The group was small, but the discussion was lively. Although everyone was happy that the the dynamic duo, McCain and Palin, didn't win the presidential race, Leon Lefson pointed out, with much agreement from others, that however lofty Barack Obama's motives may be, we still have to contend with the reality of very clearly entrenched vested interests, including uncritical support of Israel, a bloated defense budget, the Bush foreign policy record, and so on. With respect to Israel, Leon is disappointed with the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff. Emanuel is well-known for his hawkishness on the Israeli position and his adherence to the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) line. It remains to be seen who else will be appointed to the Cabinet.
Victories for reason were discussed, including the defeat of draconian propositions that would have imposed further restrictions on reproductive rights in South Dakota and Colorado, and of California's Proposition 4, which would have required parental notification for girls under 18 seeking an abortion, endangering those living in a hostile familiy situation.
The group lamented the passage of Proposition 8 and its counterparts in Florida and Arizona, but was cheered by the fact that the fight against prohibition of same-sex marriage continues, including a lawsuit brought in California by the ACLU, based on the unconstitutionality of modifying the Constitution by referendum. (Page 3 of the November issue of the HAGSA Bulletin has information on the topic.)
Chuck O'Neil and others expressed pleasure at the passage of Proposition 11 (redistricting).
Discussion was not, of course, limited to the above topics.
Report prepared by Bill Potts