Who We Are

Food for Thought

Last week I asked the question: Is our national nightmare nearly over? I don’t think we know the answer yet, but come Jan. 20—which can’t come soon enough—we may see the beginning of the end. One thing is for sure, the landscape of American politics has been significantly and permanently altered for the better. With the decisive election of a mixed race African American as our president, we have finally exorcized the demons of centuries of racial intolerance and bigotry. We have shown the world that we really can live up to the promise and potential of our democratic ideals and doctrines, and that we can walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

I woke up this morning wondering if by analyzing the voting trends of our citizens here in Santa Clara County in context, we can discover something about who we are. It’s something that I would like to take a stab at, hoping that it will lead to a conversation about what it might mean to us as individuals and members of the community.

There are 788,821 of us registered to vote in the county, and 502,294 of us actually voted on Tuesday, a turnout of nearly 64 percent. More than half of us voted by mail. It is a respectable turnout, but unfortunately there are more than a quarter of a million of our citizens who did not take the opportunity to make their voice known.

The national turnout of the voting population on Tuesday is presently estimated to have been 64 percent. If that turns out to be the case, it is much larger than any presidential election since 1960, which was 63 percent (2004 was 55.3 percent by comparison). It testifies to the importance of the election to the American citizens as a whole. I think this can be attributed both to the extreme dissatisfaction with how the country has been run over the past eight years and the fact that the voters understand that a leader with extraordinary intelligence and diplomatic skills is needed to guide us out of the terrible problems the country is now experiencing. Obama clearly galvanized a public eager for a radical change of direction.

Here in Santa Clara County, we voted nearly 70 percent for Obama, which is significantly more than the national average. We re-elected our Democratic U.S. representatives and state legislators by a resounding margin. These facts obviously speak for themselves in terms of how the majority of us identify ourselves with a particular political party.

With the state propositions, we appear to have gone with the rest of the state on Prop. 1. The vote on the high speed rail was close, but in Santa Clara County we voted decisively “yes” and it appears that it will pass statewide. We have also voted overwhelmingly for the BART tax on County Measure B, but at press time the count was 0.4 percent short of the required two-thirds vote needed to pass it, though there were still thousands of ballots yet to count. Whatever the outcome, the majority of us obviously support public transportation projects and see them as the wave of the future.

Proposition 2 regarding the treatment of farm animals passed overwhelmingly in our county and in the state as a whole. This is one result that I am particularly happy about and I believe reflects well on our community.

We also approved the children’s hospital bond issue, Prop. 3, along with the rest of the state.

We joined with the rest of the state in soundly defeating the abortion notification requirement mandated by Prop. 4, and overwhelmingly voted no on Prop. 8 that bans same sex marriage. Unfortunately, the rest of the state went the other way on this. It is very sad that the referendum process is being misused by political reactionaries to deny civil rights to citizens in direct contravention of the word and spirit of the U.S. Constitution.  We citizens of Santa Clara County, fortunately, did not join in this wrongheaded political witch hunt. However, this isn’t the last we will hear of this matter. Civil rights groups are already taking it to court as a violation of the state constitution. Like racial discrimination, discrimination based on sexual orientation will eventually fall.

Along with the rest of the state we rejected the T. Boone Pickens bailout measure of Prop. 10 and the similar Prop. 7. Our community knows a boondoggle when we see one and should be proud to join with the majority on defeating these issues. We also went with the rest of the state on the “law and order” issues (no on 5 and 6, yes on 9), redistricting (yes on Prop. 11) and mortgages for veterans (yes on Prop. 12).

So, what does this tell us about ourselves in the context of our place in the state and nationally? I think we could certainly claim to be an overwhelmingly liberal community, racially and socially tolerant, concerned about the treatment of animals, children and the less fortunate, and not afraid to support large public projects that benefit the majority of citizens, but able to reject those that do not.

Are there other implications to be drawn from our voting patterns? What do you think?

 

69 Comments

  1. The local election results and the attendant discusions reaffirm what I already knew;
    That I live in a valley that is largely populated by champions of diversity who won’t be satisfied until everyone else thinks just like them.

    Also, isn’t it ironic that while you’re all jumping up and down in ecstasy about how we’ve overcome our supposed bigotry and “intolerance” by electing the first black President, that 70% of blacks in California voted Yes on Proposition 8?
    P.T. Barnum was right!

  2. Well said Jack!  Now let’s wait a few minutes as we get a wave of angry comments from that Conservative 30% minority who usually posts on this blog.

  3. While the English major in me applauds pundits’ inclination to wax literary about election results and reveal Deep Trends, the truth is always much more mundane and usually much more difficult. The election of a man of African descent doesn’t, by itself, exorcize anything substantive about America’s founding stain and ongoing racism. Improving African-American (and other minority group) literacy scores, employment rates, education success and incomes level will help, as would decreasing black crime and broken families.  But until then, the color of the presidency is only symbolic, and we don’t elect presidents to be symbolic. We elect themt to run the executive branch of government. If people want a leader to embody national character and ideals, they should go someplace that has a monarchy. I wish Barak Obama all the luck in the world (full disclosure: i voted Libertarian), and would caution everyone about feeling as though, by some magic wand, the racial heritage of an elected representative does anything palpable to solve our nation’s deep-seeded racial crimes. The long,hard job of achieving an equitable society is helped, sure, by nice poetic gestures and symbols, but the real work is down in the trenches and that’s where we should be focused. The job is in no way finished. And we will be judged, as a society, not by what we *intended* to do but what, at the end of the day, we actually achieved.

  4. Props 2 and 4 show how progressive this state really is. Prop 8’s passing was no doubt the doing of religious fear-mongering about church-persecution and child-perversion. If 8 had not been so highly publicized (mainly with lies), I don’t think it would have passed. That’s the real shame here. California is not as hateful as it appears to be right now. It’s just stupid.

  5. It’s not that simple, Jack.  Statewide we decided that chickens have more rights than gay couples; that we will tell two consenting adults what they cannot do (marry), but not tell an eleven year old that she cannot have an abortion without telling her parents.  Nationwide, we profess to hate Congress (17% approval rating WAY lower than Dubya’s), but continue to re-elect OUR Congressperson.  And for all our supposed enlightenment and environmentalism here in California, we have the most littered landsacape in the developed world.  Ted Stevens gets convicted and re-elected in the same month.  So now Alaska is Louisiana North.

    Well, at least we have less than three more months of Dubya. Not a moment too soon.

  6. The idea that Obama’s election to president will accomplish what hasn’t been achieved after forty years of this country’s bending over backwards for African-Americans is optimistic, indeed. Historically, every effort to heal the wounds or exorcize the demons of racial bigotry has led to more demands for benefits, more excuses for failure, more misguided government efforts to gift achievement and success. Black failure is today a way of life for millions and a very lucrative industry for tens of thousands (as it once was for Fair Housing Lawyer Barrack Obama). The right to blame the schools for your every “F” grade, racial profiling for your every arrest, discrimination for your poor credit rating, the racist culture for every abandoned child: there is simply no reason to believe that selecting a black president will spur a single African-American into surrendering so much; to give up something as valuable as the race card.

    Nonetheless, many people believe it. Why? Because this country is chock full of people desperate to believe in something. The deification of Barrack Obama speaks to this desperation, and in this last election the real religious fervor came from the Left, not the Religious Right. Look at Jack’s post as Exhibit A. He cheerleads for “democratic ideals and doctrines” in his opening paragraph but then, when he gets around to the majority vote in Prop 8, he condemns its proponents as “political reactionaries” conducting a “witch hunt.” This, for a “right” that has no historical precedent. Clearly, in Jack’s world, majority rule makes right only when it’s Left.

    Such are the contradictions that mark all belief systems. Today in America the real theocratic threat comes not from church-goers or Muslims but from the millions who discount or reject spirituality and organized belief yet hunger for its unique satiation. Ain’t got God? Try Obama. Can’t stomach religious doctrine? Catch the fever of political correctness. Start preaching about the glory of egalitarianism, the warmth of tolerance, the joy of self-loathing, the sacrificial bliss of carbon neutrality. Reject Satan, for their is no need for him in a world filled with people resistant to your dogma, people who challenge the illumination of your light with the darkness of skepticism—people who threaten to bring Hell on Earth.

    Oh Happy Day… Obama hath arisen! And with a cigarette in his hand, no less.

  7. W gone is exciting as Obama winning—and the promise that the 17% approval rating of congress will go up dramatically with some real leadership in the White House. However, the bad news, there’s always some of that, is that the same local folks that were part of the 17% got enthusiastically re-elected. Not that Cindy Sheehan would have been a good replacement. Same old hacks back in office every two years, despite the previous two years of doing 0 except feathering their own nests.
    Speaking of which, the Prop 2 sentimentality won with greater plurality than almost any other issue—based on a picture of 5 chickens happily clucking on a green, weedfree lawn, downed sick cows rolled with a forklift in the previous frame. How come the voters are only smart when they’re personally hurting. That will happen when the salmonella-laced eggs start coming in from Mexico. Better, though, than melamine.
    And as for Prop 8, it may have won because the campaign for it was civil, unlike the No folks who accused everyone who voted for 8 of bigotry, filthy living conditions, moral turpitude and variegated scumbaggery. And old confident Newsom—“Live with it whether or not you like it, assholes!” Hmmm. Not all who voted for 8 did it because God told them to. Obviously there were some other issues, like L-O-G-I-C: x+Y does not equal X=X AND Y+Y. Changing meanings we’re lurching toward Babel, not a good place to be. Bride and Groom replaced with Party A and Party B. How romantic. “Silly” to quote Little Miss Sunshine.
    And the wise voters still can’t figure out redistricting, the only way to get rid of the incumbent turkeys. Here’s Zoe and Nancy and Barbara and Anna and even Diane dead set against Prop 11. I wonder why. The average voter thinks that just plain folks can’t do a more objective job than the “pros”. Stupid.
    At the root of voter stupidity is the good old compulsory education system, the point of which is to produce compliant consumers, not thoughtful participants in a Jeffersonian democracy. Oh well, another time. Dismantling the present “educational” system will be BIGGER than electing Obama, and I’ll bet he’d agree. It costs more than the war in Iraq, and is FAR more destructive to American interests and economy.
    At least it looks like there were enough smart folks, enlightened for just a moment, to approve high speed rail. George Green

  8. “The California Teachers Association is creating controversy after throwing its support and more than a million dollars behind an effort to defeat Prop. 8.”

    http://www.kget.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=266a36a0-8292-49cd-96d2-440e78e7f072

    I’m still trying to figure out how Prop. 8 affects teachers, teacher services and benefits, their working conditions, etc.

    Is it simply that the CA teacher’s union is just a slush fund that spends union dues extracted from underpaid teachers on a leftist political and social agenda?

  9. #1 – Glad you caught that statistic, I was going to point out the same one.  I was intrigued by the notion that the same group of people who have wanted to be treated like first class citizens attains their symbolic goal in this election, yet votes that others remain as second class citizens.

    #5 – regarding Prop. 8, it’s defeat shows that CA is not as liberal as the rest of the country labels us.

    What happened to the victim’s rights prop?
    In today’s world, I’m more likely to be a victim of crime and typically not protected.  We have laws that protect home invasion intruders, but not the home owner if he defends himself.  I sure remember when my father passed away and we had prowlers the night of the rosary and then again the night of the funeral.  In those days the police told us, shoot them and drag them in, but in today’s world if we nick them, we’re in trouble or if they trip on our property they could probably sue us!

    #7 – great last line

    and speaking of great last lines, here’s one I came across today:
    “For now, we have a new president-elect. In the spirit of reaching across the aisle, we owe it to the Democrats to show their president the exact same kind of respect and loyalty that they have shown our recent Republican president.” A.C. 

    One thing that does please me is that Lincoln will be honored at this year’s inauguration, his 200th birthday.  Let’s hope that B. Hussain Obama does reach across party lines as Lincoln did.  And now back to Team of Rivals, gives me cause to finish the book!

  10. Jack,
    Rose Garden Dad raises some very excellent points. I agree with him that we need to better educate our youth so that they have access to improved jobs and lives. Our high school drop out rate is rather concerning to me, as are the amounts of school closings in our County.  I honestly think this should be a top priority and it needs to be addressed YESTERDAY.
     
    As to your column I agree with much of what you’ve said. We are lucky to be living in such a compassionate, progressive community. Having said that, I’d like to add a few thoughts I have on this election year.

    I don’t know about anyone else but the way the media has behaved in what and how it reports information really concerns me. How on earth are we supposed to make informed choices and decisions with all the biased reporting going on? Also, the amount of money that has gone into political campaigns and into propositions is astounding to me. That makes decision making tough too because all these special interest groups are dumping millions of dollars into misleading ads and literature.

    And finally, the nasty campaigning is overwhelming to me. I really hate trying to figure out who and what to vote for amidst these mud-slinging campaigns. Unfortunately, these nasty campaign practices will continue because they work. For some reason people love to hear the dirt and or gossip about others. I really think something needs to be done about the way campaigns need to be run. JMO makes an excellent point about the same useless people getting back into office over and over again. I think the reason that is happening is because we do not have a fair practices campaign model for folks to follow. If you are a civic minded, caring member of the community and you aren’t rich, or don’t have access to lots of money to run, you are screwed. If you are just a hard working stiff who wants a better community and you don’t have connections in government, forget it, you don’t have a prayer in hell of running and winning.

    We need change all right, and we need it now, but we won’t get change as long as the same good old boys are running things.

  11. Fin Fan, you may be right that nothing has changed, that Obama will make little difference in Black culture, but I think it will be really hard to keep putting a dark shoulder to the cult of being a victim. I do not think that Black folks are much aware that the ball is now in their court. And I think Obama will remind them. The image of Jesse Jackson, tears streaming on election night, is in contrast to his face contorted in its usual rage just a few months ago when Obama said Black fathers need to change their ways and be there for their kids. Jesse accused Obama of “dissing” his bros. There will be more dissing, I’d bet. Anyway, I don’t think raging PC-ers on the left can hold a candle to the 25% of all USAers who adore, and perhaps lust for, Ms. I-can-see-Russia. They positively admire her ignorance.
    But I didn’t notice any Obama people saying
    “kill her”. Those Palin-MCain folks are pretty “spiritual”, it would seem. They may think they’re hot after Jesus, but I’d bet that Jesus’ staff is a sharp fork.
    As for #9 wondering about the million bucks the CTA gave to Prop 8, it is a puzzle. The righteousness of the Prop 8 people is a puzzle too. Can so many people be in the closet, and so many groups? George Green

  12. Interesting…..

    Ahmadinejad Offers Obama Landmark Congratulations
    For the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, an Iranian leader has offered well wishes to a U.S. president-elect.

  13. “And as for Prop 8, it may have won because the campaign for it was civil, unlike the No folks who accused everyone who voted for 8 of bigotry, filthy living conditions, moral turpitude and variegated scumbaggery.”

    It’s not difficult to see. If you oppose equal rights, you are a bigot. If you fight fires, you’re a firefighter. Same principle. You’re so busy with the definition of “marriage” that maybe you overlooked “bigot.”

  14. The failure of Prop 8 riles the Left because: 1.) It undermines their argument that 08 was some Great Liberal Awakening and 2.) Many of the demographic groups that voted en bloc for Obama were Yes On 8 (so much for an ideological coalition).

    My personal feeling is that gov’t has no business in recognizing marriage one way or another way as a legislative manner—it’s an agreement between participants not a gov’t sanctioned act.

    But one cannot help but note the delicious irony of the No on 8 people complaining that the Yes votes were ‘bought’ by lots of out of state spending.

    Ahem: anybody care to look at the presidential campaign, Obama’s flip flop on public financing, and his overwhelming outspending of McCain, especially in battleground states that were decided by 2-5 points (where media spend really matters)? If Yes on 8 bought their election, then certainly…

    Well, you get the idea. To invoke the Scottish bard:

    “Limits for Thee
    But not for Me!”

  15. #18 – Agree that gov’t should stay out of a person’s partner choice, also believe that abortion should not be sanctioned by the gov’t., that should be a person’s decision after searching their conscience.

  16. #17 Finfan

    I am sorry that you have experienced problems posting. Thanks for letting us know. We are having our system checked, although it seems to be working fine at the moment. I am told that it is often a browser or connection problem when this happens.

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  17. Finfan, it’s a shame that your opinions are ruled by your being a contrarian. Prop 8 cannot be broken down into more complex issues. If someone disagreed with me on high-speed rail, fine. If they thought parents should have to be notified of their daughter’s abortion, I could understand that. Those have solid arguments against my views.

    This issue has no real flipside. It is institutionalized religion (“culture” to you), from which the First Amendment of our nation’s constitution already protects us. It was not repealed, so Prop 8 is irrelevant. Proponents keep referring to “the vote of the people” as if that’s the final say. Well, there’s already a strong foundation built and everyday people cannot destroy it so easily.

    Also, stop with the cop-out regarding our supposed hate and intolerance. What’s next, I can’t call someone a jerk without being one, too? That’s a desperate argument. Stick to the issue.

  18. Nam Turk,

    You’re preaching for us to stick to the issue? Here, your own lofty analysis.

    “If you oppose equal rights, you are a bigot.”

    “You’re so busy with the definition of “marriage” that maybe you overlooked “bigot.”

    Nammy, thanks for giving us all something to shoot for.

  19. In the first of his two posts on this topic, Nam Turk attributes Prop 8’s passing to religious fear-mongering, and concludes that post by suggesting that Yes on 8 voters were stupid but not necessarily hateful. When that post didn’t get a rise out of anyone he came back and hurled the word “bigot” at the very same people whom he’d labeled, in his first post, as stupid but not necessarily hateful.

    Nammy, thanks for showing us all where the real hate lay.

    For Nam Turk and the rest of the misguided masses, the definition of “civil rights” is not up for discussion, other than in those cases in which gay marriage proponents attempt to change its historical definition. They will dictate the definitions and slander anyone who disagrees. Funny, but I don’t remember the gay rights appellate strategy as having been to brand any judge who didn’t agree with them a bigot. And if “bigot” was neither accurate nor appropriate for use during the appeal process, it certainly isn’t now.

    Like it or not, the right to define and determine things not addressed by the Constitution resides with the individual states. Historically, the people of each state have had the right to define what constitutes adulthood, how criminals are punished, what constitutes marriage, and much, much more. If we can, with the best of intentions and applying the accumulated wisdom of the ages, define adulthood as age 18, then that decision does not violate the civil rights of seventeen year olds. If we have the right, based on nothing more than our collective beliefs about crime and punishment, to give the state the power to take a human life, then that does not make victims out of executed criminals.

    The majority of Californians voted for Prop 8 because culture counts, and changes of such a drastic nature have always been accompanied by disagreement and resistance. The vote in 2000, in which a substantial majority ruled against gay marriage, was ignored by gay marriage proponents, demonstrating their profound contempt for the will of the people. Their never-ending campaign to overrule the majority has incorporated everything from Gavin Newsome’s in-your-face theatrics, to vandalism against, and the vilification of, those with an opposing point of view. 

    What the gay movement has managed to prove is that the majority of Californians, a people who tacitly agreed to civil unions, are infinitely more respectful of gay rights than gays are of the voice of the majority or the democratic process. I will never vote for gay marriage, not because I have any concern about how gay people live, but because I now have a deep disgust with the way gay people practice politics.

    (Note to Editor: this is the second posting of this comment (the first at about 5:10 PM), and this is the third time in recent weeks that a submission did not get posted.)

  20. Nam Turk,
    Like you I voted NO on 8. I firmly believe it is a Civil Rights issue, not a personal or religious one. I also believe the Courts will over turn the temporary victory of its passing because from a legal stand point, separate but equal is unconstitutional. Having said that, I wanted to share with you my own personal experiences with family and friends. I have a lot of very educated, civic-minded family members, and friends who are strong supporters of Civil Rights. Some of them surprised me by voting YES on 8. I can tell you that they did not do so because they were being hateful, bigoted, intolerant, or anything like that. They voted that way because they feel very strongly about the definition of “marriage” and what that means to them. They have no problem with Civil Unions, nor do they feel threatened by Gay marriage. They just felt that they needed to stand up for or more specifically protect what they believe “marriage” means to them. I guess I can respect that, even though I am grappling to understand it.
    One concern that I have is that even if Gay marriage is reinstated in California, the US Supreme Court has refused to hear this issue, why I don’t know. So while it will be a victory here in California, or in other states, it is not truly a victory on the real issue of Civil Rights through out the US.

    Wonder Woman,
    Please be careful of relying on stats. 70% of African Americans voting Yes on 8 is not much given that only 2% of African Americans remain in California. In the past several years, there has been a HUGE migration of African Americans to the south.  Secondly, Latinos voted Yes on 8 in higher numbers than you realize and that is based primarily on their Catholic belief system, and they make up a vast amount of Californians.

  21. Finfan, how is that straying? People legislated and voted out of prejudice and thus changed the law. I pointed out what they did and what it represents: bigotry. That’s the issue. Your reflecting my claims is merely an ad hominem attack of the basest quality. Apparently, you’re rubber and I’m glue.

    Kathleen, I do not mean to imply that bigotry is synonymous with lynchings or slurs. I, too, know people who voted Yes and I just look the other way. It bothers me, but I don’t get in their faces about it. This is a simple concept. The Yes crowd doesn’t have to be violent to be bigoted. They voted against equality, for whatever reason, and that is that. I’m not attaching any other allegations to them.

  22. Nam Turk,
    Thank you for your clarification. I never thought you were being rude or judgmental. It is indeed odd that Latinos and African Americans voted YES on 8 in such large numbers, when they are still struggling with issues of equality themselves. My guess is that religion played a huge part in why they did.
    Having been a mediator for the past 25 years, I am always surprised that something that seems so clear, or easily defined to me is so abstract and complicated to others. It is interesting to me too how much a part culture, religion, gender, and socioeconomics plays into things too. Prop 8 seems to be an issue that crossed all divides.

    It will be interesting to see the way the Courts decide on this matter. My hope is that they will up hold the Constitution because I am NOT a fan of messing with such an important piece of legislation that has consistently and wisely guided our country for centuries, just to appease a bunch of special interest groups. The division of Church and State is a very important issue. I hope the Courts uphold the division of the two.

  23. This was primarily a religious vote and it had no place being on the ballot.
    When this gets thrown out in court, perhaps the proponents will go back to their churches and believe what they want to believe, and let the rest of us believe what we want to believe. We don’t have to agree but don’t force your religious beliefs on me.
    It’s amazing that it takes a 2/3 vote to get a tax imposed, but only a simple majority to tamper with the constitution.

  24. Turk,

    My apologies for pointing out the emotional leakage in your politics, the only possible explanation for you contradicting yourself from one post to the next. First you declared Prop 8 supporters stupid but not hateful, hours later you’re saying they’re bigots. Clearly the voters didn’t change in those hours, nor did the history of Tuesday’s election, which leaves only you and bipolar cognition.

    Speaking of hate, it appeared to be running strong in that massive “No on 8” crowd that laid siege to the Mormon Church in West Hollywood. Funny, given the measure’s strong support in the black community, that the bold and committed protesters didn’t take their tantrum to Watts.

  25. #17 finfan says “The vote in 2000, in which a substantial majority ruled against gay marriage, was ignored by gay marriage proponents, demonstrating their profound contempt for the will of the people.”

    I respectfully disagree. What was demonstrated was a refusal by one group to allow another group to abridge or deny basic civil rights.

    The vote in 2000 resulted in a substantial 61.4% opposing same sex marriage. By 2008 that margin was reduced to a thin 52.5%. Notice a trend?

    It takes time to bring about social change, but I’ll bet anyone here a cup of coffee that the next time this issue comes before California voters the result will be legalized, and voter approved, same sex marriage becomes legal in California.

  26. Nam:
    There’s a totally coherent libertarian argument that says government has nothing to do with blessing or not blessing relations between adults—marriage and otherwise.  You could absolutely vote Yes on 8 (full disclosure: I didn’t) because you didn’t want to *extend* government intrusion into gay civil unions. That is not a bigoted nor stupid position. I disagree with it but it’s intellectually consistent and I respect it. Why do you say that all Yes on 8 people are bigots when there are legit, non-bigoted, arguments against it. This demonization of dissent from the Left has got to stop.

  27. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    I’m no constitutional scholar but it’s hard to see how those 16 words could be interpreted to mean that the people of California have no right to define marriage.
    Even if restricting marriage to one man and one woman IS based on religous belief, which I don’t think it necessarily is, if anything the 1st Amendment would seem to come down on the side of those Californians who are on the ‘Yes on 8’ side. The part of the clause that comes after the comma, the part that is routinely ignored by “freedom from religion” zealots, is quite explicit- “OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF”. In other words, Congress shall make no law prohibiting the people from freely exercising their religous beliefs.
    So argue if you will about Proposition 8’s constitutionality, but the 1st Amendment is not your ally.

  28. Fin Fan,
    I have a few questions for you, as I’m confused about some of the things you are saying.  Please tell me what you mean by basic rights. Are you referring to Civil Rights under the Constitution, or do you mean just basic human rights?

    You said,” I will never vote for gay marriage, not because I have any concern about how gay people live, but because I now have a deep disgust with the way gay people practice politics.”

    I don’t understand this statement because the YES on 8 people did as much retaliating as the No on 8 people did. The odd thing was that the media chose not report it. Many No on 8 people reported stolen signs, vandalism to their properties, etc. but I never saw much coverage about it. I personally almost ended up in a multi car pile up on 880 TWICE because pro 8 folks were standing on the over pass tossing debris down on us to make us look up. I called CHP both times, but never heard it reported on the news.

    The bottom line on this for me is, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. We need to respect that difference of opinion. Both pro and con folks on 8 have done their fair share of misleading the public, and some on BOTH sides have behaved badly. Ultimately the Courts will decide what is just, and what is legal not the religious right as you guys call it, or the liberal left as you guys refer to it. And I agree with MC that, “The next time this issue comes before California voters the result will be legalized, and voter approved, same sex marriage becomes legal in California.” Why? Because times and people are changing, AMEN to that.

  29. Kathleen:

    My arguments address Constitutional rights, and my disgust with the Gay Marriage movement predates this latest campaign (though I’m more than skeptical that the liberal media passed on reporting significant misdeeds by Yes on 8 supporters).

    From the start, the Gay Marriage movement has been marked by duplicity, intolerance, rudeness, and a blatant disrespect for the majority’s right to exercise in this state the authority granted it by the Constitution. Little did Californians know that when granting to gay’s the civil unions they sought in lieu of marriage that the existence of those “officially recognized family relationships” would be used by their appellate lawyers to overrule the decision they voiced in 2000 (when they voted against gay marriage). This kind of behavior used to be called, “biting the hand that feeds you,” but today, when practiced by society’s self-anointed victims, it is excused as “the end justifies the means.” And who could’ve guessed that by endorsing the concept of civil unions instead of marriage millions of Californian’s would subsequently be reclassified by gay marriage supporters as intolerant, hateful, homophobic, and Nam Turk’s own favorite, bigot? The much coveted civil unions were quickly repackaged into symbols of second-class citizenship. The movement’s in-your-face behavior at rallies and protests has been as insulting as was the behavior of their matinee idol mayor when he thumbed his nose at the law. In short, politics at its worst.

    ———————————
    Nam Turk:

    I certainly don’t want to stay lost, so let’s see if I can get it right by visualizing your words differently, say on a ballot.

    (Please fill in the connecting line)

    Prop 8 ===== Yes, because I’m stupid.
    Prop 8 ===== Yes, because I’m a bigot.
    Prop 8 ===== Yes, because I’m a stupid bigot.
    Prop 8 ===== No, because I’m enlightened and tolerant.

    Regarding the protests at the Mormon churches: if it’s not hate, what’s it about? The election is over, so what are they doing there? Changing minds? Hardly. What they’re doing there is called punishment, and it’s punishment for the church’s religious doctrine. Churchgoers, including those here in San Jose, have been intimidated and had their access to their church physically blocked. Denying the right to practice religion: quite the moral high ground for a “civil rights” movement.

  30. 34 – Looks like you got the ballot language correct. Congratulations.
    I won’t much time because you’re never going to get it, but the focus is on religion not because of what they believe but because they are trying force those beliefs on other.
    If they don’t like gay marriage then don’t perform them at their church. Don’t allow gay couples to attend your church. Discriminate all you want in the name of your beliefs but DON’T try to force your beliefs on others!!
    It’s unfortunate that churches choose to discriminate but that’s the way it is at the moment. Perhaps someday they will achieve enlightenment.

  31. Protests signify hate? Sorry, I thought maybe burning down the church would be hateful. Maybe attacking the church-goers would be hateful. Protests are not done out of hate. If the NO people come out with a proposition making church illegal, call that hate. As of now, there is no movement to keep people from practicing religion. There is merely reaction to religion’s unconstitutional influence on the law.

    I’m not sure if you honestly can’t see the difference or if you’re just a troll.

  32. Finfan, I said that the people who voted against it were either bigoted or stupid to be duped by the Yes campaign. I clarified what I meant by “bigoted.” How you you consistently get so easily lost in these debates?

    Also, I am not in these protests, nor is protesting inherently hateful. They target the Mormon church because that’s an organization which has been proven to support the issue. Watts is merely a black neighborhood, not a distinct entity. You’re really reaching for a case at this point.

    Rosegarden Dad, that’s an interesting interpretation. I was no open to such a view before, but it still seems fairly extreme. Voting for institutionalized inequality over government interference seems like a dangerous route, but I’ll take your word on it.

  33. Fin Fan,
    Thank you for clarifying your position. I don’t agree with your perception of this but I certainly do respect your right to feel that way. If I understood you correctly, and please correct me if I did not because I am really trying to open my mind to your opinion on this, you mention in your post that Civil Unions some how duped voters and legislators into a trap that led to Gay marriage rights. If you don’t mind I’d like to ask you where you stand on separate but equal policy?

  34. RGD, please explain where I insinuated such. I don’t recall condoning any liberties being attacked. I thought I was the one combatting that viewpoint here.

  35. “If they don’t like gay marriage then don’t perform them at their church.”

    That is *exactly* the problem.

    That you disingenuous creeps try and pass Prop 8 off as evil, bigoted, homophobes denying poor Adam and Steve their right to marital bliss is absurd.

    If Prop 8 would have been defeated the very next day the church would have been under total assault by the ACLU and all it’s cretins.

    ACLU lawsuits against churches to force them to allow gay marriages.

    ACLU lawsuits against clergy forcing them to officiate gay weddings.

    And on and on until reeducation and total submission via judicial fiat was complete.

    Three cheers for the Mormon church!

  36. MC,

    The idea that the wording “a man and a woman” in the definition of marriage constitutes a denial of basic rights is hogwash. The state has as much right to address the issue of gender in that definition as it does to address the issue of plurality. “A” man and “a” woman constitutes a clear denial of plural marriage. Is that too a denial of a basic civil right?

    Had the campaign to change the definition been waged by orthodox Mormons instead of gays the Left would’ve jumped to the opposition and called on the state to defend our cultural values. The same would be true had the campaign been to lower the age of consent to 14, as I believe it is in a number of states. Is a person who is denied his or her desire to engage in plural marriage, or a juvenile who wants to have sex being denied a basic civil right due to the laws of this state?

    What I find most absurd about the gay marriage issue is that those who condemn its traditional definition as discriminatory have no interest in repealing a statute that is inherently discriminatory, but instead want to alter only its language as it applies to them. The idea that something as significant as a basic civil right can be cherry-picked out of a legal definition that has stood the test of time, as has the definition of marriage, is rooted in deception, not justice. The only way to make this issue one of basic rights is to challenge the notion of the state’s jurisdiction over marriage in general, something that will not happen, precisely because the people of this state, including gay people, do not want plural marriage, do not want to see twelve year-olds marrying, do not want the word “marriage” to become meaningless.

    As for the vote, you may be right about the trend going into this election, though I do suspect that had a “no” vote on the ballot meant no to gay marriage the gap would’ve been much wider; but I also expect that the movement’s reaction to Tuesday’s election will result in it doing more to hurt its own image and set back, or maybe even permanently kill, their cause. Grown-ups, even those who barely qualify as do so many adults in California, are not fond of tantrums.

  37. Yeah, just like churches are forced to conduct intermarriages. Some do and some don’t. Nice try. If that’s the best you can do, then it is only a matter of time before your discriminatory view will be history.

  38. Nam:  You’re being obtuse.  I am saying that marriage is a non-government issue. We shouldn’t need the government to condone whom we choose to form that kind of relationship with. To push the issue to the extreme to clarify: Do we need the government to sanction Straight Friendships? Of course not. It’s an intrusion into indvidual liberty for straight people to have to get a government o.k. for marriage.  Ditto for gays. While it may be ‘equitable’ for gay people to seek the same government o.k., you can intelligently argue that we’re just making the intrusion problem worse with No on 8 (full disclosure again: I voted yes). I know a number of Libertarians who are NOT bigots in any way but voted No on this principal. While I disagaree with the practical ramifications of their vote, I respect their principals and vigorously defend them against attacks of bigotry. Two wrongs do’t make a Right (pun intended). This dismissal of all Yes on 8 Supporters as yahoos is yet another form of small-minded, lefty bigotry in which dissent from the party line is smeared.

  39. Most of us would probably agree that MC would wind up winning his cup of coffee. The tide of public opinion regarding “gay rights” is rising and would appear to be unstoppable, but is this to be celebrated or lamented? What does it say about Who We Are?

    Could it say that individual thought is vanishing and is being replaced by collective consciousness? Why would so many people abandon their beliefs over so short a time period? And is it an accident that this time period is coincident with the rise of “connectedness”? There was a time, not so long ago when people formed and held their own opinions and beliefs based on the experiences of their own lives. The world was populated with unique individuals with a wide range of beliefs. This was considered good and healthy. This brave new world in which we now find ourselves is, ironically, far less tolerant of diversity of opinion. The probing tentacles of the “worldwide web”  seek out and inevitably discover the owners of “unenlightened”, outlying ideas. They are gathered in and worked on until they “get their minds right”. Our own experiences no longer form the basis of our beliefs. Rather, they are formed from a continual onslaught of secondhand, virtual “experiences” as we watch TV and scan the internet. Since we are all sharing the same “experience” it is no wonder that we are all begining to think alike. We’re McPeople.

    Celebrate all you want on that day when Mr. and Mr. Johnson are free to marry, but the day when all the “finfans” of the world have “gotten their minds right” will be a day of mourning which, unfortunately, nobody will recognize.

  40. #44

    There was a time, not so long ago when people formed and held their own opinions and beliefs based on the experiences of their own lives.

    In writing, this is referred to as fiction. 

    However, in this situation it is simply another example of an individual who lives in a non-existent fantasy world.  Generally speaking, these people lash out when their mind begins to accept the fact their fantasy world is unreal, and they start to realize their long held beliefs were wrong.  They now, at least subconsciously, realize they have been a sucker for nothing all their life, hence the anger so common amongst conservatives.

  41. RGD: I’d rather the government not recognize any marriage, either. However, I find inequality under the law to far more offensive and scary than I do the mild intrusion in domestic affairs. Furthermore, you say that they should not be involved in our relationships, but should they be involved in our religion? That’s essentially what has been done. I see where you’re coming from and you, as a libertarian, picked your battle but I personally think you picked the wrong one because of the much greater impact on freedoms of citizens.

  42. #44- John Galt,
    Have no fear; we are not a planet of clones or McPeople. We never will be. You may be right about the way the Internet has had a huge affect on getting out information to vast numbers of people, but it doesn’t have the power you think it does. The power to influence experience, morals, and individuality belongs more to parents, family members, teachers, co-workers, our ministers, and friends.

    Look at the differing opinions on this blog alone, and rest assured that changing someone’s opinion is far from an easy task. Differing opinions is one of the greatest beauties in life, and like you I don’t want to see that change. Everyone goes through phases of wanting to fit in and be liked, but as we mature that changes. Part of the beauty of aging is understanding what is and is not worth fighting over, that actions speak louder than words, and that a good friend is someone who loves us, regardless of what we do or say. wink

  43. Kathleen,

    I’ve never found any evidence of “separate but equal” in California’s marriage laws. What I found instead was evidence that government must, in order to serve the people, establish laws and define terms in accordance with the United States Constitution and in keeping with the values and traditions of its population. In regards to the terminology in question, “a man” and “a woman” served the state for 150 years before it was challenged, thus making the argument that it had somehow morphed into unconstitutionality quite absurd.

    “No on 8” was peddled to the public, quite deceptively, as if the court had ruled our state’s definition unconstitutional as written in 1850—just another bit of evidence of our narrow-minded, intolerant past. But that is not what happened. What the court ruled was that unconstitutionality came to our law the moment we approved domestic partnerships.

    Same-sex domestic partnerships did not materialize out of thin air; they came about through the work of gay activists. In other words, it was gays themselves who sought these “separate but equal” relationships, though it was a form of “separate but equal” that somehow failed to offend a single liberal in this state. Behold, the power of hypocrisy.

    The real irony in all of this is that had Gray Davis allowed the initial domestic partnership legislation to become law, had he not forced the legislature to restrict it to same-sex couples (in order to preserve the noble institution of marriage), the partnerships would’ve been open to all couples and Justice George would’ve been deprived of his specious “separate but equal” argument. Indeed, the gay right’s victory in court last May was born of the marriage of “The Good Will of the Majority” (via their legislature) and “The Defense of Marriage” (via their governor). And in delivering this miscarriage to the good people of the state of California, Justice George ruled…

    “no good deed goes unpunished.”

  44. Nam, I’m just bringing up these points to illuminate how Yes on 8 arguments exist which have nothing to do with the bible-totin’, knuckle-dragging, gun-lovin’, bigots you fear. I gather from your last post that you agree that there are Yes on 8 arguments which do not derive from bigotry, even though you disagree with them.

    And I don’t see Yes on 8 as the formation of a state religion, either. Almost all our laws have some pretty direct relationship with Judeo-Christian writings, for better or worse, but that doesn’t mean those laws equate to a state religion as I read the Constitution.

  45. RGD: I never used inflammatory language like that. “Bigot” is a fairly technical term. Had I called them rednecks or Jesus freaks, I could see how there’d be a negative reaction.

    As for this being evidence of state religion, just look at the basis of the Yes campaign. The argument is for “tradition,” but in what sense? Does U.S. law dictate what marriage is or does [some] Christian law define it as only a man and a woman? You said yourself that they’re often tied together, but that’s only because we haven’t, until recently, stopped to look and see how distinct the two doctrines are.

    And yes, I do concede your point.

    Finfan: Your need to spin everything is rather tiresome. The gay community created “separate but equal” because they truly wanted to be separate? Or was it a compromise because they did not expect to reach their true goal of full equality? Your argument here (and most times) is merely picking apart the words of others and it doesn’t support your case well at all. Get some lessons from Rosegarden Dad.

  46. Just Wondering,

    Yes, domestic partnerships were initially made available to heterosexual couples provided one partner was, I believe, 62 (an arbitrary standard that, based on the majority opinion here at SJI, must have rendered it horribly discriminatory towards younger couples).

    Nam Turk,

    My “spin” is tiresome? What spin is that? My last post was factual, something that must infuriate an emotionally-compromised name-caller such as yourself. The words I “picked apart” came from the legal and legislative history of the issue and nowhere else. The facts are indisputable: gays sought domestic partnerships, a form of state sanctioned relationship that constitutes a clear example of “separate but equal.”  Is the best that you can do is to challenge me to answer if gays “truly wanted to be separate?” That’s a question worthy of a 3rd grader who lacks an understanding of how laws are judged by the court. What gays “truly wanted” is, besides being unknowable, immaterial when addressing the concept of separate but equal in this matter. The bottom line is this: gays approved of separate but equal in obtaining the right to form civil unions, but in their quest for marriage rights turned around and condemned separate but equal as a civil rights horror comparable to Jim Crow segregation. Absolute hypocrisy and an insult to black Americans.

    Oh, and please bother someone else… you are “truly” a waste of time.

  47. Ugh, when will you people give up the idea that homosexuals are out to take over the world? There are plenty of churches that do accept gays and would perform their marriages. You may have noticed but gay culture does not actually infiltrate all aspects of society. I’m sure you think Will & Grace was actually a recruitment tool, right? Grow up.

    P.S. “Adam and Steve” has not been funny since it was first overused decades ago.

  48. “Ugh, when will you people give up the idea that homosexuals are out to take over the world?”

    I guess we’ll give up on that idea when homosexuals stop trying take over the world.

    ACLU/Gay Mafia’s war against the boy scouts.
    ACLU/Gay Mafia’s war against the military.
    Gay marriage/agenda taught in public schools. 
    Gay agenda and indoctrination in the corporate workplace.

    “The RBC Safe Space (program) is a visible, non-threatening way to show that your desk, cubicle or office is a “safe place” for gay men, bisexuals, transgendered and lesbians,”

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/2004/cover092404.htm

    I’m counting the days until our “progressive” educators, as part of the “diversity and inclusiveness” curriculum, issue homework assignments requiring students to monitor and do a report on “non-inclusive” speech that occurs in their home.

    Doesn’t seem that far fetched does it?

  49. Perhaps you should hide in a bunker. The gays can’t get you there.

    But seriously, a majority of the people fighting for gay rights are not gay. They’re “liberal,” which many people fail to see is derived from the same root as “liberty.” There is no mafia, just people who want equality in society as the constitution grants us all.

  50. Your characterization of homosexuals as a cohesive entity is perplexing. You seem to think they plot and conspire over decades. Take off the tinfoil hat.

  51. Freddy Fraud (oops, a Freudian slip!),

    Thanks for the session, but you forgot one thing. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
    I’m just a guy that profoundly disagrees with you and thinks that this country’s shift to the left is sure to be self destructive. That’s all.

  52. Well lookee here.
    In my fantasy world I’m reading a fantasy headline in today’s fantasy Mercury News that reads;
    OBAMA READY TO EMBRACE INTERNET AS TOOL FOR PERSUASION AND PARTICIPATION

    Looks like our new President’s going to open his own online Koolaid stand.
    Drink up, addicts!

  53. Aren’t we waging war against far right nations and threatening war against others? Yet, you think the left is what will sink us? Indeed, I can see how it’s failing a country like Sweden right now…

  54. Jack:
    I posted to this folder/thread/whatever its proper name is, yesterday.  It ain’t up yet.  I am not claiming censorship; just advising you of a possible glitch

  55. Namster says…

    “Also, stop with the cop-out regarding our supposed hate and intolerance.”

    http://tinyurl.com/6x4dl7 

    Savor the tolerance.  Bask in the heartwarming glow of the left’s regard for freedom of speech. 

    Sweden?  You gotta be joking.

    Look what liberalism and tolerance and politically correct insanity hath wrought.

    http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/938
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/magazine/05muslims.html?pagewanted=6&_r=1
    http://jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/003131.php

    This is what liberalism will bring to the US.

  56. Nam Turk,

    I’ve never been to Sweden but;

    Countries where a bit of liberalism works OK;

    Australia & New Zealand- 

    * Surrounded by water so illegal immigration not a problem.

    * Largely populated by tough, non-whiny, self-sufficient people with strong morals, who are not inclined to accept government largesse unless it is a truely dire circumstance.

    The last time I was in Melbourne I was talking with a bloke who was lamenting the fact that his country lacked a large, cheap labor force like we have in the U.S. I said to him, “Be careful what you wish for. You’ve got a vibrant, strong culture with a broad middle class. Don’t underestimate how valuable that is.”

    Domestic Liberalism is unfair enough without the added burden of illegal immigration, but throw that in and you’ve got an environment that is ripe for socioeconomic division and for political panderers and despotism.

  57. JG 66:

    I’ve been to Sweden & New Zealand.  NZ is in the state socialism mode like Sweden.

    Sweden’s MINIMUM federal tax rate is 55%.  Everything but bare necessities is subject ot a value added tax/luxury tax, which is quite high.

    Alcohol very expensive, only in state-run stores, and no purchases available on weekends.

    Little crime; most of which is perpetrated by immigrants, mostly Muslim.

    I spent a month in NZ in 1993.  At the time, the population was c2.2 million; of which only 900,000 were employed, 400,000 of which were employed by the government.  The rest were on The Dole (the official name for welfare in NZ).  All income over NZ$30k ($15k USD at the time) was subject to a tax of over 75%.  Most indigenous people were on The Dole, which was disbursed weekly, electronically to the Maoris, who have an alcoholism/drug addiction rate that rivals Native Americans.  There was a huge underground barter economy to avoid taxes, just as in our Emerald Triagle here in Calif.  A bicycle that cost $1,000.00 in USA at the time cost $3,500 USD in NZ.  How people afforded them was beyond me.

  58. Novice, it’s apparent now that you must view the world in extremes because that makes life easier for you to process. I’m not sure what gay marriage has to do with immigrant rights, other than being “left” issues in your head. Maybe you should try actually assessing issues instead of sticking to your team in the “us versus them” battle being waged in your version of reality.

    As for the video, why shouldn’t people be angry? I guess you would blame someone for resisting a shove. If people are all allowed to mind their own business with equal rights, where does altercation spring up? I’m sure you’ll try to spin this as an angry mob attempting to turn a little, old lady gay, though….

  59. Koolaid Derangement Syndrome or Intentionally Obtuse?
    You make the call!

    Round 1.
    Ultra liberal gov’t policies are leading to Sweden’s cultural annihilation at the hands of Islamic thugs.

    Nam says:  “Immigrant rights”

    Koolaid?  Or Intentionally Obtuse?

    Round 2.
    An angry mob assaults a solitary Prop 8 supporter.

    Nam says:  The angry mob was “resisting a shove”

    Koolaid?  Or Intentionally Obtuse?

    …more rounds to follow!