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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Proposition Eight Backlash:

I want to make it absolutely clear, as I have before on this blog, that I feel gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people should have the same rights and privileges afforded to all other people. That includes the same caveat I include for all others: As long as they harm none, and do not engage in incest or other criminally deviant manners that cause the harm of others, especially children. Examples of what I consider "criminally deviant" includes bestiality and some other acts that I am probably better off not knowing or even thinking about.

First, I saw a video on Yahoo that pointed me to a disturbingly new neo-McCarthyist reaction to the passage of Proposition 8 in California. The website is, and I find this deeply inappropriate on multiple levels. This is a nation of free speech and expression, and I find the actions of the creators of this website are engaging in the same type of hate-mongering for which Senator Joe McCarthy became infamous. Also, they are endangering the welfare and livelihoods of others why? Because they disagree with what they did and said? If they cannot understand the depth of the wrongness of what they did in creating this website, I don't know how to communicate it to them. This is a nation of laws, of reasoned debate, and of peaceful protest, but this goes well over that line into straight vigilantism, and that's wrong. That's damned wrong, and this should not go unchallenged in the courts. Furthermore, what if someone is on that list who did not contribute, or who has a name similar or identical to another individual on that list? Spreading the seeds of hate is WRONG, whether that individual be straight or gay, white or black, male or female, and that is PRECISELY what this website does by design and as a nature of its very existence.

Second, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) have taken an undue amount of criticism over this issue. This is a matter that is very close to my heart, given my background. First, let's look at the numbers: The Mormon church has just over 13 million adherents, more than half of whom live outside of Utah. Can I get a show of hands of who actually believes that 6,068,393 Mormons live in California AND agreed with the premise of Proposition 8? This is a church whose main ideological divide is between conservatives and libertarians, with a few liberals in the mix. Second, who honestly believes that, of those, a significant number were African-Americans, a demographic that supported the measure by a ratio of 2 to 1, were also Mormon or influenced by the ads? Look at the exit polling. What of the initiative in Arkansas that passed and denied homosexuals the right to adopt, this a Southern "Bible Belt" state? Or the anti-gay marriage initiative that passed with just over 60% of the vote in Florida or another one in Arizona? Why aren't Rosie O'Donut and Whoopi Goldberg protesting the black churches and Hispanic Catholic churches in California, who voted for the measure by as much as 70%? Why aren't they protesting the largest demographics of support for Proposition 8? Well, because they feel they can get away with it. The Southern Baptists and other conservative evangelicals, and conservative Catholics, who are every bit as culpable as a sect as the Mormons, don't care for Mormons all that much, and besides, they're too big a group to risk alienating. Also, the Mormon church has a clear hierarchy and one leader, like the Catholics. Ask a Southern Baptist to tell you who the leader of their faith is. They'll rant about "my pastor" while not knowing the answer, because there is none. Ask a Mormon to tell you who the leader of their faith is. We'll tell you Thomas S. Monson, and that his immediate predecessor was Gordon B. Hinckley. Some of us may know the entire list of them, going back to Joseph Smith, Jr. As for me, I know a few, but I would really need Wikipedia or the LDS website to read off the names.

Now that we know how and why the various responses have been inappropriate, the question is simple: Where do we go from here? Court challenges seem to be the appropriate response, and maybe some civil disobedience akin to what that San Francisco mayor did by marrying same-sex couples before the court case that briefly legalized gay marriage. Vigilantism and targeting those not nearly as responsible for the passage of Proposition 8 are not the answer.

The deeper cause of this problem is an idea that was first expressed in Plato's Republic, and later given additional form by Alexis de Tocqueville. I refer, of course, to the tyranny of the majority. As long as none are being harmed by the objectionable action/inherent nature of an individual, it is absolutely wrong for people to have the ability to vote on the basic civil rights of the minority. Imagine if the civil rights era had, instead of being decided in the courts, been placed before the vote of the several states in the South. Looking at the 1960 Census data, page 26 of that file, 20,491,443 Americans were non-white, and 158,831,732 Americans were white. If you strip away those under 24, since the voting age was not lowered to 18 until July 1, 1971, you have 9,849,260 non-white people of voting age and 89,667,738 white people of voting age, give or take, for a non-white percentage of just under 10% people of voting age. For the effects of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, decision, the Rosa Parks case, and any of a number of other instances too numerous to mention to have occurred, 100% of all non-white Americans and roughly 45% of white Americans would have had to vote for the ratification of what we now, rightfully, consider basic human rights, and we would have been stuck with a hodgepodge of laws varying by state. I would not want to accuse 45% of all white Americans in 1960 of racism, but I am as aware as you are of the power of the status quo. People usually don't like change, even when it's good for them. If I were a betting person, I would not have liked the chances of 45% of people voting in favor of the greater good.

Frankly, I'm appalled that the African-American community, by and large, choose not to see that others are facing the same problems that their ancestors or they themselves have faced over the years. One would think that they, above all, should have a special sympathy for them, instead of voting against others' rights by a 2 to 1 margin. This is wrong, and moreover, they above all others should KNOW it's wrong. I'm not blaming the passage of Proposition 8 on any one group, but if it's good for Whoopi to make an ass out of herself in public by making sweeping generalizations about a large group of people, the least I can do is improve on her tainted example by at least acknowledging that not all members of another group are culpable.

This song isn't quite related to this topic, but it's close enough for my purposes. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Mel Gibson Braveheart

The above image is for use as a parody, knowing Mel Gibson's rabid anti-Semitism and other less than pleasant personality traits. Still, the image of William Wallace refusing to bow to the English crown is indelible.

Intellectually, I knew yesterday would turn out roughly the way it actually turned out. However, try telling my heart that. I was on pins and needles, and though I succumbed to the need for sleep for a while, I was awake when NBC called the election for President-elect Obama. I will forever be grateful that I was awake to see that.

As I watched McCain's concession speech, I must admit that the petty part of me enjoyed watching him accept his defeat far more than was healthy or mature. Still, he did so with something he showed precious little of during his campaign, especially during the last several months: Dignity, graciousness, and honor. I congratulate McCain on showing us the person he has proven capable of pretending to be.

For President-elect Obama, watching his victory speech, my eyes watered up, and once again, I saw the man whose ideas and ability I quickly learned to love almost a year ago. I saw the graciousness in his victory and the vision he set out for our future. I saw and heard the determination he had to set things right in this nation, and his honesty about its difficulty and what would be necessary to bring it about. As I reviewed his record in the Senate, I also saw his dedication to the highest principles upon which our nation was founded and to the right of due process, regardless of the race of the accused. Last night, I saw a great man giving a great speech and being very frank about the great challenges that lie ahead. I can say with the fullness of my heart that I have never been prouder of our great nation than I was last night and will be in the days and months to come. Congratulations, Mr. President-elect. May your days be blessed, your troubles few, your health as strong as your character, and your wisdom and courage indomitable. As a child, I pledged allegiance to America, and I'm glad to see her heart was not dead. It was merely sleeping, and now that America is awake, I cannot help feeling that great things are coming.

In closing, I'm including a music video that pretty well expresses my joy at the outcome of yesterday's presidential election. Just try to listen to this and not dance a little bit in your chair. I dare ya. :)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Final prediction: Election 2008

With less than two hours until the first polls open, I'm in the mood for a little bit of prognosticating. Of course, I could be full of shit, but what else is new? :P

I think I'll go with a conservative estimate and pick Obama 349, McCain 189. I predict the following states will break for Obama: Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and for my upset special, North Carolina.

From this blogger's chair, the greatest potential for an upset in McCain's favor is probably Colorado at 9 electoral votes, but if this happens, I will be very surprised.

In the Senate race, I predict a 58 seat majority for the Democrats. The seat I most want to see gone is Chambliss of Georgia. The "man" is an absolute disgrace and one of the least honorable men to serve in the Senate in more than a generation.

Finally, I predict a huge Democratic Party majority in the House. I would prefer to see a different Speaker of the House, but I'll take what I can get, and that's a blue tide.

To those who believe in a higher power, now is probably a good time to pray for Senator Obama and Senator Biden's victory. For those who do not, hope is a very powerful thing, especially when it inspires the action necessary to fix the problems that ail us. Get out tomorrow, vote, and enjoy an adult beverage. :)

Enjoy this mashup of classics.