October 8th, 2004 | Published in Uncategorized
Good to see the Oregon voters’ pamphlets arrive in the mail today. Al and I are planning to sit down and have a pamphlet night so we’re ready when our ballots arrive in the mail (which is about ten days away).
It’s also good there’s at least a little playful detournement going on in the “for and against” section of the pamphlet dealing with constitutional amendment 36. (Click that sample to read a prime example, but there are others.)
I don’t have a ton more to say at this point, except to note that the drift of the “for” arguments (there are 10 pages of them) seems to be that this is a matter of “common sense” and teaching “elitist liberals” a lesson in democracy. There are 14 pages of “against” arguments, but I haven’t read them very closely yet, either.
It seems that if Oregon’s in play this year on the presidential election front, it might be because of the unfortunate energizing effect this particular matter had on right wing voters. Some have made the argument that this wedge was created at the national level, with constitutional amendment 36 being a consequence of things besides Multnomah County’s own queer marriage initiatives, but others believe the way in which the matter was handled locally stirred the push to get this on the ballot.
It certainly seems that the issue has largely disappeared from national debate, but I’m not enough of a political analyst (not one at all, really) to have an opinion on whether the fact it came up at all was a matter of the right merely setting things in motion without wanting to campaign over them too stridently, or if it was something that was considered as a useful wedge issue, then pushed to the rear as better red meat issues presented themselves.
This will go down as a year of bad choices.
I believe the commissioners acted on conscience, but they did so in a context of broader concerns, at a point where angering a particular voting bloc into mobilizing more than might be normal could have an effect on more races than the local ones.