The Forms of Love
Parked in the fields
So many years ago,
A lake beside us
When the moon rose.
Leaving that ancient car
Together. I remember
Standing in the white grass
Beside it. We groped
Our way together
Downhill in the bright
Beginning to wonder
Whether it could be lake
We saw, our heads
Ringing under the stars we walked
To where it would have wet our feet
Had it been water.
– George Oppen
[Found in Bobbie Louise Hawkins' contribution to the George Oppen feature in Jacket: http://jacketmagazine.com/36/oppen-hawkins.shtml]
Today IRL I was part of a discussion about how the election is just one part of the work we do as activists, it feeds into the rest of the work we do; of course that’s something I say myself all the time but it’s put Prop 8 (and the defeat of Prop 5, which I expected but still stings) into perspective. Also, in case you missed it, something pretty big happened Tuesday night.
Earlier that day, chatting for a few minutes on the live-blog at vivirlatino.com, I joked about what should be Obama’s theme song if he won, so, without further ado:
No, it is not ‘Celebration’ by Kool and the Gang. Give me a little credit and play the damn video click the link! (Sorry, can’t embed it.)
A ton of information to process here [click here for the large size], but this is what I’m thinking about:
In California, young people (18-29) voted against Prop 8. Hope! (Hope, also, because the margin voting for Prop 8 was 52%, versus 62% eight years ago the last time this was on the ballot and passed.)
But also, more concretely, in terms of moving forward — 70% of black voters voted for Prop 8. This is in comparison to 53% of Latino voters who supported the ban, mirroring the state overall, and Asian voters and white voters, who voted 51% against the proposition. Why?
Do religious beliefs play a role? Sure. Obama not directly endorsing gay marriage? Maybe. What those numbers really tell us, though, is that the No on 8 campaign didn’t connect to minority voters, and particularly African-American voters, in a meaningful way. Look at Prop 4. Do you think socially conservative families — of whatever background — are digging on the idea of teen confidentiality for abortion services? Of course not. That’s why the No on Prop 4 campaign focused on teen safety and the worst-case scenario of teens whose lives and homes could be jeopardized by parental notification (just take a gander at their website to see what I mean). Looking at the numbers, it seems that this argument at least had an impact on the black community, which still voted in favor of the proposition, but by a much lower percentage (51%).
No on 8′s campaign focused on the premise (I call it a fact) that Prop 8 is ‘unfair, unecessary and wrong’. Yes, but that is not an argument that reaches across experiences and moves voters who are not already supportive of gay marriage. There is a reason that communities of color see gay marriage as a ‘white issue’, and I think that also speaks to a need to reach out more to LGBT communities of color and make sure they are part of the process.
These are my first, tentative, thoughts on what to question and consider as we move forward from the passage of Prop 8 — and in terms of organizing/campaign strategies in general. Luckily, Pam Spaulding has a more reasoned, detailed argument on the subject. (I avoid comments like the plague these days but if you have any resistance to what she writes, read the comment thread. Every question/defensive reaction is there with responses.) [h/t harrietsdaughter for the link]
ETA: I realize this post could be read to mean that I think Prop 8 didn’t pass because of black voters. No; I could just as easily written about married people or folks over the age of 65, who both voted for Prop 8 in larger numbers according to the exit polls. This post at the LJ community debunkingwhite points out how the results themselves a larger-than-average margin of error. That said — I still think the goals and processes of large-scale campaigning/organizing efforts will benefit by recognizing/listening to, rather than ‘targeting’, POC. (See also La Macha’s post @ VivirLatino.)
Petition to President-elect Obama for a Moratorium on ICE Raids
President-elect Obama, we congratulate you on your historic victory, and we celebrate this moment with great hope that under your leadership we will finally be able to achieve a humane, inclusive immigration policy that unites families and offers a path toward citizenship for the undocumented. Fundamental reform of our broken immigration system is an urgent national priority. The first step, that you can take through executive order, is to immediately end all Immigration & Customs Enforcement raids.
The enforcement of the unjust laws of our broken immigration system is tearing our country apart. The workplace and neighborhood raids by squads of ski-masked ICE agents armed with automatic weapons are the most brutal and outrageous part of this enforcement. They tear our families apart. They terrorize our communities. And they routinely violate the civil and constitutional rights that define our nation.
The ICE raids must end now! President-elect Obama, Latino and immigrant voters responded to the promise of change you made to our nation and voted for you by huge margins and in record numbers. We call on you to uphold that promise and honor our support by declaring an immediate and unconditional moratorium on ICE raids until just and human immigration reform is passed and implemented.
More at therisemovement.org
but right now I don’t feel happy or hopeful. I feel very confused, because I log in to Facebook and someone has commented ‘Yes for Obama, yes on 8! I’m happy’. Somehow Obama’s victory and gay marriage bans are related for people?
To everyone today reveling in last night’s presidential victory — congratulations! To everyone who may feel tempted to tell me that this ban is a temporary setback, give me a week or two. Believe me, all I want is to get to that hopeful place where Sudy and Joan find themselves today.
No matter how you vote today, please listen to Ansel’s interview with Green Party VP candidate and hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente over at Media Hacker: www.mediahacker.org/2008/11/podcast-rosa-clemente
Everything she says is like a blueprint for what absolutely must be present in our conversations about progressive organizing and alliances after today’s elections in the US. If I have time I might try to transcribe some of it later. Meantime, if you can’t listen to the interview you can read another interview with Clemente here: http://www.greenpartywatch.org/2008/11/01/znet-vote-your-values-an-interview-with-rosa-clemente/
This post is for anyone with questions / virulent opinions / chitchat / polling updates about the 12 propositions on California’s state ballot.
For those who aren’t in California, or for those of you who are still pondering, here are two resources for your consideration:
CA Green Party Recommendations: http://www.cagreens.org/elections/2008/Propositions.081104.shtml
Courage Campaign Recommendations: http://www.couragecampaign.org/2008VoterGuide
CA residents — how did you vote? Why? (If you feel comfortable sharing, of course.) Which propositions do you think represent an historic step (in either direction) for us?
Seems like every woman you try to save ends up dead… or deeply resentful. Maybe you should retire. – Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992)
The Dark Knight, perhaps the most anticipated of 2008’s summer blockbusters, opened on July 18 and had the biggest opening weekend in movie history, earning more than $155M. The DVD is slated to be released December 9, just in time for the Christmas rush. Even if you haven’t seen the film [spoilers spoilers spoilers to come] though, its commercials set the scene: Christian Bale’s troubled and arrogant Bruce Wayne against Heath Ledger’s even more troubled and arrogant Joker. While I found myself absorbed and troubled by a complicated look at the mythology of heroes and manhood, as well as a great summer action flick, I had to ask: Where’s Catwoman? Where’s the reality check on the Gender Trope Parade of our comic book blockbusters? Continue Reading Gender, troubled (Bat vs Cat)…
(note: That the judges were three women somehow bewildered me, in much the same way that some of the Abu Ghraib torturers are women bewildered me. Is this what the pioneers of feminism envisioned? As Angela Davis points out, by now the term equal opportunity has been twisted to often simply mean equal access to the instruments of oppression.)
“Proteus (Torture and Bewilderment)”, Nick Flynn, Tin House #37
The above is taken from an essay in which the author confronts his guilt (as an American) about the use of torture as a tool by the American military. After winning a PEN award for his memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, he becomes disgusted to share the winners’ circle with a dude who condones torture in his book (The End of Faith, by Sam Harris) about atheism, because Muslims are the worst of all and must be stopped– in Flynn’s presentation of the book, at least. I haven’t read either so I can’t tell you. And actually I don’t care. I’m just giving you enough context so you know who the judges mentioned in the quote are — the three women are Dorothy Gallagher, Wendy Gimbel and Amy Wilentz — and what they judged, apparently, so poorly, as to disgrace ‘the pioneers of feminism’.
I’m wondering who he means, exactly, when he references these pioneers (I won’t even pretend to ask which feminism he means). Certainly not Angela Davis herself, whose work (I’m thinking in particular here of her book of essays Women, Race and Class) debunks much of the mythology about the “First Wave” and what their feminism meant with regards to people of color or working people. So maybe he means those famous advocates of women’s suffrage, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Of course the fun part about the women’s suffrage movement is that its most prominent leaders were pissed that freedmen were allowed to vote before women. It should have been ladies first, you know, because ladies are wives and mothers and will bring their compassion and caring into the voting booth.
Are these the pioneers in question? I’m just guessing, since he’s so bewildered that some women don’t live up to our title as the fairer sex. Funny, isn’t it, that this argument (I like to call it the Victorian Hangover) is what spurred high-profile suffragettes to some of their nastiest moments — support of reactionary Jim Crow laws and rejection of the movement’s roots in abolitionist activism.
I wasn’t too surprised, though, to read this just a few paragraphs later:
After the award and the book reviews and the judges’ citation [on why they selected the Harris book] I told my friend Claudia that I was feeling a little nuts, as if I was seeing something that everyone else insisted wasn’t there.
That’s how black people feel all the time, Claudia said with a shrug.
Phew! I guess he really gets it then.
My darling, dear, confused friend BFP proposed what some might call the ultimate hot off: my dear beloved JT versus… Saul Hudson AKA Slash. From Guns and Roses. (Erm, and Velvet Revolver.)
Avid readers, I ask: Are you fucking kidding me?!
or Prince Bad Hair Day?