How Prop 8 Passed

Paul Bogan writes angrily yet eloquently about California passing Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriages. One of his points is that Californians could not possibly have misunderstood the clear wording of the bill.

This is East Coast Thinking, which I understand because I spent more time there than here. On the east coast, when someone cuts you off on the parkway, you think, “What an asshole!” But when you get to California, everyone seems so nice. In short order, your perception of your fellow residents changes. Then, when someone cuts you off on the freeway, you think, “What an idiot!” I’ve spoken with a lot of California transplants on this exact issue and it’s pretty unanimous.

This election, I voted no on darn near every prop1, and I did this because I actually took the better part of a day to research them all. However, I think most people do research at the voting booth. They skim and make a gut reaction.

That’s why we voted for a $10B down payment on a train to San Francisco. Yes, people, it’s a down payment! It will cost way more – maybe 2-3 times that! Can’t we start with decent local public transportation first? JetBlue is already doing a fine job flying us to SF. I want a train that takes me from Huntington Beach to the Santa Monica Promenade, Hollywood and Highland, and Old Town Pasadena.2 If you insist on building a bullet train to somewhere cool, make it Las Vegas. San Fran is perhaps the coolest city in America, but it’s crazy expensive. Even with gambling and strip clubs, Vegas is downright cheap in comparison.3

Ignorance and misguided compassion is also why we voted for $980M for children’s hospitals when we just allotted $750M in 2004. Newsflash: we still have $350M of that yet to grant, under the same rules as this prop. This is akin to taking a huge cash advance on our credit card when we’re already knee deep in debt and we don’t even need the money!

I understand how Paul – who is obviously so wise in the way of (political) science – might think Californians could not possibly be dumb enough to vote incorrectly on Prop 8. However, the commercials that called for no on 8 were vague on what you were voting against. They made it clear you were voting against discrimination, but never said of what. I think a lot of people heard prop 8 was the gay marriage bill and thought, “Why, I think Gay Bill’s a swell guy. He should totally have the right to get married. Yes on 8!” OK, maybe not that bad, but just yesterday I heard a guy call into Headline news4 to say that he was not gay, and that he “really, really loves the ladies”, but he thought gays should have the right to get married. Unfortunately, the drafters of said proposition used “confusing language” and he accidentally voted yes when he meant no. Is he the exception that proves the rule? Maaaaaaybe. But I’m often reminded of a quote from the late, great George Carlin:

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

Of course, he also said:

“In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem.”

  1. Yes on 11 and 12, if you must know. []
  2. Yes, I realize that in 5 years, through the wonders of “gentrification”, they’ll all be the same place. Like when I discovered that San Diego’s Gaslamp District was a carbon copy of Old Town Pasadena (or vice-versa). Now, the Promenade is slowly remaking itself into the image of The Grove. SoCal is becoming one big homogenized crap factory. []
  3. Probably because because SF has better, more expensive strip clubs. []
  4. Why they accept phone calls now I cannot fathom. It’s not news; hell, it’s barely opinions. HLN: If you need more filler, just show your sexy female news anchors shooting coy looks at the camera, maybe biting their lip a little. On slow days, licking a lollipop or sensuously eating a banana. Ratings will skyrocket. []

3 thoughts on “How Prop 8 Passed”

  1. Nothing makes me madder than dumb Californians wasting the money of other dumb Californians. Like me.

    I think a lot of what you say is true; people make their decisions at the booth, under extreme time pressure, by remembering the commercial that they saw last week. The high-speed train commercial talked about creating jobs. Lots and lots of jobs. But it only took me a microsecond to realize that these jobs are paid by MY money. And as you say, they are stupid jobs, creating a railway line that nobody wants. Vegas would have been a much better destination choice. Better yet, create a workforce of rickshaw drivers that takes you places. This would have created thousands more jobs, and at lower wage levels. Everybody gets a job !!

    Maybe Californians ARE stupid. Which would make the passage of Prop.8 stupid as well. Oh wait, I voted to support that one. Sorry about that, everyone; it’s not that I hate your gender choice. I don’t. It’s just that the state of California should never have gotten into the marriage business, hetero or homosexual version. I vote for all civil marriages to be *upgraded* to civil unions. Only those married in a church (or mail-order-church) can claim marriage. And may God smite you if you ever get divorced.

    Come to think of it… fake churches and ministers would create jobs. Lots and lots of jobs.

  2. Yes, I share you radical ideas on civil unions and probably go a step further. I think marriages should be nothing more than contracts, so divorce is a matter of renegotiating or terminating your contract. Not my idea, it was a minor part of a cyberpunk short story – a couple’s 5 year marriage contract was up and they had to renew it. But it struck me as an urbane way to solve the divorce problem.

    And it doesn’t have to make the lawyers rich – just like with renting, you’d be able to buy standard forms at Kinkos. You register your contract with the govt. and you get whatever benefits come standard. For your social status, you have your church/temple marriage or commitment ceremony. But they’re not legally binding.

    I remember hearing that govt. grants benefits to married people because it was trying to incentivize child bearing. Nowadays fewer married couples are having kids, esp. the smart and educated (present company excluded). And the dumb ones don’t see marriage as a requirement for making babies. Just watch the hilarious but insightful Idiocracy.

    If for some reason we still want to incentivize child bearing, let’s do it directly. Oh, wait, we already do that through the tax code and welfare programs. So remind me again, why does the govt. feel the need to control marriage?

  3. Wow. That’s heavy. I thought the marriage code was formalized to control distribution of property and its movement to heirs. But if the state of California is now promoting the generation of children then that’s something else altogether.

    But it makes sense. Back when California was preparing to become a state, the land was sparcely populated and mostly by itinerant miners and other “undesirables.” To start towns you needed people to build churches, schools, mayoral residences. You can only do this with an increasing population and a stable system of acquiring and distributing wealth. Ergo, the marriage code.

    And you wouldn’t be interested in unions that did not produce children. Older couples were allowed to marry back then because they may have had the time to accrue lots of wealth and you had to make that wealth grow in the new state. Gay people did not have the clout to push for equal treatment back then. If they did, we may have had the civil unions from the very start and this whole issue would have never existed.

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