Sunday, December 7, 2008

The blame game

There’s an Op-Ed piece in today’s New York Times that takes a stab at explaining why Prop 8 succeeded. It examines the issue of race, which others have brought up as the critical issue that contributed to Prop 8’s passage (Bill O’Reilly in particular). Others added evidence for blaming the blacks as well as the Mormons. In today’s Times, authors Caitlin Flanagan and Benjamin Schwarz seek to discredit these assertions. Their argument is persuasive, but still misses the point. Keith Olbermann I think has been the only commentator to get the issue at least partially right, and that is if blacks did play an important role in Prop 8’s success, it was not because of antipathy toward gays within the black community (though it exists within the religious subsets of all groups), but because of an incredibly ignorant blunder by the gay lobby to barely spend any of its millions within that community. At least Hendrik Hertzberg’s article in the New Yorker gets it partly right by addressing this issue.

“(The gay lobby was) complacent: early polls had shown Prop. 8 losing by double digits,” Hertzberg wrote in his Dec. 1 article. “Their television ads were timid and ineffective, focussing (sic) on worthy abstractions like equality and fairness, while the other side’s were powerfully emotional.”

Not to forget outright mendacious. If we are to succeed – and don’t kid yourself, there is no guarantee of success – we must learn that we need to raise and spend more money than the other side and directly address the issues it presents. This is not about fairness; that calumny is worthless to our struggle. The point that needs to be clearly made loudly and often is we are the ones who are pro-marriage, while the other side is truly the side that is anti-marriage.

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