Eight weeks out

My other day job (besides running around after the kiddles) will be heating up over the coming month or so, and as a result, posting here is likely to be lighter than I’d prefer. Truth is, until I rig things somehow so that this blog stuff pays me more than it costs me – that is, fiscally; it’s already priceless to me, emotionally and intellectually – from time to time, I have to pay more attention to my paying gigs.

Of course, the last time I went on a work-induced, month-long prose diet I had a very hard time keeping to it. I posted pictures daily, but some of the captions to the pictures kind of streeeeeeeetched the distinction between “caption” and “post.” Really, the whole exercise just proved to me yet again that loquaciousness is congenital: it can’t be cured; one can only just learn to live with it.

(It also proved to me that I can never Twitter. I did squat my name over there, and I do from time to time squander precious minutes pondering how I might be able to mend my ways, finally, and actually become brief. Okay, briefer. Ha! But I digress! Ha! See? I’m doomed! This right here? Nearly double the 140-character Tweet allotment!)

As is my custom when the discretionary writing time dries up, I’ll try to post pictures at least (can anyone besides the grandparents actually tolerate that many pictures of my dang kids? we’ll find out!). But there’ll be more than a mountain of kid pix to keep you engaged here at Casa LD. The observant among you may already have noticed that I’ve set up a little “One-stop Election Obsession Corner” in the sidebar over there to the right, too. No, down a bit. Yeah, there. [Later note: revised, after the election, to a Prop 8 & News links section]

I’ll be putting a quotation from some illuminating recent article (illuminating to me, at least) in the “Featured election/news analysis” section, along with a few more links.  Each of these I’ll freshen up every coupla days at most. Since I sure as heck will be sponging up as much ongoing election news as I can, regardless of how busy the work life gets. If all goes well, I’ll also be spending more away-from-the-blog time actually phone banking or otherwise on the stump for the Obama and the No on 8 campaigns.

Because never in the seven national elections in which I’ve voted have I felt more (a) concerned about the fate of the nation and the world, and the degree to which a US administration could influence it, and (b) excited that a nominee from the party I’ve voted in (oftentimes with plugged nose) is actually capable of understanding those concerns and addressing them intelligently.*

Likewise, never has an issue been up for vote in California that would more directly, more viscerally, more powerfully influence my everyday life. I have been a passionate opponent of various other bigoted state propositions in the past: anti-Affirmative Action, anti-immigrant, anti-young people of color, anti-gay marriage.  Goddess knows California produces them nearly as prolifically as it does reality TV shows.  But this one’s personal in a different way than these past battles have been.

The last time a bigoted, heterosexist anti-gay people ballot initiative came out, I wasn’t legally married. And why am I legally married? Well, (a) thanks to the very hard work of a great many other people, plus the symphonic combination of wisdom and courage shown by the California Supreme Court, it’s finally possible, and (b) I have two children who materially and emotionally benefit from my partnership’s equal stance, relative to those of my heterosexual neighbors, that’s why. Period.

And, as if on cue, those who traffic in fear and loathing surfaced — one last time, in this state, at the level of a state proposition — to try to muddy and obscure the clear vision of the courts.  The last time one of these repugnant, sure-to-be-shameful-in-twenty-years initiatives came around, Lisa Marie Pond hadn’t died yet in a Miami emergency room, her partner of 18 years and her three kids kept at bay from her for hours and hours in a waiting room by a homophobic hospital staffer because they were not legally recognized as her immediate family.

Yes, that was a Florida waiting room, not a California one. They have their Measure 2 to defeat this fall. But everyone with half a brain who looks at this battle agrees: California’s defeat of Proposition 8 will spell the beginning of the end for the anti-gay marriage movement, nation-wide. Most populous state; most respected state supreme court; national trend-setter, for better and for worse. Marriage may be the immediate short-term issue, but fear and hatred of gay people is the lightening rod; movement toward more broad civil rights protections is the ultimate end. That’s one reason my stakes in the outcome of this battle are different this time.  That, and this: Lisa Marie Pond was from Washington state, around about two days’ drive from where I sit right now. They were just a family on vacation.

No matter how frequently or infrequently I post in the upcoming month or so, every Tuesday before the election I will publish something or other that might be used in service of the campaign against Proposition 8 (and every other anti-marriage equality ballot initiative). Since in California, our anti-gay ballot initiative is number eight, eight weeks from election day seemed an auspicious point at which to start.

I expect that most of you readers here are kindred spirits, so it’s not like I think I’m going to change your minds with anything I post here.  Also, my guess is that most live outside the various states facing marriage equality battles this fall: Arizona, Arkansas, California, and Florida. (NCLR page on them here.) *[Added later the same day: Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin published a piece today, Why Each State is Important, clarifying the stakes in each of the anti-gay marriage battles this fall.]

But for all of you in these anti-gay ballot initiative states, I hope to provide some useful information or personalizing stories you could forward to friends who may be undecided. Or who have friends or coworkers or family who are. And for those outside these states, I hope you might be able to forward something of use to anyone you know living inside these states. And for all of us, wherever we are, I want to remind us weekly that we can continue to support the opposition to the marriage ban by giving generously to the No on 8 campaign, which can only be as strong as its resources are.

Do it for yourself and for your sisters and brothers, if you’re queer. Do it for all your LGBT friends and family members, if you’re straight. Do it for Lisa Marie Pond’s surviving partner and kids, and the next such partner and kids, the next time such a thing happens. Which it will. Unless enough of us do the right thing, right now.

* Even as I continue to be gravely disappointed in his public stance on gay civil rights: in the wake of the Black civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, during which the federal government had to be repeatedly called upon to intercede in state-sanctioned violence against peaceable anti-segregationists, no principled leader could cede fundamental human rights issues to states, as he has done. At least he opposes federal and state constitutional marriage amendments.

6 thoughts on “Eight weeks out”

  1. Woo HOOO! I am very excited to read your post. Very excited you’re going to be working on the campaigns — they need you! I worked at the SF Chronicle until July 2007 and was forbidden to work on political campaigns — Hearst Corp came down on employees who participated in the protests against the Iraq War. It was shocking beyond belief to be told I couldn’t have a public opinion. Anyhoo …. that’s over and I am very excited to be available to work on the No on 8 campaign. My faerie queen wife and I have a 17-month-old daughter (a California native poppy) and I am so hopeful we can get this queer marriage issue settled here. The GOP ticket is stoking the fires for me (love the Steinem piece) and I find myself evolving into an Obama Mama. Si se puede!

    p.s. re: GOP double-speak (McCain/Palin are the mavericks?!), where in the world is George Orwell when you need him???

    p.p.s. photos of your bairns are a delight, even for non-family

  2. Encouraging clap on the back much appreciated! Back atcha.

    I’d be tempted to say that you wouldn’t find G. Orwell in the Wasilla Library (d’oh!), but reports of the sweep of the shelves were greatly exaggerated. As is probably well-known by now, reports of her pressing the Wasilla librarian on the matter of pulling books “should the need arise,” however, and later firing her after the librarian stood her ground (rehiring her after hue and cry followed the firing), were not.

    [Anchorage Daily News, “Palin pressured Wasilla librarian,” 4 Sept., 2008.]

  3. A question from a political outsider to the US (and a blatant distractionary attempt to keep you from focussing on work and not us, your deserving readership): one of the most interesting things for me has been reading the diverse lesbian take on Obama v. Clinton, and the various merits and demerits. What, given Obama’s disappointing take on equal rights as they apply to LGBTQ folks, makes him tip the balance for you as the Democratic candidate? (I guess that’s assuming he did to begin with, and is not your second or third choice for Democratic presidential candidate.)

  4. I’m never one to pass up the opportunity to flap the gums, even if it’s something about which I feel partially, but not entirely schooled up on. For me, it was a painful thing to see a woman’s name on the primary ballot and watch myself passing it up to bubble in the man’s name. Wasn’t easy.

    The main thing that got me was how many previously disenfranchised people Obama’s candidacy had brought back into the franchise. That has been huge. Really big. While Clinton’s candidacy has been thrilling to see, I’m not so sure that a ton of NEW voters are streaming into the voting process.

    That, and while he shared many of Clinton’s positions on policy issues important to me, he was in greater opposition to the Iraq war, earlier. (Here’s a January piece in The Nation by Robert Scheer on that issue, “Obama, Clinton, and the War.”)

    The last thing is an interesting matter of identity politics. I was a youngster, freshman in college when Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court. I was all exhuberant and excited, and my Chicano Studies class took up the topic in discussion section. The graduate teaching assistant (now a prof in Texas) said, essentially, “Not so fast!” And pointed out O’Connor’s record on issues of siginficance to women and feminists. Of course little did we know how much worse it could get (thinking of Clarence Thomas). But so, some 20 yrs ago, I began to detatch from valuing identity on its own terms, and tried to begin to see one’s stance as equally if not more significant.

    One’s identity helps generate one’s viewpoint, certainly. And I am absolutely NOT equating Senator Clinton with Justice O’Connor (!). Just saying, I tend to slow down and moderate my enthusiasm and look more closely at what the person is about. Having a sense of commonality or solidarity based on my presumed shared experience (based on gender, or sexual orientation, or what have you) is an extra perk. But hopefully just that: an extra perk. In the case of the Clinton/Obama campaigns, I — along with so many other Americans — was in the dumbstruck position of feeling excited about the positive role model status of whichever of them wound up being the nominee. And while I agreed with 90% of what Clinton was about, I agreed with 95% of Obama.

    As an aside, I was also rather concerned how well Senator Clinton would have been able to muzzle former President Clinton, had she become elected, when he was such a big presence, oftentimes a boorish one, in the campaign.

    Interesting thing is, it takes a while for the identity of the candidate — if said identity is unusual in that context, say, black, or female candidate for national office — to assume the modest, contextuallized proportions it should. Hard for (white)(male) people to see straight for a bit. So it’s taking several weeks for all the dust to settle around Governor Palin. One hopes that people will eventually be able to simply look at her record, and her position on the issues, and all that, and conclude: yegods! It’s Regan/Bush with a parka and a hunting rifle! Who cares if said old school republican wears lipstick or not?!!

    [Adendum] I would love to see how the fall campaign would go if Governor Palin were Sam Palin — let’s say, just to make it interesting, that Sam is just as young and just as telegenic. A discussion of the actual issues at stake in this election would be rising to the surface as fast as a– as fast as a– as a dead fish, let’s say, in a cold lake. (Do fish float? Says the hopeless sub/urbanite.)

    I feel for the seasoned Republican women, like Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) or Olympia Snowe (Maine), who are watching this whippersnapper scoot to the front of the line. All the valid arguments about Gov. Palin’s unpreparedness for the job get to be dismissed as sexist (poof! don’t count!), and I doubt the same would be levelled (at least as directly, say, with the kind of persistent disrespect levelled at Senator Clinton) against Hutchison or Snowe. Which is one of the big reasons why, I’ll bet, the McCain campaign went for Palin. Cynical? Youbetcha.

  5. Ha! Made you look.

    Seriously, though, thanks for that response. It’s difficult to get a balanced sense of what’s going on from outside the US. It really tends to be all about the sound bites, and any time I ask one of my compatriots, they just tell me to watch Jon Stewart. Which I totally would… if I got cable tv. Or tv of any kind. Sigh. So – thanks. And good luck with the busy month. And the campaigning. We just had a federal election called; I wish we had someone even a tenth as inspiring as Obama involved in our federal political scene…

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.