I am Canadian so you can probably guess how I would have voted if I could have on Proposition 8 (the California constitutional amendment to define marriage as only between a man and a woman).
My views are not the point of this post. I am very concerned about what is playing out – online and in real life between the two sides of this issues following the passage of the amendment.
First of all we live in a democracy – the people of California voted for it – albeit by a small percentage but that was the will of the people.
When I look at this I think well the way the NO side wins is by doing all the work the YES side did last time – only better. They go and put an amendment to the constitution on the ballot and then build support for it.
The NO campaign assumed it couldn’t loose, was badly organized, didn’t have a comprehensive strategy for building support for its side across diverse communities throughout California. (The YES campaign was on the ground engaging with the black church community for example – they never saw anyone from the NO side come to their communities to engage them on the issue).
As the vote approach the NO side in a final very flawed move started attacking in television adds those who funded the YES side of the proposition and in particular the Mormon Church.
It was this turn of events that has lead into quite disturbing actions and behaviors by the NO campaign post election.
The blacklisting and subsequent public harassment and targeting of specific people and specific religious groups for their beliefs and support of YES on prop 8 is wrong.
I take this personally, I have and do work with people who are Mormon – (When I played water polo in university and in the Identity field). I respect the LDS church and the people in it – they have good values. Their religion is a very American one too (like Christian Science its origins are on this continent). Watch the Frontline/American Experience 4 hour documentary on the history of the church and their experience as a people/religious group.
A close personal family member I know also voted YES and for all I know could have donated.
When mobs start appearing at places of residence of YES contributors and their businesses. It makes me worried.
I thought about this issue earlier in the campaign when I wrote this post There are a lot of donkey’s in my neighborhood (and I know who they are)
because she did about 60 gay ‘activists’ went to her restaurant and strong armed her in a scene reminiscent to Nazi Germany. They went down a list of people who gave as little as 100 dollars to boycott, harrass and attack them. They went there to ‘confront’ her for giving a measley hundred bucks based on her personal faith that she has had since childhood. They argued with her and it was reported by local news reporters was a “heated” confrontation.
So is this the America we want? Where if a private citizen wants to participate in the governmental process that they be harrassed and acosted. Their freedom of speech chilled by thugs.
The artistic director, Scott Eckern, came under fire recently after it became known that he contributed $1,000 to support Proposition 8…
In a statement issued on Wednesday morning, Mr. Eckern said that his donation stemmed from his religious beliefs — he is a Mormon — and that he was “deeply saddened that my personal beliefs and convictions have offended others.”
Phillip Fletcher, a Palo Alto dentist who donated $1,000 to the campaign, is featured prominently on a Web site listing donors targeted for boycott. He said two of his patients already have left over the donation.
The night Obama won and there was a party in the main street 6 blocks from my house – I had a moment of insight into the future. This was a happy celebratory Mob – it was basically safe. People were texting their friends and telling them where it was inviting them to join. I Tweeted about it so 900 people knew about it and where it was. I also knew that this new technology of texting and presence based real time information creates an increased capacity for mob formation. It made me wonder about the cultural skills and capacities we need to develop to interrupt mob behavior turning bad.
I think what is going on with the blacklists – that are directly targeting people in their private life is wrong. I think targeting specific religious institutions for protest is wrong.
These people and these religious institutions are not propagating HATE they are just not agreeing that marriage can be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. This is a cultural difference of opinion.
I “get” where many of the gay activists are coming from – but it is not a place that will get them what they want. Many “fled” to the Bay Area to find a community and place where they could be who they were (gay, lesbian, queer, transgender etc). They were raised in conservative churches in other parts of the country that may have been explicitly anti-gay. They likely have strong feelings against these institutions and similar ones. It does not make it OK to the hate these people and act out against them. (If they want to proactively work on cultural change within these communities – Soul Force is doing a good job using nonviolence to work on change.)
We in the identity community need to understand what has unfolded here. The No on Prop 8 groups are using publicly available information. However this used to be information you could get if you went and asked for the paper versions from the court house. So it was public but with high friction to get the information. The web lowers the cost of getting this information (close) to zero – Daniel Solove writes about the change in publicly available information in the Digital Person.
I wonder about how we can balance the need to know who has contributed to political campaigns and propositions while at the same time prevent harassment and the emergence of negative physical and cyber mobs.