Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bitter Sweet

The 2008 election will forever haunt my mind as being bitter sweet. First I must acknowledge that my man Barack Obama has become the first African American president elect. This historic election has shown that America has finally broken through the toughest barriers involving race relations. His presidency represents that hope is still present in this country. That is what keeps me going in this nation because of the passage of proposition 8, which has caused me to become deeply disgruntled with Californians. I’m immensely proud of the United States of America but in regards to our state I am truly ashamed.
I think one of the problems with this race was misinformation. The Yes on 8 campaign relied on their understanding of cultural marketing and generous contributions from countless churches including the Mormon Church where a significant amount of funding came from. The No on 8 campaign however relied on people coming to their senses and figuring out that it is wrong to write discrimination into our state’s constitution, because essentially that is what this proposition came down to even though the other side never admitted it. Instead they decided to use scare tactics and smoke screens; here are just some they used.
FICTION: Gay marriage will be taught in public schools
FACT: Not one word in the proposition mentions education. No child can be forced to be taught anything against the will of their parents, California law prohibits it. Even superintendent of schools in California, Jack O’Connell says prop 8 has nothing to do with schools.
FICTION: Churches will lose tax-exemption status
FACT: The court decision regarding marriage specifically says “no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious official will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.”
FICTION: If prop 8 isn’t passed people can be sued over personal beliefs.
FACT: California’s laws already prohibit discrimination against anyone based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This has nothing to do with marriage.
Even after lying about the schools, the tax exemptions, and the suing Yes on 8 proved to be still be conniving and untrustworthy. The campaign frequently appealed to black voters by leaving messages on answering machines saying Barack Obama’s stance on gay marriage. It’s ironic because Obama stated that proposition 8 was “divisive and discriminatory”. Many prominent elected officials opposed prop 8 including our state senators Barbara Boxer and Diana Feinstein. Even our governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican opposed this proposition. The Yes on 8 campaign made it seem as if love had been shrunk to reproductively, as if people only get married to produce children to an overpopulated world. They also made it seem as if every American family consisted of the nuclear family, meaning a father, a mother, a son, and a daughter; as if there is no such thing as single parenting. The campaign representing everything that is deceptive, deceiving, and conniving.
Now that the facts are cleared up, why did this horrendous and discriminating proposition still get passed? I think it’s pretty obvious, religion. Our country is horribly wrapped up into religion even though we are supposed to maintain a separation of church and state. Honestly I’m not even sure if most Americans are aware of that notion. I’ve had a first encounter with this. I was sitting in my AP government class before the election and we were discussing prop 8. The teacher asked for arguments from both sides. I remember one girl from my class shouting out her opinion advocating prop 8 by saying “it’s in the bible”. I couldn’t help but laugh that she would think because it’s in the bible it’s okay to shove that onto the whole state even country I’m sure she thought. Then I heard her say this was a “Christian nation”. Another account I heard in school was how a girl was appalled and offended when her priest at her Catholic Church told everyone during mass to please vote yes on 8 in the upcoming election. There was a lot of that going around in this year’s election. In regard to the religious fanatics trying to shove your beliefs down my throat, I could care less if you think I’m going to hell, but don’t take away my right to marry the person I love when it has no effect on your life, only on thousands others. I better get off the subject of Christianity in America and the increasing role it plays in politics before I get distracted.
The point is that on November 4th our state instilled discrimination into our constitution. If I’m not mistaken our country was built on the principles of freedom, I don’t know maybe I’m wrong. This passage makes me feel quite differently about what the “American way” and “freedom” means to me. If I can’t get married to the person I love how free am I.
The biggest upset over this resolution is that it does not affect the voters lives in anyway, unless they are gay of course. Many people seem to share my point of view of why are people so against gay marriage it does not affect them. After seeing all the Yes on 8 signs in Chula Vista before the election I came to really resent my city for its conservative majority.
So what is the big deal California? In short is does not affect the average person’s life. In reality is does affect mine, my aunt’s, my friend’s mom, and many others. The passage of prop 8 reflects how truly conservative and backward California can be. Hopefuls of prop 8’s failure thought this could be the beginning to true equality in that California leads the way for the rest of the country in some respects. I think it shows the American way is to shame upon difference. It has always been that way. Just look at the race relations of this country. How Americans have treated blacks, Mexicans, Asians, the disabled, the mentally insane, Muslims, women, and now homosexuals. Up until the 1960’s whites and blacks could not intermarry. It’s the same form of discrimination. It just blows my mind how people cannot see that. How Californians cannot be upset that we have written DISCRIMINATION into our state’s constitution. Some people are blaming blacks and Mexicans for the passage of prop 8, saying their votes accounted for the overall passage. I say we cannot blame a particular group; we must move forward and educate.
We are living in a culture war these days, and the 21st century will be the civil rights movement for the gays. In my opinion it’s about being afraid of something different than you or give full equality and rights to ALL Americans. Those who opposed proposition 8 just need to remember that four letter word, Hope. This is not the end and we will NOT give up on our rights. If you would like to get involved in the fight to repeal proposition 8 sign the petition at

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Enough is Enough

“Kill him, kill him! Traitor! Terrorist! Muslim! Off with his head!”
No these words were not shouted about the infamous terrorist Osama Bin Laden, but actually the Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama. In the last two weeks these racial slurs and threats were yelled during McCain/Palin rallies. What did the McCain campaign do about these horrible things being said? Nothing, absolutely nothing.
The Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, in fact encourages the false rumors of Obama being a terrorist even saying that he’s “palling around with terrorists” and that “he’s not one of us”. Most people are accustomed to “dirty politics” but where is the line drawn?
I believe the line has been crossed. It is one thing to attack your opponent on disagreements over the issues, but the McCain campaign has done something completely different. Accusing someone’s moral character and their patriotism is too much. McCain and Palin have even gone as far as saying Obama hangs around domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers. Ayers founded a radical political group in the turbulent 60’s that was blamed from several bombings when Obama was a young child, but is now a professor at the University of Illinois. Obama served on a charity board in Chicago but other than that there is no other real connection.
It’s obvious to me that instead of focusing on the issues, McCain is realizing he is behind in the polls and are going to stop at nothing to win, which I think really reflects the kind of man John McCain is. It’s ironic because according to most polls the undecided voters are looking through the attacks and feel enough is enough. Even during the last presidential debate McCain tried attacking Obama but smoothly Obama turned everything back around on the issues. Americans are evidently tired of the attacks and are looking for serious approaches to the ails we face everyday with a dwindling economy, a weakened healthcare system, and the fight against global warming.
At the beginning of both campaigns each pledged that they would take the high road and run a clean campaign. I know that the Obama campaign has had their share of attacks saying John McCain is “reckless and unstable”. However when Obama has been called a Muslim, traitor, and terrorist at McCain’s rallies and the campaign did not denounce these lies I think there is something wrong here.
In reality Barack Obama has been a Christian his entire life. Nevertheless, as Colin Powell puts it “the really right answer is what if he is?” Sadly this campaign has brought us to the fact that some Americans are still behind with the strides our country has made. The McCain campaign and some of its supporters have shown that America still has a long way to go.
Instead of using more scare tactics, maybe John McCain should make his approach to fixing the economy clear and get back to the issues because this strategy of portraying his opponent as a “terrorist harboring traitor” is not working for him. He might be convincing Republicans, but they are not the ones who need convincing. Stick to the issues John, you’re just making yourself look worse than you already do!

I wrote this for my school's newspaper, I don't think the average student will even care or understand what's going on, but hopefully i reached out to a few. I think it's important to remember what kind of campaign McCain ran against Obama, it shows how far we still have to go in this country.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This Wretched Woman

Eve Ensler, the American playwright, performer, feminist and activist best
known for 'The Vagina Monologues', wrote the following about Sarah Palin:

Drill, Drill, Drill

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night
that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have
spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is
antithetical to
Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to
saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, 'It was a task from God.'

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will
determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to
get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, 'Drill Drill Drill.' I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

Eve Ensler
September 5, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Republican Convention

I don't know how long I can stand to watch this. I tell myself the only way to be an observer in political science is to watch the other side. Honestly it makes me sick the way they use the fear factor. Rudy Giuliani says that the democrats were scared to mention islamic terrorists in their convention, it's sad how they use terrorism to scare the American people. He says that John McCain will make our country safe. How can our country be prosperous and safe when it's not healthy, when we are economically unstable. What's more important? Spending trillions of dollars on the Iraq War or making sure every American has health care and lives above the poverity line? It stuns me.
I see these Republicans speak and look into the audience and see all older white people most of them with cowboy hats on. I look at the keynote speakers all white males with the exception of Palin. I also hear the redneck country music that plays before commercial breaks. It's all frightening and somehow crudely humorous. Then I remember the happy joyous convention that the Democrats held. The convention where there was diversity in the crowd, where the speakers didn't use fear tactics like terrorists but actually spoke about issues that affects Americans everyday. They didn't have to frighten Americans with the middle eastern islamic terrorists, but appealed to the troubles we face everyday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Political Woman.

I am very interested in politics at the age of seventeen. Tonight I watched the Democratic Convention, as I did last night, but tonight was most inspiring. Hillary Clinton spoke and she was absolutely great. When Obama and Clinton were battling it out I didn't really have a preference towards one more than the other. I just wanted a Democrat to win office. Well now that Obama holds the nomination I got to appreciate Clinton. Tonight she spoke about her policies saying that Obama would follow through with them, she jabbed at McCain saying we cannot endure four more years of another Republican administration. Then she talked about health care as she usually does. I loved how she ended the speech by making me empowered as a woman. She made me feel so proud to be a woman. Then she related it all back to how Barack Obama should be president and you are not a Clinton supporter without supporting him. She was great, just great. Honestly if McCain wins i will try my hardest to leave the country and study abroad because all the hope I conjured up in this election in the American people will be lost. I do not understand how people can still believe lies...