Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Belated Election Round Up

Introduction: Election Night

Well its long past time that I took a little time to comment on November 4th’s elections. I enjoyed the evenings network and cabal news coverage with two long time friends, Steven who is on the political left from me, and Rob who is on the right. I also as a guy known for his love of political talk got calls from several friends and relatives that evening to chat about the history making events of the night. Ah election night, it’s the political junkies Super Bowl.

The Presidential Election

This was by far the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in a ballot box. I liked both candidates despite their flaws, and as independent who considers himself fairly centrist, both were viable for me in terms of being individuals I could actually vote for. Ultimately though it was a decision that pitted two of my political articles of faith against each other, to make a decision one would have to lose out. As a man who believes in the pendulum theory of American politics, that its best for power to swing back and forth between the parties as neither left or right ideology is suited to all times and conditions, its was fairly clear that momentum pointed towards a vote for Obama. However as someone who fears putting to much power in the hands of any one group, John McCain seemed a sensible block on the Democrat’s power and possible legislative excesses. In the end I made my decision (with reservation) on the Wednesday before the election and voted early the next day so as to avoid scheduling and crowd issues that could have complicated my casting a ballot on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. My good friends now know how I voted, but I chose not to put that information on this blog at this time.

Idaho Races

We got rid of Bill Sali here in the first Congressional district, and after only one term too. Our departing congressman had a knack for offending people, wither it be attributing breast cancer to abortion or opposing a Mexican consulate in Boise because of illegal immigration, he was truly the heir to Helen Chenoweth’s seat. Sali won the Republican primary to replace then outgoing congressman (and in coming Governor) C. L. "Butch" Otter two years ago in a bitter five way race financed largely by out of state money from The Club for Growth. He then went on to defeat the (for Idaho) unusually good Democratic candidate Larry Grant with only 50% of the vote (Grant got 45% and 3rd party candidates the remaining 5, hay its Idaho). Sali lost this year in a squeaker (51 to 49%) to Democrat Walt Minnick, a businessman, outdoorsmen and former Nixon staffer who ran a very effective campaign as bluedog, I mean his slogan was Right for Idaho (Italics mine, but in effect his). Anyway a Republican congressman losing after only one term in Idaho says something pretty unflattering about the Republican. Walt Minick now becomes the first Democrat Idaho has sent to Congress since before the Republican revolution of 1994, the last Democrat being former 1st district congressman Larry LaRocco who coincidently that night lost his bid to replace the disgraced Larry Craig in the U.S. Senate to Republican Lt. Gov. Jim Risch. Which of course brings us to….

Proposition 8

Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage passed in three states that night, including the Mormon heavy state of Arizona, however it was California that got all the attention. That’s because back in May the state supreme court there ruled that gays and lesbians had a right to marry, and such marriage certificates began issuing fourth from state courthouses around the first of July. The proposition to amend the state constitution to forbid such marriages passed 52 to 48%, with 70% of overwhelmingly Barak Obama supporting black voters voting in favor of the measure. But it is not the black community who is getting the brunt of the nation wide fallout over the propositions passing, negative energies are instead being vented out towards conservative white Christians, and for most among these Latter-day Saints (with Evangelicals and Catholic voters close behind).

The reason the Mormons are getting such a large share of the heat is that the Church has proven such a very successfully organizer and indirect fundraiser for ‘traditional marriage’ legislation throughout the country, starting with the nations first gay marriage referendum in Hawaii in the mid 1990’s. This gift of organizing is a well known trait of the LDS, and its effectiveness has been well demonstrated in the political arena before, as a very strong case can be made that its was the late LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball who is largely responsible for the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The mobilization of Mormons to the cause was not limited to the state of California, indeed members in states like Idaho and Utah were recruited to man phone lines and donate time and money to influence the out come of this Golden state ballot measure. However some of the overt out of state prodding by the Church was lessened or dropped as the election came near and such meddling might prove an at worst legal and at best PR problem for the extremely image aware faith.

In the end things got pretty heated and continue to remain so. Proposition 8 has been appealed to the state supreme court who will rule on the constitutionality of this constitutional amendment, a process I find legally dubious (how can a part of the constitution be unconstitutional?). I have no doubt that homosexual marriage will eventually be the law of the land in California and in the nation as a whole, its only a matter of how much time that will take to come about. If the state supreme court upholds proposition 8, then in 2 or 4 years, or at the most 8, a ballot measure to repeal the ’traditional marriage amendment’ form the state constitution will pass, and the now voided homosexual marriages and many more will come to be recognized by the state.

I myself would not have voted for proposition 8, you will find very few insistences in which I would consider voting to change a state constitution, those things in my opinion are not to be lightly messed with, especially for what will ultimately prove faddy legislation like a gay marriage ban or prohibition, that will just have to be repelled in the future and result in potently embarrassing and awkward legislative situations: A good example of which occurred in Idaho in the early 80’s when the long unenforced measures in the states 1890 constitution limiting the political rights of Mormons were just barley repelled with nearly a third of Idaho voters desiring to at lest rhetorically continue the disenfranchisement of the states Latter-day Saints (the Mormon/Gentile gap remains the primary ethnic-type fissure in Idaho). Despite my opposition to proposition 8 the behavior of some of the laws opponents is just as offensive to me as the intolerance and short sightedness of its more vocal advocates. For example this commercial really does make me kind of uncomfortable.

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