Monday, May 08, 2006

Hopeless? Maybe ... but that's no reason to bail.

I've voted without any reason to hope so many times over a lifetime that I no longer make any connection between those causes I choose to support and anticipated outcomes. One look at the total meltdown we're seeing in Washington, D.C., would suggest that there are an awful lot of us in the same position -- and that opting out simply isn't a choice. We simply have to be guided by conscience and principle and hope for the best. I must believe that justice, morality and reason will someday overtake greed, arrogance, and evil. Some things we do simply because we can't not.

Spoke briefly with some political colleagues this afternoon about Barbara's candidacy. She and I spoke briefly early in the day -- and I realized that the media is ignoring her presence in the race, totally. My friends looked at me with thinly-veiled good-natured pity and true generosity -- and I looked back with the same expression that I wear when I'm petitioning for my causes -- or staring down a prison guard at the gates of San Quentin. It's all an exercise in futility, and we all know it, but once committed ... .

During our brief conversation over some of the best scrambled eggs in town (soft and creamy with a dollop of sour cream, a raisin scone with raspberry jam at Bettie's Grill on Fourth Street) -- I felt the hopelessness grow. They were right, of course.

Barbara's daring challenge to the three major candidates for the governorship may be tilting at windmills, but it's all we've got. All three; Westley, Schwarzenegger, and Angelides are sworn to uphold the death penalty. They will not break ranks on this one. But they're not the problem. In the state of California the polling tells us that 70% of the people support capital punishment, and the chance for any candidate to be elected is dependent upon their doing the same. Our only chance is to change the hearts and minds of the electorate. Our only chance.

That would mean doing extensive education on the issue and expensive polling widely and often then having the ability to publicize poll results. It will be necessary to prove to the viable candidates that there is a constituency for a new position that supports a moratorium, at least. At the moment, there is not the funding, nor the time, nor the people power to make that happen.

Unless ... .

...but I don't dare let myself become overwhelmed by an attack of common sense!

Photo: Co-demonstrators at the gates of San Quentin on one of the many times we gathered in the vain attempt to stop the execution of a prisoner. The plea for a moratorium until we can determine whether or not we may be putting the innocent to death continues to be ignored.

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