Friday, November 7, 2008

Some Final Thoughts on Prop 8

I've spent way too much time today reading through various progressive blogs gauging the reaction to the passage of Proposition 8, and the postmortem that is developing leaves me cold. My thoughts:

Blacks are not to blame for Prop 8 passing: It's disturbing that 70% of African-Americans would vote Yes on 8, while whites and Hispanics averaged out to around 50-55%. This does not change the fact that the vast majority of voters who voted for 8 were the same majority of voters who vote in anything in California: whites. It would be just as easy (and equally fruitless) to blame the over-65 voters for the proposition. This sentiment that it was the blacks that sold out the gays in California seems based more on hurt feelings over the huge positive outcry forthe Obama win in the midst of the hurt over Prop 8 passing. I can understand that sentiment, but it serves no purpose.

Mormons and their out-of-state money are not to blame for Prop 8 passing: The Mormon money that poured into California from Utah was sickening, not simply because the church has a long history of institutionalized bigotry against minorities but also due to their own history of discrimination based on "traditional marriage". Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the No on 8 group had more money in its coffers than Yes on 8, and more of that money came from out-of-state as well. To claim that it was Utah that caused Prop 8 is simply hypocritical.

Californians are to blame for Prop 8 passing: Prop 8 ultimately had majority support (albeit marginal) among a wide variety of ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. Claiming it was Blacks or Mormons or some other small portion of the state population is both ill-reasoned and serves no purpose in future action for gay rights. We needed a widespread, grassroots movement, backed by solid canvassing action at the field level to sway undecided voters, rather than fruitless visibility efforts in solidly liberal areas and wasting gobs of money on television commercials that never defined the issue in anything other than a reactive manner. We had the volunteers, we had the money, we simply lacked the leadership.

And ultimately, it was that lack of leadership that resulted in failing to get out the vote, to making certain that progressive voters understand the magnitude of the proposition and remained at the polls even when Obama's victory was certain. Only 49% of San Francisco came out to vote on Tuesday, which is simply inexcusable when the No on 8 leadership was already myopically focusing on GOTV efforts in liberal bastions like SF. If their best effort at GOTV garners only 49% of voters in San Francisco County, then something really stinks at the top of this movement.

No comments: