12.11.08

a special comment about special comments and anti-prop 8 protests

So this video of Keith Olbermann's very moving special comment on gay marriage and Prop. 8 has been making the rounds:



And the headlines have been, if not dominated, then at least strong-armed, by the anti-Prop.8 protestapalooza that's been going on.

It's all very well and good. Although I question the tactical value of the protests at this stage of the struggle - it's in the hands of the lawyers and the courts now - and worry that too much protesting will dull the impact of these mass gatherings, I not only understand, but share the outrage.

Yet I have to ask: where was Keith Olbermann before November 4th? Where were the people of influence, the soap-box orators, the movers and shakers? It's easy to get upset now, to wave fists and signs after the fact. But setting aside the No On 8 reactive campaign - shouldn't that ad narrated by Sam Jackson have aired sooner rather than in the waning days before the election? - the unfortunate truth is that we didn't do enough. I include myself in this "we." I - we - didn't do enough to reach out to the people to let them know the real cost, the high price, of discrimination. We just didn't. Maybe we took it for granted, thinking that surely in this brave new 21st century, in this golden state, people would not be so cruel as to vote for something so base and mean as Proposition 8. Maybe those hesitant, fluttering spikes in the polls gave us a fall sense of hope. Whatever the reason, we didn't do what we had to do.

Olbermann's comment is a model of eloquence and passion - and of the cavalry arriving too late.

2 comments:

pennermag said...

I totally agree with you about this. I think the failure to use big mouth commentators and celebrities and to reach out to voters BEFORE the election is a problem.

The Evangelical/Mormon playbook reads a lot like the Obama playbook. They made a huge effort to target all kinds of people and that made the difference, I think. (Not to mention that endless bout of sleazy commercials).

Frederik Sisa said...

That's a good comparison. The No on 8 campaign allowed themselves to be put on the defensive, in part because they underestimated the Forces of Intolerance, and the result is that they lost their broad appeal.