Archive for the 'Prop 8 and marriage equality' Category


M.A.S., Inc.

Yep, it’s been awhile.  My new blog home takes all my time and energy. (And why aren’t you a member yet???)

But things have been happening in RL too.  I got engaged last week – yippee!! 🙂  Good stuff.  We’re finally taking the M.A.S. public!  (Who’s the b-school grad?) lol

I’ve been thinking about my own wedding for the last decade or so (not, as pop culture would insist, since I was a little girl, nor do I subscribe to the idea that it will be the best or most important day of my life [so far]…that will be my MIT graduation!  Dr. Redstar…someday…).  I have attended probably 30 weddings, and been in a slew of them as a bridesmaid or reader and even minister.  (That was my personal best on the wedding circuit.  They say that day was really about my friends who married, but I was like, whee!  All these people are here to see me up on this altar!  I do love the pulpit!)  My mind wanders from the finer details of dresses and venues to the broader issues of feminism, materialism, and equality.

So I’m pleased to see these concurrent posts on weddings at Shakesville and Feministing, concerning LGBTQI inclusive weddings and feminist ceremonies.  At least now you know what I’m thinking about, even if I’m not around these parts much anymore.


on a happier note…

same-sex couples can marry in Connecticut beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, November 12.

My mom is actually a justice of the peace in CT and has a bevvy of women friends who might want her ceremonial services!  Wheeee!!!!


Taking it all in

Like Ta-Nehisi, I process events and emotions slowly.  I’m particularly likely to hold it together when others are coming undone (whether in euphoria or despair), but I’ll always need a shoulder or ear much later.  In fact, by then, I’ll usually have internalized everyone else’s responses.

What I’m finding with Obama’s election is that my bitterness from Tuesday night is subsiding, and a contentment and curious, guarded optimism is emerging.  I’m working on letting go of my Democratic primary grudge, and I’m discovering that my skepticism and even dislike of Obama has freed me up to enjoy his transition more freely than those who seem to have rather exorbitant expectations of him in terms of shattering the political mold.  While I agree with NYC Weboy that Obama couldn’t close the deal in June, his success in the general election has all but reassured me that he knows what the hell he’s doing, and thus I also suspect he has a plan for governing.

I’ve been reading a lot of election coverage, trying to sort out what interests me now that the horserace is over, and also to see how quickly we rewrite history.  The narratives in the Newsweek quadrennial “secrets of the campaign” (!!!eleventy1!!11!!!!) report are predictable: Obama was flawless, Clinton was a mess (with an added twist: her husband made her run, she didn’t really want it), McCain was just being himself, misunderstood loner that he is.  What’s much more compelling is a sociologists’ debate via book reviews written last spring ($) about the 2008 election, movement vs. party politics, and the potential candidates who might lead us into the future.

What leapt out at me in Norval Glenn’s review of Todd Gitlin’s The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals, and Obama’s Audacity of Hope is how Obama appears to have united the Democratic Party by

[emphasizing] a few key goals—including universal health care, energy conservation, environmental sustainability…while being willing to jettison other progressive goals…for the sake of enlarging the big tent. [Obama does] not jettison a woman’s right to choose abortion but [does] not demonize pro-lifers…[he strives] to include proponents of opposing points of view…”

Glenn points out the shelf life on all this “unity” may be brief.  Agreed.  Nonetheless, as someone who is both politically radical in her worldviews and fairly pragmatic in her daily work, I am really impressed with Obama’s success and am sanguine about the possibilities for liberal progress under an Obama Administration.  It helps that I don’t consider Obama a progressive…yet?

Because the other eye-opening experience for me in the ’08 election is sensing the opportunity to grapple with reconciling my progressive, hell radical, principles with the opportunities to advance a more liberal policy agenda in the U.S.  For the last 8 years, I have become much more politically aware and active, and yet have never had the pleasure (or disappointment – YMMV) of ever hopping up from my extremely defensive crouch.  That is, the Bush Administration and GOP-dominated Congress was so awful, so oppressive, so unequal, that it was my norm to accept funding for the Gulf Coast through Iraq War supplemental bills.  What choice did I, a progressive and social justice advocate have in trying to work with the Bush Administration, if I wanted resources and power for my communities, constituents, clients, etc.?

I don’t expect, nor do I hope to face, such an extreme “choice” under Obama.  But what follows is that I, as an activist and citizen, will also be expected to make reasonable, thoughtful compromises.  This is an extremely abstract principle, obviously.  Clearly, realities such as mortgages, childrearing, gender, and core values structure our lives and our ability to agitate against or benefit from government policies.  That said, what appeals to me about the Obama Administration is my relatively newfound sense of the possibility for proactive involvement in government.  My goodness, I sound like I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid! But honestly, this really stems from the profound relief I felt on Tuesday night as the results poured in.  The era of extremes is over.

As a scholar I’m interested in conflict and contradictions in politics and political advocacy.  Why do we think our mixed-income housing policies benefit “communities” when they often harm and displace existing low-income residents?  Etc.  In Obama’s win, there are myriad contradictions and points of conflict that paint a much more complex and realistic picture of the world we live in: the fallout over Prop 8 in CA, the mixed emotions of Muslim voters over Obama’s victory, voter “suppression” due to severe poverty and joblessness, and the presence of Bush appointees and less savory Clintonistas in the Administration.  Sociologist Fred Block attributes such outcomes to Obama’s own contradictory message:

…Obama has crafted his central message to appeal to a much broader audience. His surprising campaign for the Democratic nomination has been clever in combining two basically incompatible political appeals. The first is his use of the rhetoric of a community organizer who invites his listeners to stop sitting around, get active, and build a movement that will get him elected and make real change possible in society. This language of extra-parliamentary mobilization insists that the established political system is weighted in favor of existing elites and that only continuing mobilization can win real reforms. The second is a classical “good government” critique of partisan bickering and “business as usual” in Washington. The proposed solution is to move beyond partisanship and work with those whom we disagree to hammer out new policies. The incompatibility, of course, is that one approach increases polarization while the other seeks to diminish it…When he has been most effective, Obama has used this rhetoric to win votes from both the most progressive and the most conservative wings of the Democratic Party.

Through most of the campaign, my progressive rigidity ruled the day.  I generally disliked Obama’s politics of conciliation, and liked Clinton specifically because she was partisan and strident.  But with Obama’s victory, I’m entering a period of reconsideration – I’m trying on his politics of compromise, if you will.  Because why not?  There might be a viable fit here.  Isn’t this what the transition is for?

If not, I’ve always been a bulimic shopper, and I’ll never outgrow my cloak of relentless outrage. (Available in all sizes!!!).


Black Homophobia and White Appalachian Racism

Now that the election is over, can we agree to think more analytically and carefully about a couple of popular memes going forward? Can we get to some truths and action opportunities versus defeatist generalizations?

Homophobia in the black community led to the passage of Prop 8.

(Working-class) Whites in Appalachia are racist and won’t vote for Sen. Obama.

Speaking of the working-class, the AFL-CIO is proud of union turnout for Sen. Obama. Check out their terrific stats.



or not.

The only two demographic groups among whom Kerry outperformed Obama are 65+ voters and gays and lesbians.

Pizza Diavola has more on just why that might be.