Thinking about the Election
I spent the evening at an election-watching party sponsored by a local auto dealer who is a huge supporter of progressive talk radio. What fun it was, for once, to be in a room full of cheering, crying people who weren't dressed in Green Bay Packers clothing. Out here in Portland, we all counted down from :45 seconds to 8pm our time, because we knew that would be the moment CNN would call the election for Barack Hussein Obama.
(Now that he's elected, I will be calling him "Barack Hussein Obama" because it will will irritate the righties and not saying his middle name, when we routinely do that for every other president, gives that anti-Muslim smear more power than it deserves. I'm proud of our president Barack Hussein Obama and his middle name, too!)
We're biting our nails still over Merkley/Smith in the Senate. Smith lieads by about 1,000, but votes from Multnomah (Portland Metro – strongly Merkley) haven't all been counted yet. I'm biting my nails for Al Franken in Minnesota, because while we've had Actor-Americans in government (Fred Grandy, Fred Thompson, Ronald Reagan) and Athlete-Americans (Steve Largent, Jack Kemp) and Former Cokehead-Americans (George W. Bush) in office, I believe Franken will be our first Former Cokehead-Actor-Comedian-American to sit in the Senate.
Oregon passed Measure 57 and Measure 61, so Measure 61 failed. If you said, "Huh?", welcome to Oregon initiative politics. Our rightwing nutjobs sponsored 61, which increases mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes, which will cost us up to $400 million to build new prisons. So the legislature sponsored 57, which increases mandatory minimums on fewer certain crimes, which will cost us up to $200 million to build new prisons, but if 57 passes with more votes than 61, 61 is invalidated. This is how Oregon fights an awful bill, by proposing a less-awful counter bill, instead of just fighting the awful bill.
Michigan passed it’s medical marijuana measure with 63% of the vote and Massachusetts passed it’s marijuana decriminalization measure. 13 states with 1/4th the US population now recognize and protect medical users of marijuana, and 13 states now no longer arrest and incarcerate social users of marijuana (six states do both).
And yet, California, where I had just been three weeks ago, sitting in a downtown dispensary enjoying a gourmet choice of vaporized cannabis without fear of law enforcement…
California, the capital of the worldwide pornography industry, thanks to lenient laws…
California, where I can buy hundred-proof liquor store on the shelves of the local grocery store…
Californians voted to amend their constitution to revoke a right from people already granted that right – the right to marry for gays and lesbians.
Wow. What a precedent. So, like, if enough Californians decided to do it, they could revoke just about anybody’s right to do anything, couldn’t they? Well, no, not if that right were something protected in the US Constitution. They couldn’t, for example, create an amendment to define marriage as only between one man and one woman of the same race, religion, or ethnicity.
Civil rights groups are petitioning the California Supreme Court, saying that you can’t really use the initiative process to take away people’s constitutional rights. Good luck with that.
And there are the other anti-gay marriage and anti-gay adoption amendments that passed this time around in other states. It’s going to keep happening like this, election after election, as homophobic majorities will keep voting to discriminate against LGBT.
This can only be solved federally. Either federal legislation, constitutional amendment, or Supreme Court decision. You’re not likely to get #1, even less likely to get #2. Maybe President Barack Hussein Obama will get us the Justices on the bench to give us #3.