Back to Work

debbie.gifI’m mainly posting just to get this blog back on the weighty topics of rambling about videogame design and making shallow observations about pop culture, instead of whining about McCain and whatshername.

I tried my hardest to get all enthusiastic and inspired about the election, excited that the lines were too long for me to wait in the morning, thinking about record voter turnout and planning to head back into the city during lunch to do my civic duty, only to get knocked down yet again by the city’s idiotic ballot measures. Man, I’m driving my hybrid car over the Golden Gate bridge, thinking about clean energy and ending the wars and universal health care and equal rights for everyone, and San Francisco manages to smack me back over to Moderate.

There’s been at least one stupid, time-wasting measure on every ballot since I’ve lived in San Francisco, and this year it was a proposal to rename the city sewage treatment plant the “George W. Bush Sewage Plant.” Grow the hell up, morons. Or just change the measure to read, “Shall the City remain hopelessly out of touch with the world at large and continue to be dismissed as a laughing stock by the rest of the country?” I hate to think what we’d do if we didn’t have Berkeley to make fun of. (As friend Mike S. said: “The problem with that measure is that a sewage plant is useful.”)

And of course the more serious problem: for all the talk about a historic election and anything being possible in America and how having a black President is a victory for civil rights, two and a half states voted to write discrimination into their constitutions. As I’m writing this, California’s proposition 8 is leading by 4% with 50% of the precincts reporting. There’s no excuse for that. It simply should never have come up for a vote in the first place; the entire purpose of the judicial branch of government — the “activist judges” the assholes complain about — is to ensure that the rights of a minority are not subject to the will of a majority. It violates the system of checks and balances. The funding of these propositions violates the separation of church and state.

It’s unfair, it’s immoral, it’s intrusive, and it’s just plain wrong. The three million-as-of-this-writing people who voted for the proposition should be ashamed of themselves. Each one who voted “yes” decided to strip away the rights of strangers and try to convince these people that their relationships are inferior. The couples who they’re affecting have been told for years that they should be ashamed of who they are, and it’s long past the time for that kind of bullshit to stop. Any kind of legal system that forces consenting adults in San Francisco to have to justify their relationships to bigots in San Diego and over-stepping religious zealots in Utah is a legal system that is not functioning as intended.

But for now: we’ve got honest-to-goodness hopefulness. Not the desperate, polarized clutching-at-power of the last Democratic “victory” in Congress, but a real hope for change. An acknowledgement that things are broken, and that this is not how America is supposed to work. There have been plenty of attempts to undermine or trivialize Obama’s speeches as just rhetoric, from the vapid cynics so self-satisfied in their inaction they can no longer recognize true insight.

But that message is exactly what we need right now. We’ll see soon enough whether the policies of government work as promised, but government can’t work at all unless people are inspired to make it work. He’s already started to wipe away the fear, mistrust, paranoia, and divisiveness that have plagued us for as long as I’ve been an adult, and he hasn’t even taken office yet. This is the first election I can remember where I wasn’t voting against the “opposition,” and I wasn’t voting for a chosen party. And although I’ve got profound respect for Obama’s intelligence and leadership from what I’ve seen, I wasn’t even voting for the man. I was voting for an ideal.