John Colson: Hit and Run
Aspen Times Weekly
Well, so much for the state that gave us the “Summer of Love,” that fabled year of 1967 when San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood blossomed into an international icon of openness, peace and love.
Perhaps we can tag this most recent election cycle with the moniker, “The Autumn of H8 (pronounced, hate)” at least in California, where voters passed Proposition 8, which eliminated the right of men to marry other men, and women to marry other women.
Homophobia codified, that’s what it all means, and it is so unlike California’s reputation as the “land of fruits and nuts” that one is tempted to believe Karl Rove is behind the whole thing and the results were a sham.
I mean, the ballot question passed by 52 percent, in a landslide year for Democrats during which America sent a black man to live in the White House. This simply doesn’t make much sense. How could the same California electorate that went so overwhelmingly for Barack Obama (61 percent to 37 percent for McCain) do this at the same time?
Or maybe it does make sense, in a California kind of way. The state, after all, has made a brand of being quixotic when it comes to electoral politics.
All you have to do is look at the current governor to recognize that when it comes to making choices in the polls, Californians as a whole seem to be over-medicating themselves with something very potent. Could all that medical marijuana cause people to be a little fuzzy on the ballot questions?
Not that I am in any way opposed to that particular voter-mandated set of policies, believing as I do that medical marijuana is far more effective against certain ailments, and less harmful, than most of the nostrums available at your local pharmacy. Maybe it’s just a matter of forgoing the prescription for a couple of days before casting a vote, just to maintain a level of clarity. After all, pain is known to sharpen the mind, so the idea has a certain holistic appeal.
But, I digress.
Let me just state that I agree with Keith Olberman of MSNBC, who aired a heart-felt, thoughtful and calm condemnation of the Prop. 8 results, asking those who voted for the measure, “Why does this matter to you?”
Why, indeed? It is an impulse similar to the anti-abortion madness. Is it nothing more than a deep desire to control something, anything in this crazy world, regardless of the damage it does to human lives and hearts? And can both be reduced to the simplest kind of political math; “gays and women are less powerful than we angry white men, at least for the moment, and we can win here?”
Pathetic as it is, I think I’m on to something.
It should be noted that, here in Colorado, we did not succumb to the same kind of “Autumn of Hate” mindset in that we, thankfully, turned back the idiotic constitutional amendment that would have declared a fetus as a “person” from the moment of conception. The legal, moral and political complications that would have resulted from passage of this amendment, which was spawned in the same kind of fetid, hate-based, hyper-conservative philosophical swamp as Prop. 8, cannot even be enumerated here, for fear of putting readers into a coma.
But Colorado voters came through, a remarkable outcome given this state’s political history and makeup, and a sign that the Dark Ages may finally have ended and the Age of Enlightenment has dawned.
We did, after all, switch allegiances from the Red column to the Blue in most circumstances, although Congressman-elect Mike Coffman, the former secretary of state, put a much more optimistic spin on the election and promised that Colorado would swing back to the Red column soon.
We’ll see, Mike.
But in the meantime, those of us who view the results in California as a horrible miscarriage of electoral justice can take heart from the fact that the opponents of Prop. 8 have taken to the streets and are vowing to overturn this hateful piece of political bile.
Let the games begin.
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