2008

1 October 2008: Amendments 46, 48 will take us back to Dark Ages

Amendments 46, 48 will take us back to the Dark Ages

Just when you might have thought the far right, religious and secular, had taken a respite from remaking America to be in accord with their narrow image, out pop a couple of nutty proposals that let the rest of us know that there is plenty of fight left in the old dogs.

As thoughtful voters understand, one has to wend his/her way through lies and deceptions to get at the truth of a candidate or issue.

Nowhere is that more true than in the so-called Civil Rights Initiative, Amendment 46 on the November ballot.

The first dishonesty is in its title. If its proponents were true, they would have been right up front by calling it the “Ending Affirmative Action Programs Initiative.” Instead, they couch it in terms to make it look as if Dr. Martin Luther King would approve.

Those who hold that race and gender are no longer factors and do not play roles in our considerations are either racist or sexist, a combination of the two, or simply blithely clueless.

A recent poll by AP-Yahoo News conducted with Stanford University, “found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them ‘lazy,’ ‘violent’ or responsible for their own troubles.”

The poll was done in relation to Barack Obama’s historic run for the presidency.

“Statistical models derived from the poll suggest that Obama’s support would be as much as 6 percentage points higher if there were no white racial prejudice,” the report concludes.

In addition to the content of Amendment 46, its roots and the power behind it raise eyebrows.

In a debate on KDBI on September 8, Jessica Corry of the rightwing Independence Institute stated that while the proponents are “grateful for the support of Ward Connerly,” she argues that the initiative is “home grown.”

And pigs fly.

Amendment 46 is the brain child of Ward Connerly, a wealthy African American conservative Californian, who is following the strategy of former Californian Douglas Bruce of TABOR infamy of using out-of-state resources to impose on Coloradoans a vision that is contrary to ours.

Part of his goal is to upend our attempts to use affirmative action programs to balance the history of good-old-boys networking with procedures that bring women and ethnic minorities into the process of bidding on publicly funded state projects.

Affirmative Action also help provide assistance to women and racial and ethnic minorities in the sphere of higher education.

The Rocky Mountain News reported in July the “University of Colorado, which has been working to increase its minority enrollment at the Boulder campus, couldn’t consider an applicant’s race, gender or ethnicity if voters dismantle state affirmative-action programs.”

The report added that the “about 100 privately funded scholarships designed to benefit women and minority students could be restricted if the November ballot measure, Amendment 46, becomes law.”

In addition to the CRIA, Amendment 48, which would define a person as that cellular construct that exists before a woman is legally pregnant, is another attempt by religious conservatives to use the constitution as a vehicle to impose their dogmatic views on the general public.

In a lead editorial, the Denver Post, echoing former Lt. Governor Gail Schoettler who calls the proposal “wacko,” delineates several reasons why the amendment should be rejected and raises the specter of dire consequences should it become law.

Women who use contraception, particularly the “morning after” pill or an IUD, would be considered murderers. Amendment 48 would allow men to sue a woman for wrongful death in the event of a miscarriage. Leftover eggs in an in-vitro fertilization attempt would be considered human entitled to equal protection under the law, so could never be destroyed. Also, any potential that stem cell research might find cures for our most dreaded diseases would be denied here in Colorado.

Schoettler states that all of this could happen despite “the fact that many fertilized eggs never implant in a woman’s uterus, so never become even a fetus. It’s like saying a musical note is just the same as a symphony or a seed is exactly like a flower, even though many notes and seeds never blossom.”

Colorado history is checkered with fits and starts with regard to the advancement of justice. While we were among the vanguard of promoting women’s rights, e.g., voting and the right to choose, we also chose members of the Ku Klux Klan for high office and fell for racial hysteria in WW II that Gov. Ralph Carr had the courage to speak out against.

Passage of Amendments 46 and 48 would be regressive steps that would hearken back to those darker days. Amendment 46 would serve to undermine our efforts to right the wrongs of the past that institutionalized sexism and racism. Amendment 48 would relegate women to that of a breeder, a vessel for production, with no regard to her person, her body, and her individual rights.

Our quest should be an inexorable drive for justice for all, not a return to the Dark Ages.

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