Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sotomayor, Kim Jong Il, Prop 8, Oh My!

Yesterday was a hell of a day.

1) North Korea aka Kim Jong Il Amusement Park thumbs nose at the world after detonating a nuclear bomb and lobbin’ missiles into the sea of Japan
2) Pres. Obama keeps the history making going by nominating Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court
3) The California Supreme Court upholds Prop 8

Where to begin?

I am no foreign policy expert…and I am no advocate of violence, but, perhaps, the CIA should do what it does best and take out Mr. Kim. I get nervous when crazy dictators have the ability to take out whole cities if they should get their panties in a twist. This whole thing is starting to look like Team America. Where is Janeane Garofalo when you need her?

Obama showed, again, just how brilliant he is by picking a Latina woman for the Supreme Court. This will solidify the Latin@ community behind his presidency, and, at the same stroke, push the Latin@ community solidly in the Democratic camp for a generation. It also makes it impossible for the GOP to even think about filibustering Sotomayor’s nomination. Latin@s from left to right are doing high kicks y dando vuletas over this nomination. The GOP can not afford to alienate anyone else and hope to inch back towards the White House. Obama's nomination of a Republican appointed federal judge was like kicking the GOP while its down. I almost feel sorry for them…not really…I am actually gloating inside…hell I am gloating right here in this blog. Once again, I take my hat (and my draws if you’d like) to you, Mr. Obama.

That just leaves us with California. Now, anyone that believed that the California Supreme Court was going to overturn Prop 8 was being foolish. I understand the feelings of frustration of queer folks in California. At the same time, I will repeat what I wrote months ago. This victory goes to the Right because they deserve it. The entire queer community paid scant attention to the Prop 8 battle until it was too late. We entered the organizing game late because we thought…gee…its Cali…they love the gays. While we were sucking on the tit of complacency, the Right was in black churches and Latin@ congregations, at town hall meetings, and in the streets organizing their asses off to get folks to vote for Prop 8. They had years of work behind the campaign, and the LGBT folks organizing around the issue failed to realize the impact of people of color voters, regressive faith communities, and the massive turn out because of Obama (how they missed the turn out factor is still, to use David’s favorite term, bewildering).

The real enemy in the Prop 8 battle is not the Right…nor is it the Supreme Court of California…it is the proposition system itself. Basically, the Supreme Court ruling, by failing to overturn Prop 8, has established mob rule in California with no system of checks and balances. It is, frankly, direct democracy at its very worst. It is democracy without real debate. It is the height of dollar democracy: those with the best and biggest and brightest budgets are the ones that carry the day on whatever issue is at hand. It is a system that burdens the legislature with mandated expenditures that has led California to a monumental budget crisis. It creates three strikes laws that have stuffed California prisons to the breaking point. To be sure a very few good propositions have been implemented, but, overwhelmingly, the Right has used the prop system to create a hellacious mess that is slowly eating away at the core of California political life. It is ridiculous. And, frankly, think of all the good that could come if the tens of millions of dollars spent on proposition battles were invested in the community.

California is teetering on the edge of ridiculous.

In the end, Tuesday was a reminder that there is so much work to be done. It was also a hard object lesson in the price of complacency. Justice is not a destination; it is a state of being that requires constant vigilance, effort, and engagement.

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