woman has the right to protect her own body from unwanted harm and the GOP is careful to keep them on their side. A lot of people have seen how the last 8 years have sent our lives and reputations spiraling downward and are willing to overlook the color thing. A few are even willing to overlook the women's rights thing. But they absolutely cannot stand to see gay people have equal rights. And while this saddens me, it's a fact of living in America.

Election strategies that ignore the reality of living in America will not do well. With the handicap of being black in America, Obama really cannot afford to come out and say "I love the gays". He has included 'gay and straight' in his public definitions of American people. He has quietly said he will support NO on prop 8. But if he were to make a big stink about Prop 8, I think the GOP would polarize on it and finally, finally, get their people out to vote. There are too many states where it's too close to call. Is it worth winning this battle to lose the war? I think not. Not at this time.

And here's why. If McCain wins, gay rights and women's rights go into the toilet, spearheaded by a man who is erratic and a woman who has a disdain for education and a lack of curiosity about opposing viewpoints. Whereas if Obama becomes president, he has shown that he will listen to and respect other viewpoints. He may not agree, he may not champion your cause, but you will get a hearing. And he does believe in civil rights. McCain no longer appears to. So if Obama makes a big statement NOW about civil rights for gays in "liberal CA", he will likely not get a chance to do so later throughout the rest of the country. I understand this. It is a strategic play that I wish he didn't have to make. But the choice isn't between the vocal gay-rights supporter or Obama or McCain. It's between Obama and McCain and McCain as the alternative is not tolerable to me.

Yes, I'm once again considering my plan to move to neutral Switzerland. I didn't execute on this in '88 or '00 due to lack of funds, but I did want to. I suspect the condo and job will keep me in place regardless, but damn. I just cannot go there in my mind. We must elect Obama, and I hope hope hope that prop 8 goes down in flames, even without his full bodied denouncement .


azteclady said...

I'll go one better.

With Obama in the White House, the next appointed Justices will NOT be died in the wool reactionary conservatives who will strip even more civil rights from the citizenry.

The US cannot afford a Supreme Court shifting even more to the right--and THAT would be just what would happened if McCain/Palin got elected.

Colin Powell, my favorite Republican, lists THAT as one of the reasons he's voting democratic this time around. Would that more people listened to his message!

Amy in sunny CA said...

Be happy you live where you do . . . at least there is a "hint" of No on 8 suppport.

You should see my city . . . it is PAPERED in yellow - my eyes are pretty much bleeding every time we drive down the street!

On a happy note, I explained to my oldest about Prop. 8 and his response was "so mom, who cares who I marry?!?"

Then to add to the political discussion, my other kiddies jumped in. So I explained it on their level - "Just because I married a man (your dad) . . .you(I pointed to my daughter) when you get older may want to marry a man or a woman and (I pointed to another son) you can marry a man or a woman also - as long as you really LOVE them." Then I pointed to my youngest son and said "you however, I draw the line at you marrying a turtle!!".

I needed to get the laughs in to lighted the mood!


Open a bottle of wine and enjoy Tuesday!

CrankyOtter said...

I love you guys. Seriously.

Janet Webb said...

Hey, not to be the skunk at the party but people/justices can be very much their own man/woman! Think of Justice David Souter -- huh -- like he wasn't a BIG whoa to President Bush :)

Same with some other court appointees ... it's great (in a good but scary way) that they are there for life -- that can be the most liberating thing imaginable ...