I am SO HAPPY that we--and by 'we' I mean the nurses, teacher, firefighters, abortion providers, doctors, health clinic workers, progressive activists and of course the YOUTH that worked the phones and precincts to defeat Prop 73 and Arnold's initiatives--WON!! It isn't often that progressives can celebrate real victories like this (yes, even in California, where we have been blasted by racist and xenophobic ballot initiatives for the past 10-plus years). And although our margin of victory was slim (just a few points in many cases), we did an AMAZING job pulling together and turning out the winning vote despite the tens of milions of dollars that Arnold and his cronies spent trying to fool Californians into buying into some wrongheaded 'reform agenda'.
I have to say I was too exhausted last night after an almost fourteen-hour day election day to watch the results trickle in, but I was ecstatic when I saw the Oakland Tribune headline on the way to the bus stop: "Arnold's Reforms Terminated". Take that, Arnie!
Californians for Justice, where I have the privilege to work, and some of our ally orgs turned out literally hundreds of youth to talk to voters, make phone calls, and get out the vote this past weekend. Here are some pics of one of our recent precinct walks in Oakland. One young CFJ leader even convinced a jaded voter not to turn away from the polls this November. "I'm sick of these elections," the woman complained. "They voted in Bush; I'm not going to vote." To which our youth leader replied, "Well, you can make a difference in an initiative vote, and if you're not going to vote for you, then do it for me, because I can't vote and these issues are still going to affect me." What can even the toughest cynic say to that?
This election gives me real hope that people of color, immigrants, young people and other marginalized folks in California can win real progressive change. We've still got a lot of work to do, though, as evidenced by this map, which shows how different counties voted on Proposition 73, which would have required parental notification for young girls seeking an abortion as well as change the legal definition of abortion to 'the killing of an unborn child'. This isn't going to be the last time the right tries to challenge a woman's right to choose, however, so we need to stay vigilant.
But in the meantime, we need to revel in this victory. Pat yourselves on the back, folks!