Tuesday, October 28, 2008

not politics as usual

so i just got back from reno, where i was doing some canvassing for the obama campaign. stories and photos from that will be up soon, likely once i get an internet connection that will cooperate for longer than 2 minutes. highlights include many a terrorist fist jab, nearly getting the police called on us, chasing the best motorcycle in the world down reno's main drag, demonstrating time and time again that we were indeed from san francisco, and winning some money. oh, and seeing "change we can believe in" in person...

but, for now, the message of change that actually has me most captivated is from 30 years ago.

30 years ago, harvey milk, the first openly gay american elected official, was assassinated in san francisco, along with the mayor of sf. sean penn is starring in a movie about him, and there's also a fantastic (if dated) documentary about him. but, the reason harvey milk is on my mind right now is that it's 30 years after his assassination, 30 years after his message of change, and california is still on the verge of banning gay marriage. the vote on proposition 8 is shockingly close, and a lot of people in the city (myself included) are worried about it. the yes on 8 campaign has gotten a surge from their ads that include truth-stretching and blatant lies about the effect of the CA supreme court decision on gay marriage.

almost as a point of principle, i dislike political ads, regardless of whose side they're on. their partisanship usually means they're devoid of true content. i'm not sure whether to call currentTV's animation of harvey milk's most famous speech one of the very few exceptions to that rule, or to say that it's not really a political ad at all.

either way, it's not politics as usual--milk's speech is the closest thing the gay rights movement has ever had to an "i have a dream speech," and it's a travesty as well as a testament to our political climate most of the country has never heard it. and yes, prop 8 supporters, if i had my way, i'd teach it in schools.

"You Cannot Live on Hope Alone."