On Saturday, I met with some hard-working union friends in Costa Mesa to walk a neighborhood for Debbie Cook. As always, the pre-walk rally was great! Debbie fired up the crowd as she talked about what she would do to actually serve us in the district. Local labor leaders talked about what we can do to translate enthusiasm for Obama into votes for local Democrats. All in all, I felt quite good about what I was about to do to help Debbie win.
I also felt good about going out and talking to voters about Proposition 8. For all of you unfamiliar with California politics, we often govern by initiative because of our dysfunctional state government. Unfortunately, the radical right has used the initiative process to try to pass horrible legislation that wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day in Sacramento. Prop 8 is one of these horrid radical right power plays that would overturn marriage equality in California and reinstate a Plessy v. Ferguson style segregation that treats gay and lesbian couples as inferior to straight couples. The polls on Prop 8 are close now, so we can’t take anything for granted. That’s why I included Prop 8 in my walk.
After the rally, I walked with a friend from the local Young Democrats club in a Republican leaning area near the 405 Freeway in Costa Mesa. At first, I was disheartened by all the "Yes on 8" and "McCain-Palin" signs I saw on the street. But as I began talking to the voters on our list, my experience wasn’t so demoralizing. In fact, I found a few undecided Republicans, two houses with Debbie Cook signs up, and a beautiful 90 year old woman who smiled as she told me she was voting for Debbie Cook and against Prop 8! All in all, that’s not so bad for a "Republican stronghold"!
On Sunday, I shifted to the small southwestern portion of Santa Ana that lies in the 46th Congressional District. Specifically, I walked the neighborhood across the street from mine which has sizable Latino and Vietnamese populations. And while this neighborhood is less Republican than the Costa Mesa neighborhood I walked the previous day, I knew it would still be an uphill battle here. So what happened?
I was in for some pleasant surprises! I met a wonderful 80 year old woman who was glad to hear about Debbie Cook and was already voting no on 8. I met a fantastic 60+ couple who have been volunteering for MoveOn.org, so they were very receptive to what I had to say! I found a couple more undecided Republicans and some young voters who appreciated my last minute reminder to vote. So again, the final results weren’t as bad as I had originally expected.
So what does this all mean? Hopefully, this means that we can win if we work for it! Despite all the talk of whether or not Obama will "win by a landslide!", we can’t be sidetracked into post-election punditry when we still have an election to actually win! And despite all the talk about California being "safe", it’s NOT! It’s not safe for marriage equality, but on the other hand it’s also not safe for corrupt Republicans.