Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Variations on a theme

As Greg has pointed out, we voted against Proposition 8, but we didn't do anything else. We both feel guilty about not donating, but frankly, in the current economic reality, we were constrained. We donated to Obama's campaign and nothing else. I still think it was the right thing to do, if we had to pick just one. I just wish we'd had more money to spread around. For the immediate future, though, efforts to repeal Prop 8 will be a priority for us.

If you're curious about who donated for or against Prop 8, the SFgate website has a good searchable database:
Bring up various states, then bring up Utah. There's an interesting tale there. I also, naively, didn't realize that you could contribute donations to a proposition in a state other than the one in which you live. If foreigners are prohibited from donating to presidential races, why can someone from Arkansas donate to an issue affecting another state? (If you'll look at the Arkansas data, you'll know why, among other reasons, we don't go to Wal-mart!)

And there is another reason why I'm choosing Arkansas. I've mentioned before that the people of Arkansas passed an initiative (Act No. 1) which bans people who are co-habitating outside of a valid marriage from fostering or adopting children. This law isn't getting nearly enough attention, so I will note Dan Savage's column in the NYT today. This law has the potential to be much more dangerous than Prop 8, because it sets a precedent that disallows unmarried couples (gay or straight) from having children. Greg and I couldn't adopt there... what if I needed to take in my great-nephew in the case something happened to my niece? We'd be prohibited. But more ominous, what if you've already adopted or fostered a child? Is this the first step in taking children away from gay couples? A horrible, horrible precedent and one that should be discussed, feared, and reviled. As I've always thought, there is nothing more anti-family than the "pro-family" movement, nothing more without values than the "values voters".

I spent sometime today talking to a student of mine who took a few weeks off school to canvas for Obama in Nevada. (And yes, I'd have been fine with it if he were campaigning for McCain.) He spoke to me of experiencing racism... having seen swastikas and the n-word painted on their campaign office, seeing Confederate flags flown in their faces, watching white volunteers being treated differently than African-american volunteers. As a young white male, this was an important lesson for him to learn: the playing field is not level, racism still exists, thrives even in parts of the country. He'll never forget this. He'll also never forget the times where he felt he made a difference, the voter here and there whose vote swung or at least teetered because of his words. He also spoke of being down with how the canvasing was going, but being inspired by an Obama visit. Michelle Obama, to be clear. He said she was absolutely inspiring. So we'll take the lesson here: bigotry still exists, but hope will prevail.


Pat. said...

Yes. I followed progress of the Arkansas one as well. It is very disturbing how targeted it is.

Seeing how polarizing the Prop 8 issue was at my daugher's school where kids were obviously parotting their parent's viewpoints (and bullying each other on the playground according to who was pro and who was anti Prop 8), I am particularly worried about how susceptive our youth are to these things.

Dr. Lisa said...

Wow, the teachers should have handled the bullying. That's so sad.