Being an anxious and early voter, I casted four ballots yesterday that decided the fate of 34 propositions and nine offices. I vote in San Francisco. Our voting agenda has fueled jokes from comedians and PACs alike.
For example, The League of Young Voters (aka “The League”) called our city-issued voter guide a “phone book” due to the amount of propositions that were included, and Dave Chappelle, who graced the SF Punchline Comedy Club all of last week, teased the amount of funding given to certain propositions via commercial time versus others. A comparison of two State Propositions (6 and 8) can reveal why the “snaps” from folks like the League and Brother Chappelle are deserved. Both Propositions 6 and 8 sought to threaten human equality and civil rights, but only one enjoyed extensive fanfare and national coverage.
Proposition 8 seeks to eliminate the right of same sex marriage. It is a ridiculous attack on human equality and even Chappelle joked about its backwardness, particularly its endorsement commercials which sought to obfuscate the issue. I vehemently oppose such an outmoded attack on anyone’s basic rights and wonder who missed the Rev. Dr. MLK, Jr. memo regarding the fact that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’?
On the same note, Proposition 6, requires a “minimum of $965,000,000 of state funding each year for police and local law enforcement,” and it makes approximately 30 revisions to California criminal law.” I think The League’s summation of this proposition breaks it down. They posit that “this is a crass and vindictive attempt to demonize the poor, immigrants, and youth of color in order to pump more money into California’s failed and bloated prison system,” as it allows for the prosecution of children as young as 14, denies undocumented immigrants’ right to bail, and targets families’ housing assistance if associated members do not pass criminal background checks. Where were the human rights zealots, celebrities from Hollywood and Unions’ commercials to highlight the affects of Proposition 6, as they did for Proposition 8? Injustice anywhere?
City and County Propositions ranged from K, which seeks to decriminalize prostitution and sex work, but also defunds alternative rehabilitation and support programs in the nonprofit sector, to R, which would rename a sewage treatment plant after George W Bush. This is my second time voting in San Francisco as I am recent resident, yet I see a troubling trend between today’s election and last June’s ballot options.
Clarity, focus and equal coverage of key human rights issues will be the challenge to SF’s claim to diversity and democratic ideals. While I don’t know what tonight will bring, I do know that election agenda items that secure housing for economically underdeveloped African Americans, such as Proposition F from our June 3rd election have not passed previously. In a city where black people are disappearing like bathwater down a drain, we need more than rhetoric to solidify what Rev. Dr. MLK, Jr. proposed.
Indeed, I am committed to organizing better in my social network for the next local election. This includes making sure my peer group has a trusted presence at meetings where propositions are written and revised. The implications of the local election propositions that I mentioned reach beyond Obama, and they are equally worth our attention and voice.
Visit Dawn Elissa-Fischer’s website: www.DEFprofessor.com