One of life’s gazillion ironies: what’s exacerbating my obsession about this Prop 8 battle — a sense of protectiveness for my kids — is also behind my inability to throw myself into it 110%. I’m sure I’m not the only one in this position.
Ratcheting up that inability (and peppering the whole business with yet more irony) is the fact that my co-parent is in tech week for her youth theater (yep, the self-same youth whose well-being the Yes on 8 folks are looking to protect). By the way, for those not familiar with the work schedule of the theater, tech week is kind of like finals week, only without the books. Um, and with a lot more drama. ‘Round the clock, day after day, ten- to twelve-hour days either at the theater or home, trouble-shooting theatricality. Opening night’s Friday.
So you can picture the mayhem around the house.
Whenever I lament that I can’t be more out in the fray (a lamentation to be heard every quarter hour, when I’m not doing something that feels Sufficiently Effectual), I think: It’s a darn good thing there are so many others out there, fraying! Scads and scads of them.
The Proposition 8 action (pro and con) is reaching a fever pitch. There’s a local No on 8 Yahoo! group that has been rocketing back-and-forth the locations and needs for various visibility/education/get out the vote actions, providing a lightening-fast, hyper-local network fine-tuning the larger regional visibility and Get Out The Vote signups coordinated by No on 8 at this web page. (If you live in the East Bay of the SF Bay Area, write me and I’ll direct you to the Yahoo! group administrator as soon as I can.)
If visuals work better for you, here’s a slide show of the SF No on 8 office yesterday from Julia Rosen, who works for the Courage Campaign and has been sending front lines updates to Calitics. A comprehensive November 1 update can be found here at Kos.
From other folks’ accounts, or my Election Day training, or what I’ve seen on the local Yahoo groups messages, here’s what’s up right now:
• We are in a statistical tie. This will come down to a handful of votes. Think Florida, year 2000, hanging chads, 300 some-odd votes turning the tide of a national election and, as we well know, history. For this reason, at this point, EVERY SINGLE VOTE COUNTS. Everything you can do to ensure this message gets to every possible California voter in your reach MATTERS.
• Much of our work now is to CORRECT “WRONG WAY” VOTERS. There is a great deal of confusion on this proposition: being open = voting NO; being closed = voting YES. So clarifying the message is key. After that is clarifying the misconceptions spread by the Yes side: Churches effected? NO. Schools effected? NO. Obama in support of Prop 8? NO. That’s a lie. Their campaign has essentially revolved around two or three huge ones, all refuted. But the lies are getting broadcast 24/7.
• The mantra:
No matter how you feel about marriage, it’s wrong to take away people’s fundamental rights. Don’t forget to vote NO on 8.
• What moves us won’t necessarily move people who are undecided (us being proponents of marriage equality &/or church/state separation). Guilt tripping people (e.g., “You’ll take away my marriage,” “You’ll hurt our family”) will most likely trigger defensiveness and turn them away.
• Bodies are very much in need right now, out on streetcorners and subway entrances and event entrances (yes! the Madonna concert!) and parks and you name it. Hook up online, and follow up actively if you don’t hear back soon.
• You can still help by spreading the word, if you’re not local, and by dotating.
• Spreading the word (1) : Here’s the No on 8 page that has a pre-fab note you can edit, and a form you can use to upload your email list. If you haven’t done this yet, please do it now. You do not know who your friends might forward this to who lives in California. Give them the chance to do it.
• Spreading the word (2): No on 8 created a video featuring FAMILIES talking about what defeating Proposition 8 means to them as FAMILIES. So all you readers out there in internets land who’ve been waiting for the right thing to send along to your entire email list? This very well might be it.
Please help this thing go viral. No on 8 is hoping this one (the last video? who knows! 48 hours is an eternity in politics!) will be the final one to seal the deal. Their words:
Everyone you know needs to see this video. Use our easy spread the word tool to blast your contact list.
Over these past few months, I know I’ve asked a lot of you. You have sacrificed so much—your time and your money. And you have responded so incredibly, building the largest grassroots movement to defeat an anti-equality ballot measure in history.
If there is one last thing you do (before voting NO on 8 of course) it’s to take 30 seconds to watch this video and make sure everyone you know votes no.
• Fundraising is still very important. The No on 8 campiagn is able to spend the money it gets as fast as it comes in. They just fundraised again at today’s (Sunday’s) trainings. Given the recent urgent need to counter the Yes on 8 misinformation about Obama’s position on the measure, more dollars continue to be helpful. Particularly if you’re out of state and you’ve contacted everyone you know in California, and spread the word as effectively as you can, and you STILL wish you could do something more.
I’ll finish with irony #735. I’m buying time to write this by plugging the girlchild in front of 101 Dalmations while the boychild naps. You know, parenting tactics I would have scoffed at, like, a month or two ago. Not long ago this scene unfolded: the puppies get pinched by the bad guys, and Pongo, our Dalmatian hero, is atop a hill in a city park on a walk with his human companions. He sends out a “twilight bark,” desperately spreading an All Dog Alert to the canine world of London. He reaches the Great Dane at Hampstead, who in turn spreads the news to a Scottish Terrier, who lobs it to an Afghan, who lobs it to a little of pet shop puppies, then to a poodle, and eventually to every dog in London.
This here (like nearly every other post for the past eight weeks) is an All Dog Alert. Both sides, I’m sure, are sending out their messages of urgency, and will continue nonstop for about another 48 hours. To wit: during the time it took me to get from the previous paragraph to this one, I got a call from a nice gay man who was working a 24 hour phone bank-a-thon for Obama. Told him Argh! Can’t do more for Obama right now! Am lamenting his close-but-no-cigar position on this issue, which might — MIGHT! — lose us this battle, thanks to Yes on 8’s cunning exploitation of the Confusion Factor. But you go girl!
*[This just in! Pam reports Obama has taken the issue head-on in an MTV interview, to be aired at 9am and 7pm EST tomorrow (Nov 3). The mixed blessing is (again) his mixed message:
“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about. Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don’t contract them.”
You can view the clip there and see what you think. I agree with the first commenter, Karen in Kalifornia, that people will hear from that what they want to hear. Marriage is between a man and a woman; not in favor of gay marriage. And he’s opposed to Proposition 8. You pick what to hear. Comments thread there very interesting.]
My Obama caller and I traded updates, and when he asked what he could do when he gets off his Obama clock, I gave him the contact info for the flaming-hot East Bay No on 8 Yahoo group (since he’s a local). We both wished each other well, and renewed the fervent hope, shared by so so many people in California and watching it — from whichever standpoint — for a happy November 5th. The puppies, after all, will be saved. We just don’t know by whom.