Today’s Los Angeles Daily News had an opinion piece in what remains of their editorial pages, headlined “Propositions boost odds for bottom of GOP ticket” and subtitled “In California, the defense of marriage ban could prove very useful to the Republican minority.”Â (They don’t really mean “defense of marriage ban,” they mean either “defense of marriage” or “gay marriage ban,” but that’s a separate issue.)
The gist of the article is that in California, many Republicans feel that they’re not going to be able to carry the state for McCain, so “state political leaders” are trying to pump up the conservative voter turnout by using ballot propositions instead.
In this election, the hot-button propositions for energizing discouraged conservatives are #4 and #8.Â Proposition 4 is yet another attempt to force young girls to get parental (or judicial) permission before getting an abortion, and Proposition 8 is aimed at amending the state constitution to overturn the recent legalization of same-sex marriage.
Similar abortion propositions have failed multiple times in the past.Â The anti-gay-marriage proposition has already spawned extremely toxic TV ads playing to the worst fears of the religious right.Â I favor no political party (a pox on all their houses) but it seems to me that any intelligent conservative voter by rights should be insulted by this strategy, which appears to portray them as terrified troglodytes.
Conservatives, at least on paper, are in favor of less government intrusion.Â They are for free enterprise and free markets and free will.Â And yet what their “leaders” are cynically trying to do is use the power of the government to force back the tide of human progress.Â Are conservatives so incredibly fearful of the reality of the 21st century?Â It certainly appears that a lot of them are.Â They want children to be the sole property of their parents (regardless of how abusive those parents might be) and they want to write their religion into law despite the First Amendment’s explicit prohibition against doing so.
I hope this strategy backfires as loudly as it deserves to, by energizing the people who oppose these measures to turn out in record numbers.Â The constant fearmongering and attempts to shout back the tide of human progress have to be answered by the voice of We The People.Â The reactionaries won’t give up easily, but the more often their proposals are voted down, the more likely they’ll get the message.
Over a century ago (how appropriate) Elizabeth Allen wrote a poem that seems to personify the GOP strategy of today.Â “Backward, turn backward, Oh time, in your flight, Make me a child again, just for to-night!”Â (You can read the entire poem here.)Â Let’s hope that plenty of California voters make it clear that the past is not such a lovely place that we need to return to it.