Friday, November 05, 2004


what happened to the coalition of the willing?

1) As Newsday put it: "Did they or didn't they". Apparently, there is considerable debate as to whether or not the youth vote increased or not, or made any kind of difference or not. Keep in mind - part of the problem here is that the only real "evidence" we have to go on are exit polls, most of which are notoriously rife with errors (like the CNN poll that said Kerry would win Ohio. Oops).

As David has been passionately arguing in the previous post's comments, it does seem that the overall number of youth did indeed increase. At the same time, others are still arguing that percentage of youth compared to the rest of the voting public was still the same. Our head hurts.

In scouring the news reports, we're now inclined to nod back to David's assessment, especially after reading what the Boston Globe had to say on the issue.

18-34 who voted: Pop Life apologizes for our French. Except to those youth who voted Bush. You still get the middle (what middle?), the finger.

2) Another controversy is pitting Left against Left. Did fears over gay marriage help Bush win, especially in conservative leaning swing states like Ohio? This S.F. Chronicle article sums up the differing views.

Personally, I disagree with Feinstein if she's implying that, had there not been a push for gay marriage, Bush might have lost. Even without the controversy, the GOP could have found another wedge issue to lure out ignorant, fundamentalist, extremist bigots - otherwise known as the Christian Right - to vote Bush back into office. On the other hand, considering that Ohio apparently just made it illegal to even utter the word "gay" in their state (I overstate, but not by much), one does wonder if the gay marriage ban had not been on the ballot, would that have reduced the number of conservatives coming out to the polls and presumably voting for Bush in the process? We have no way of really knowing but it doesn't seem too coincidental that the GOP was able to exploit this to their gain: it's right up Rove Alley.

The scariest potential irony is that if homophobic fears, spurred by the wave of gay marriages in S.F. and Massachusetts, did help Bush to a margin of victory, it also means that he'll be the one to appoint judges - especially on the Supreme Court - who will ideologically share his views on the matter. After all, you can surely expect all of these state amendments to come under legal attack and barring a U.S. Constitutional Amendment, it's likely going to be the federal judicial system that will ultimately determine the legality of these state laws or not. With Bush in power, claiming that Anthony Scalia is his model justice, the situation looks especially bleak.

Let me be clear: I am not in favor of this logic that pushing to recognize gay marriages was "too much, too soon." From my perspective, homophobia is one of the few forms of mass bigotry that is still state-sanctioned. Just as anti-miscegenation laws finally fell in the 1960s (the 1960s people, that's not that long ago), I think we'll see the same happen with gay marriage bans (eventually). You have to start somewhere: the Civil Rights Movement didn't desegregate the South the moment people started to run sit-ins at lunch counters. And I am sure there were many, back then, who argued that it was "too much, too soon." However, what was true then and now is that what is morally and ethically right is not always what's in step with political reality or even possibility.