One wonders how I could let nearly two weeks go by after this election without blogging a peep. I have no good answer. Partly it was a matter of letting things sink in, listening to and reading about the reactions of others, stewing a bit over Proposition 8 (we live in the one Bay Area county that voted FOR a rights-stripping constitutional amendment)… And dealing with some work and school chaos at the same time. But let’s get back on track.
Obviously, I couldn’t be happier about the resounding Obama win (largest share of the popular vote of any Democrat since LBJ), the big Congressional gains (and yet without missing a beat, uber-conservatives say – with a straight face – the Right lost the election because they weren’t conservative enough), and the passage of Proposition 2 in California.
And things are looking up already: the Obama team has set up a transition-tracking web site, put the weekly “radio” address on YouTube, compiled a hit list of Bush’s Executive Orders and regulations to overturn, and are prepared to freeze anything Bush tries to ram through in his final two months.
As for California’s Proposition 8… I was prepared, but no less saddened. On the morning of the election, I was sitting on the Baylink bus, reading my book and awaiting departure, when an off-duty bus driver boarded and jovially greeted the driver. “Gonna go make some history!” he said. Then, as he sat down one row behind me and across the aisle, he added (calling up to the driver), “Gotta go do something about this Prop 8. If it don’t pass, California’s gonna burn this year! You know? God don’t like ugly! You know? That’s why we’re having all these fires!” It was a stinging reminder that, for all the history-making elements of this election, for all the ways it unified and inspired, and for what it shows the world about the American people… we still have a long, long way to go… And that the theology of Divine Retribution is alive and well in California.
But there were some unusual forces at work here, too. Mormon money and activists were pouring into the state (we’re only just beginning to get a measure of just how much Mormon meddling – some of it potentially illegal – went on), and the opposition didn’t take it seriously enough soon enough. The high turnout of more religiously conservative African-American and Hispanic voters was expected to be a deciding factor, and it was. I overheard an African-American coworker suggesting that gays and lesbians should have gone to black churches and talked with pastors and parishioners about how this proposition impacts gay and lesbian lives and families. It was an interesting suggestion; I wonder if it would have accomplished anything? I’m of mixed mind about the efficacy of nationwide protests in this case, but I love the “day without a gay” idea. And how amusing is this? The Prop 8 bigots were quick to use blacklisting and boycotting as a campaign tactic when it suited them. Now that opponents to Prop 8 are adopting some of the tactics (boycotting, demonstrating) used by “Yes on 8” — which publicized the names of “No on 8” business donors found on a publicly available database and threatened boycotts (actually, Schubert et al stepped it up a notch and demanded equal donations to the Yes on 8 campaign… aka, extortion?) — Mr. Schubert takes umbrage. “They have no right to boycott”?! Was that right stripped by the amendment, too, so that only wingnut heterosexual marriage champions like Tony Perkins and James Dobson can boycott?