Hi y'a'll. My local friend just passed this on to me and I couldn't resist.
Glad to see my Texas buddies safe and sound once again. Gadfly, you're not the only one who has messed up WA's template. There are some things that obviously you and I should never touch.
WA, huge congratulations on the latest addition to your family. That's wonderful news.
I'm finally sticking a toe back in the water, politically speaking. My friend and I just returned from the grand opening of the Democratic headquarters here. It's the most organized I've seen the Dems in years.
Yesterday, we attended a rally at the University of California, Merced campus (I still love typing that name). We had heard there were to be two rallies; one Republican, one Democrat. About 50 of us showed up in the middle of the day along with two lonesome Republicans, taking turns carrying their sign.
I'll probably be doing a little phone work or precinct walking over the next couple of weeks. We're not taking anything for granted here in California. I'm campaigning for the Presidential election of course but I'm more concerned about Proposition 8, the religious right's attempt to lock restriction of civil rights into our Constitution. As most of you know, our State Supreme Court narrowly voted last year to allow same sex marriage in this state. They were immediately countered by Prop 8, a state Constitutional amendment which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Their major funding comes from a few wealthy religious denominations and they seem to be winning, at least here in the San Joaquin Valley. We've begun fighting back of course but the outcome is uncertain. The local ads have been ugly, untrue, and play on people's fears.
So, while I'll help a little with the national election, my primary focus will be Prop 8. My son Tim has met somebody, it appears to be the real thing. They were talking marriage ahead of our elections (while they still could) but decided not to be pushed into it before they were sure. If Prop 8 passes, the decision will be taken out of their hands.
Once again, separate is not equal. The domestic partners and civil union laws enacted by many states, including my California, do not go far enough. I was re-reading Loving v. Virginia (the Supreme Court decision which outlawed the miscegenation laws in the United States) the other day. The arguments in Loving seem to apply although I'm no lawyer.
We also have Proposition 4 (parental notification) back on the ballot for the 3rd time. It's been voted down twice so far and it's received less attention than I expected.
At least our Congressman is running unopposed and our Senators don't come up until 2010 and 2012. Senator Boxer already has 2010 campaign buttons reading "elections have consequences", a phrase borrowed from the Republicans when they were still riding high.
Merced remains a small, barely blue enclave amidst a sea of red.
Son Jim called me this morning from someplace in Iraq. His job description has changed. What was supposed to be basically an administrative job in a relatively secure compound has been changed. He is now flying hither and yon doing something and next week will be spending a few days in beautiful, downtown Baghdad. I'm back to chewing my fingernails again. Please keep a thought for his safety and for all the rest of our kids serving all over the world.
One final word (or 500) on the elections. I sat out the primaries on this blog; partly because of computer problems, the heat in this tiny room, Ray's health, and my own fatigue. Mainly though, I was waiting for the dust to settle. I could add nothing to what had already been said. Also, I knew some of my opinions might be controversial (even considered cowardly) and out of step with the majority of progressive bloggers. I didn't want to add to the infighting. I would prefer to find common ground when possible.
I realize there are many who were not enchanted with the top two contenders for the nomination. They weren't my first choices either; Dennis Kucinich was. However, I'm a realist. The two major independent candidates - Barr (Libertarian) and Nader (Peace and Freedom) are holding their debate this coming Sunday. It will be broadcast on C-SPAN. I know this because I read about it on a blog; not because it was featured by the MSM. As far as I know, the candidates representing the Green and American Independent parties are receiving no coverage at all. So much for an uprising. I voted for a third party candidate once. He was defeated and so was the Democrat running for President. My vote didn't matter in California but the outcome may have been affected in other states and there was no way a third party candidate would win. There still isn't. We can't do anything about it between now and November 4th. We can, however, start working on November 5th.
Some would say, and I even say to myself, if I had the courage of my convictions I'd vote for the Green Party candidate, Cynthia McKinney. I won't, not this year. The idea of a Palin/McCain presidency (and no, I didn't get that backwards) is enough to make me run screaming for the Canadian border. We've had eight of the worst years in my memory. I don't think I could survive four more. There was a time when I respected Senator McCain even when I disagreed with him. No more. And don't get me started on Governor Palin.
Could I boycott the election or write in Donald Duck? Sure, but the Republicans who are still clinging to Senator McCain won't do that. If he wins, it shouldn't be by default.
So I'm crossing my fingers and casting my lot with Senator Obama. We are never going to find the perfect candidate and, until we fix our broken electoral process from the ground up, we're stuck with a two party system.
The long primary brought out the best and the worst in people. It's time to put the worst behind us and concentrate on winning all three branches of government. Without the Presidency and the Senate, we will lose the Supreme Court. Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts will reign. We've already seen some of the damage they've caused. Without 60 votes in the Senate, most progressive legislation will be stalled by the threat of filibuster. Without 66 votes, we can't overturn a veto (although that may not be an issue with a Democrat in the White House).
We cannot win if we continue to follow the time honored tradition amongst the Democrats of destroying from within.
The best of people? This campaign has brought out the young voters as well as many citizens who have never voted before. I've talked to some of them. They're full of ideas and energy which brings me back to fixing the system. It can be done and we should begin the day after the election. I've written before of the changes that could be made and I'll dig out my old posts and start writing about them again.
Have a good weekend and take care everyone.
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