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America stands still

Thursday, 6 November, 2008

From the very recent election, it is clear that Americans have voted in favour of more autonomy. In addition to more liberal Obama winning the presidency:

  • Intiative 1000 in Washington passed (59% to 41%), allowing physician assisted suicide for terminally ill (<6 months to live) patients
  • Proposal 1 in Michigan appears to have passed (63% to 37%, at this stage), allowing possession and cultivation of marijuana for medical use
  • Proposal 2 in Michigan appears to have passed (52% to 48%, at this stage), allowing all federally permitted embryonic stem cell lines to be used
  • Initiated Measure 11 in South Dakota was rejected (55.21% to 44.70%), which if passed would have criminalised abortion except for cases of rape, incest or pregnancies risking the life of the mother
  • Amendment 48 in Colorado was rejected , which sought to define human life to begin at conception (which doesn’t make sense)
  • Proposition 4 in California failed (52% to 48%), which would have required doctors to notify parents of teenagers that their child had requested an abortion (then wait 48 hours before going ahead with the procedure).

On the other hand, bigotry is still around, with gays losing most of the rights that other people have:

  • Proposition 8 won in California (with 52% of the vote) and therefore annulling gay marriages that occurred since the Supreme Court ruled a gay marriage ban unconstitutional earlier this year (it appears, as usual, the the constitution means whatever the people say it means).
  • Proposition 102 in Arizona passed (56% to 44%), amending the constitution to define marriage as “a union between one man and one woman”
  • Amendment 2 passed in Florida (with a 62% majority), setting the legal definition of marriage as “one man and one woman as husband and wife”
  • Measure 1 in Arkansas won (57% to 43%), prohibiting unmarried couples from adoption (and seeing as gay marriages are not recognised there, gay couples can’t adopt)

I’m not impressed. I’m glad Barack Obama won (although I would preferred somebody like Ralph Nader, Brian Moore or Cynthia McKinney), but I don’t feel America has actually changed at all.

As evidence, compare the following:

2008 Electoral College Map

(results of 2008 Presidential Elections)

1865 Secession Map

(affiliations of states during the American Civil War)

And I don’t buy the idea that racism is behind the correlation of these two either. I reckon it all boils down to America not changing very much at all in the last 143 years.

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