Wednesday, November 09, 2005

People Reject Nuts

Yesterday's elections show that the 2004 "mandate" has expired, the political capital has been spent, and people are coming back to their senses.

Common Sense Wins in Dover
In Dover, Pennsylvania, the Republican-dominated school board was trying to force Biology teachers to teach creationism as an alternative to evolution. The York Dispatch shows the following totals for board candidates, with all precincts counted -- lists are ranked by number of votes:

6-year terms
B Reinking Dem. 2754
H Mc Ilvaine, Jr. Dem. 2677
B Rehm Dem. 2625
T Emig Dem. 2716
A Bonsell Rep. 2469
J Cashman Rep. 2526
S Leber Rep. 2584
E Rowand Rep. 2547

2-Year Term
L Gurreri Dem. 2623
P Dapp Dem. 2670
J Mc Ilvaine Dem. 2658
E Riddle Rep. 2545
R Short Rep. 2544
S Harkins Rep. 2466

2-Year Unexp
P Herman Dem. 2542
D Napierskie Rep. 2516

In every category, the candidates with a "Rep." next to their name were the incumbents. And in every case, they were voted out of office. Note that the incoming candidates also plan to promote the teaching of "intelligent design," but in a comparative religions course, where it belongs -- not in Biology.

Maine Voters Respect Gay Rights
This year, the state of Maine amended their Human Rights Act by making it illegal to discriminate in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and education based on sexual orientation. There was a challenge to the new law, and they had a referendum. Let the AP tell you about it:
Maine voters decided Tuesday to keep the state´s gay rights law on the books, making Maine the last New England state to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.

With tallies from 72 percent of the state´s precincts, votes supporting the gay rights law were ahead 56 percent to 44 percent over those seeking to overturn the law that was approved by the Legislature earlier this year.

The vote "reaffirms the basic values that are intrinsic in Maine," said Gov. John Baldacci, who signed the law earlier this year before it was put on hold by the pending referendum. "Mainers don´t like discrimination ... if it happens to one person it happens to all of us." Maine voters keep gay rights law on the books

This is the third time this has been voted on. The first two times, people didn't accept it. This time, something's changed. Hard to say what.
The difference this time was a change in attitudes, "a strong and consistent message" and involvement of young people in the campaign, said Ted O´Meara of Maine Won´t Discriminate.

"Sometimes these struggles take time," said O´Meara.

Now, this next paragraph of the same news story has the key, I think, to our own situation in Montgomery County, where a radical minority objects to teaching about sexual variation in the public schools:
The issue, which was put to a statewide vote for the third time since 1998, pitted a coalition of mainstream religious and business groups and politicians against a network of Christian church groups that viewed gay rights as an assault on traditional marriage.

I think that's going to be what needs to happen here. The mainstream churches need to stand up to the nutty ones.

Other votes
Of course Democratic candidates won gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey. You knew that already. Says the AP, commenting on the Virginia race:
Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine won a solid victory in GOP-leaning Virginia, beating Republican Jerry Kilgore by more than 5 percentage points. Democrats crowed that Bush's election-eve rally for the former state attorney general only spurred more Kaine supporters to the polls. Democrats Win Elections in N.J. and Va.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, the incumbent Democratic candidate for mayor, Randy Kelly, was beaten badly, getting 31 percent of the vote to his opponent's 69 percent. As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune puts it:
The St. Paul race was overshadowed by partisan fury over Kelly's decision to endorse President Bush for reelection in 2004. A number of polls showed Kelly fighting a backlash in the largely DFL town over the endorsement. A Star Tribune Minnesota Poll showed that nearly two-thirds of likely voters said Kelly's decision to campaign for Bush influenced their choice of candidate.

The margin of victory seemed likely to mark the worst defeat for any mayoral contender in two decades in St. Paul and ended a 16-year drought among DFL-endorsed candidates there. Coleman and Rybak coast to victory

In California, according to the same AP story:
In California, Schwarzenegger failed in his push to rein in the Democrat-controlled Assembly. All four of his ballot measures flopped: Capping spending, removing legislators' redistricting powers, making teachers work five years instead of two to pass probation, and restricting political spending by public employee unions.

On the other hand, Texas voted to adopt that constitutional ban on marriage.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not unusual for ruling party to lose some support during mid-second term. Problem for the Democrats is they don't have feasible alternatives on the national level. How encouraging for Republicans that Hillary is the front runner! The Democrat party doesn't have much life left. Soon, the two major parties will be Moderate Republican and Conservative Republican.

November 09, 2005 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing about the vote against free speech in Dover: why is the mainstream media ignoring it? They've been playing up the lawsuit and now I had to go on the internet to find out about these results last night.

November 09, 2005 11:15 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I think the Dover story this morning is a minor one in the bigger picture, don't you? I'm sure they will get to it. And, anyway, it was the lawsuit that drew attention. And just as the religious extremists won the 1926 battle in Tennessee but lost the war, the same is happening here today.

I see the road ahead with a major fork in it. On one hand, the better choice, Americans wake up and realize they've kowtowed to religious bigots for far too long, they take back their communities and their country, and America once again, united, can be a light unto the nations. As the former Prime Minister of Ireland said last week, American behavior over the past five years has been shameful, and the world is in despair over our lack of leadership. And we know here that the seeds of that behavior reach back into the 60's.

The other possibility is that states such as Kansas condemn their youth to an inferior education while the other red states make it clear they want nothing to do with the LGBT community while their cultures continue their downward spiral on their own. Quality universities will no longer accept Kansas graduates, since they will be taught misleading science, and religion dressed up in their new definition of science, with unapproved textbooks. Intelligent and creative LGBT folks will leave their homes, however difficult that may be, and go where they are wanted. Young women forced to bear children will struggle in their home states and continue to drive their economies further into the pit, discouraging the Toyotas and Hondas and BMWs of the world from setting down roots. Blue states will become increasingly resistant to sending their taxes to bail out the Biblical literalists who can't manage an economy. Federalism will prevail beyond its wildest dreams, and the Confederacy will rise again, this time seceding peacefully into an antediluvian nirvana, leaving the United blue states of America to prosper using the wealth, ingenuity and creativity of all its citizens to remain a world-class power.

I don't expect the John garzas and Steina Walters of this community would be happy with either choice, as what they want is to impose their beliefs on the rest of the community. They get no joy just from living their lives as they see fit. But the remainder of the red staters will probably be quite happy paying fewer taxes, working for nothing at Wal-Mart, watching their infrastructure deteriorate, teaching religion in public school and electing James Dobson to replace Jefferson Davis.

November 09, 2005 12:34 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

I think loss of support for Republicans could have just a tad to do with people learning how we were misled into Iraq by the current administration, how our soldiers are dying there everyday- with no end in sight, the terrible handling of the hurricane disasters(Mike Brown- is he still oncontract- and with those reprehensible e:mails made public, too?), the increase in terrorism- not just "the usual loss of suport during mid-second term". please - anon- wake up- stop watching all those junky TV shows- avoid Faux News as well.

November 09, 2005 11:31 PM  

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