The Folly of 2010

On November 2, 2010:

(1) A repeal of Prop 8, in some form, will be on the California ballot.

(2) About $60 million will have been raised in the effort to repeal Prop 8.

(3) The repeal will fail.

(4) The margin of loss for SSM advocates in California will be greater than the margin of loss in November 2008, probably in the neighborhood of 46% "yes" (for repeal) and 54% "no" (against repeal).

How likely is this scenario? Prediction #1 is clearly the direction in which SSM advocates in California seem headed. There is no enthusiasm among activists for waiting until 2012, much less 2014 or 2016. Moreover, although organizational leaders and strategists just four months ago seemed to be leaning against a 2010 repeal effort because it was too soon and would fail, the momentum has swung in favor of 2010. Even Equality California, more strategically conservative and cautious than most street activists, is leaning strongly towards it, reporting that a "majority" of those they've polled favored 2010 over 2012. The California Supreme Court's recent decision upholding Prop 8 seems to have galvanized the 2010 effort.

Prediction #2 is, if anything, a lowball estimate. SSM advocates raised just over $40 million between June and November 2008. It was a huge sum, but it will not be enough next time. It's a baseline. Given that everyone will expect a close vote, and given that everyone knows California will be the end of the beginning if SSM wins politically there, both sides will be even more highly motivated to donate once the initiative reaches the ballot. Without a presidential election to suck up contributions, more money will be available for social-issues campaigning. We should expect at least a 50% increase in the amount needed.

But it won't be enough, which is why prediction #3 will come true. Anti-SSM activists are fully aware of the stakes and are fully aware of how close the outcome may be. There are many more people who passionately oppose gay marriage than who passionately support it, even in California. This was crystal clear last November, when supporters of Prop 8 simply out-muscled us on the ground in every part of the state except a few neighborhoods in a few cities. There are areas where our side was completely unrepresented. I spoke to an organizer supporting Prop 8 who told me, "We didn't even see you guys out there." Some things can be done to reduce the gap, but the brute math is still there and won't have changed that dramatically by 2010. I also think we'll probably need one more loss at the polls in California before tacticians on our side make the proposal as broadly acceptable as possible -- for example, by including in the repeal substantial conscience protections for religious individuals and organizations. These aren't needed as a matter of law, but they are helpful as a matter of politics.

Moreover, prediction #4 will come true because the 52%-48% margin by which we lost in November was deceivingly close. Everything else being equal, the conditions were about as favorable for SSM supporters in California last November as they are likely to be for many years. They aren't likely to be as favorable in 2010. This is true for several reasons: First, 2008 was a presidential election year, when turnout is higher and when more mainstream, less ideologically committed, voters dominate. 2010 will be a gubernatorial election in the state, which means there will be a somewhat higher proportion of traditionally conservative, committed, and disciplined voters. Second, 2008 was a bad year for Republicans. 2010 will likely be a better year in general for Republicans since mid-term elections are usually good for the party out of power. Sorry to say it, but good years for Republicans are usually bad years for gay rights. Third, gay marriage was the status quo in 2008, however briefly, and meant that gay couples were actually marrying. It will not be the status quo in 2010. People have a status quo bias. Fourth, the ballot language on Prop 8 reflected the status quo by indicating that it would "eliminate rights," something Americans don't like to do. In 2010, nobody will lose existing rights if voters refuse to repeal Prop 8. The ballot language may be friendly to SSM supporters in 2010, but it can't be as friendly as it was in 2008. Fifth, supporters of SSM needed a "no" vote to prevail in 2008. In 2010, they will need a "yes" vote. There is a small built-in bias (maybe 1-2%) for "no" votes. Sixth, some voters will resent being asked to vote on something they just voted on.

The kinds of voters who are affected by these factors aren't ones heavily invested in SSM, on either side. SSM doesn't hurt them, but it doesn't directly help them or anybody they know, either. They have low stakes in the outcome, but their votes count as much as those who have high stakes. They can be moved by mild nudges that shouldn't matter in principle, like resentment over voting again so soon, or by an effective ad campaign. They may be only 5-8% of the electorate but everyone agrees they will make the difference.

The longer we wait for repeal, the more likely we'll win. This assumes that younger voters continue to support SSM, that older voters gradually get used to the idea, and that the oldest die-hard opponents succumb to certain actuarial realities over time. So, all else being equal, 2012 would more likely produce a victory for SSM than would 2010. And 2014 or 2016 would be even more likely, although gaming results that far out is hazardous because of political factors that have nothing to do with repealing Prop 8 (like whether Obama serves a second term and Republicans take back the White House in 2016).

What would be the harm in rolling the dice in 2010, even if 2012 is a better bet? We might still win in 2010, after all, which would be great. But what if we lose in 2010? We just put it back on the ballot in 2012, then 2014, then 2016, until we win.

The problem is that losing has consequences beyond the immediate loss. Initiatives -- from gathering the needed signatures to running an effective campaign to winning -- require a huge investment of money, people, and time. Such resources are finite. The $60 million or more that will be spent in 2010 could go to other things, like state and congressional elections or fighting a possible SSM repeal (Maine? Iowa?) or amendment ban in another state. Those volunteers and organizers could be doing other productive things with their time. And losing in 2010, especially if the margin is greater than in 2008, will be deflating. It will harm morale. It will scare off legislators elsewhere. And it will be taken (incorrectly) as a sign that the tide is beginning to turn against SSM, with numerous political consequences in the short term. Losing doesn't mean you start from scratch the next time you try. It means you start from scratch with a bigger political, psychological, and financial burden. Waiting until 2012 would be better, in this sense, than losing in 2010 and trying again in 2012.

The only thing that can stop the mad dash to 2010 is donors, both inside and outside California. They can refuse to fund the initiative drive, which will mean that it will fail to make the ballot. That's what I hope will happen. Supporting SSM does not mean pressing for it everywhere, at any time, by any means. It means thinking hard about the choices, the likely outcomes, and the consequences of those outcomes.

But if a repeal makes it to the ballot in 2010, we'll have no choice but to join the fight.

26 Comments for “The Folly of 2010”

  1. posted by tristram on

    There’s sure be some form of immigration reform which is likely to mean that a substantially greater proportion of the CA electorate will be hispanic by 2012 (and increasing thereafter). Hispanics, particularly the new immigrants, are predominantly Roman Catholic or evangelical/pentecostal protestants and, in either case, tend to be socially conservative. Under Benedict, the RCC is quickly becoming increasingly conservative and homophobic. So if 2010 is unpromising, I don’t see things getting better in the several years thereafter. But you can always move to New England (or, soon enough, New York) !

  2. posted by dalea on

    Actually, a majority of non-evangelical Hispanics voted against Prop8. Gay marriage is the law in the Federal District of Mexico, Spain, Buenos Aires and through out the Spanish speaking world. Don’t know where this idea that Hispanics are natural social conservatives comes from. Like Catholics everywhere, the majority ignore the RCC’s social conservative teachings.

    There are already training groups and canasers out for 2010. People are going door to door now to prepare for the election. And we are going to the areas we did badly in. There is new leadership, which really is a vast improvement. We are learning from the mistakes and correcting them.

    There’s no way around the issue. And in CA, we have the same issues on the ballot election after election.

  3. posted by IT on

    While this is reasonable, and a concern, another thing to remember is that the community is organized and energized for 2010. By 2012, that energy will be dissipated into other issues that go along with a federal election. Once again, the energy of “boots on the ground” will be dominated by the Obama campaign. I know a lot of activists who saw electing Obama as their primary goal. They mistakenly felt that he WOULD be that “fierce advocate” and therefore woud be a two-fer. They are a bit chagrined about that.

    At some level, one must simply remember Dr King’s letter from teh Birmingham Jail:

    I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”

    There is never a convenient nor guaranteed season for civil liberties. It will always be ugly, messy, and hard-fought.

  4. posted by Mel Baker on

    I agree with Dale on this one. 2010 is far too soon. Activists are also making another mistake. They’ve called for a March on Washington for October. As a person who worked on the 1987 March I can assure them that pulling together a major event in DC takes at least a year and a half, not a couple of months. It would be a complete disaster if they only get a few thousand people to show up. The story in the press would be that this was a tiny march compared to the half million strong who came in 87 and 93.

    Patience everyone. Choose the best time!

  5. posted by Pender on

    This is all well taken, and it makes many good points. What I think it misses, and the reason I disagree with it, is that the tide is not only shifting in our direction but actually accelerating in our direction. It’s been eight months since Prop 8 passed and there are sixteen months to go before the 2010 election; there is twice as much time remaining as passed. And in these past eight months, marriage equality happened in Iowa and passed legislatively in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. The number of equality states (not counting CA) went from two to six; it tripled. I think it’s not only possible but likely that more such game-changers will happen in the sixteen months before the 2010 election.

    What form will those game-changers take? Well, there’s a lawsuit challenging DOMA. New York might get equality soon. Perhaps President Obama will actually start moving on his promises on the federal level. There is even a possibility (odds less than 50% but also greater than 5%) that the GOP will make a concerted effort — as we see in New York right now — to out-flank the Democrats and become the party of equality in an attempt to recapture youth votes and gay dollars. If so, that will motivate the Democrats to take action to stay ahead on that measure, and the opposition could quickly collapse.

    And if any subset of those things come to pass, it will be good to have the 2010 ballot initiative queued up and ready to go.

    Finally, I think your post also mistakenly assumes that the rising tide of public support for equality is some sort of natural and inevitable phenomenon like continental drift. It’s not; it’s driven by publicity, by advertising and media interviews and canvassing and outreach. Every time the nation sees Maggie Gallagher go on TV and rail against gay people, or Chris Matthews have a conversation with political analysts about a recent victory, or Ted Olson, Meghan McCain, Steve Schmidt or Joe Bruno stressing that this is a non-partisan issue about civil equality, the needle shifts in our direction. $60 million to a high-profile fight about marriage equality is not money wasted if we lose; it’s the kind of national exposure that drives the secular shift in public opinion in our favor. Waiting until we have public support before we start a campaign would be like a potential Presidential candidate waiting until he leads in the polls before running political ads. It confuses cause and effect.

  6. posted by JohnR on

    Recent polls show the support for same-sex marriage comes from Hispanics in equal proportion to support from non-Hispanic whites, and in fact greater than from other minority groups. So let’s not perpetuate a conservative talking point meant to pander to Hispanics. Support for marriage equality is ever-growing — this is a civil rights issue, not an issue of political persuasion– and support increases by at least 1-2 percentage points per year. It is probably increasing at a greater rate now given the momentum of the past few months. In fact, it statistically will overcame the 50% mark in California in 2010, based on annual increases in support. So perhaps 2010 is not too soon after all.

  7. posted by d on

    I say make them vote on it every year until it’s repealed.

    Bleed millions from the LDS assholes and NOM.

  8. posted by IT on

    I am also opposed to the march. I think we should focus on the political process, not confuse the moment with marches. I see very little enthusiasm in the community for the expense and demands of a March.

    Sorry, Cleve!

  9. posted by IT on

    I agree with Pender!

    Also, there was a lot of anger and backlash against th Mormons and the Catholics after Prop8 (not just from the gay community). I think we need to keep their hatred front-and-center Don’t give them time to hide it.

  10. posted by PhoenixRising on

    2010 is too soon to spend the limited resources our movement has on a psychological battle.

    No California couple is going to have one partner die and the widow lose the family home due to an unfair tax burden on the family if they don’t have marriage by 2010. They have an irreversible set of pragmatic protections in the form of the DP registry.

    If the same family lives in Iowa or Maine, however, losing marriage means chilling practical consequences. The other states in which relationship recognition is still in play–NM and WA–are going to be fighting with their backs to the wall too.

    I know where my money and organizing skills are going.

  11. posted by JSe on

    OMG. I agree with Dale Carpenter.

    Pass the smelling salts; I feel faint.

  12. posted by John T. on

    Opinions are like a***oles, you know the drill…

    I was involved with organizing the November protests in the wake to the Prop. 8 vote, and as spontaneous and chaotic they were, they demonstrated the community’s ability to organize in large numbers very quickly. So I have no fears about the October march in Washington (though, it should’ve happened in 2007). One of the surprising lessons I learned: the under-30 straight millenials were just as surprised and galvanized by this as the gay community. The majority of the co-organizers I worked with were straight kids angry and ready to take on a cause they were passionate about. They weren’t as involved in 2008 as they will be in 2010; the momentum needs to be continued. Another point: the mistake with the anti-Prop. 8 effort was that the case wasn’t made clearly why “domestic partnerships” aren’t enough. A sizable majority of Californians support extending marriage rights to same-sex couples (as “civil unions” or marriage), but thought those rights were already available to them through the domestic partnership registries. They were miseducated about how limited a “domestic partnership” is. Personally, I feel a little more education can bring more than 2% to our cause very easily, along with less dollars being spent on television and more on online organizing and promoting.

  13. posted by Randy on

    I agree 2010 is too soon. That’s just one year away!

    We can all argue about the demographics, and that’s important, but its not nearly as important as team organization.

    Obama won because he had a strong organizational team set up from Day One, and they just go stronger as time went on. And he was planning his organization for several years before the actual election.

    We must think that as well. The religious right and our opponents already have their teams in place, and as we learned, they were in place well before Prop 8 ever came up. They knew this day was coming, and they were prepared. So shall we be.

    Even two years is cutting it short. Ideally, we need four years to start building a complex, deep and comprehensive plan in CA to educate voters and convince them to vote. It ain’t easy, but without that groundwork, we are lost.

    I don’t see the point is spending $60 million in 2010 only to lose again. Then what? Spend $80 in 2012 and hope third time’s the charm? You must also realize that the opposition is much stronger as well since that time — they now have a donor base and the deep complex machine in place. That will only get stronger. We need time to match and exceed it, and only then will we win.

    Sure we can quote MLK and feel like martyrs if we loose. Like it so not, this is nothing more than pure politics, and it has nothing to do with rights. We lost Prop 8 because we thought marriage is a right and people will somehow realize that. It isn’t — it’s all about politics, no different than if the issues were a bottle bill or a bond issue. And we will win once we realize that.

  14. posted by Leo on

    I’d like to elaborate on what Phoenix said.

    I’m not a pollster but I do routinely visit a lot GLBT sites that cover a pretty broad political spectrum and I think there is a very palpable sense across the board of what might be called “California fatigue”. And an increased sense by many that energies should be spent closer to home in their own states and communities. While DPs in CA may be second class to marriage they’re a damn sight better than what millions of gay Americans have which is absolutely nothing or in some cases outright hostility from their state houses.

    We here in North East have our own battles. Maine is not a done deal and could unravel this November. NY right now is a circus and given the historic machinations of that state’s government, nothing is guaranteed. The energies of GLBT New Yorkers are going to be focused on Albany not Sacramento. Here in the Garden State, gay friendly, but lack luster John Corzine faces stiff competition from Republican Chris Christie who has made opposition to gay marriage a plank in his platform.

    Increasingly there have been calls for more action at the national level on DADT, DOMA and healthcare.

    Yes, prop 8 is ugly and yes California is big, populous, and influential, but there are other battle grounds that need attention these next 18 months.

  15. posted by Hans on

    If gay marriage is put on the California ballot in 2010, it will lose, but by even less than it did in 2008 — not more.

    But it will still lose.

  16. posted by Jorge on

    Knowing nothing about California, I cannot be convinced by this post, and I think it makes too many assumptions. I have to say I’m more interested in the national fight that seems to be about to take off than in the timing of the fight for any one state, except my own, of course.

    My take on Hispanic Catholics in general is that, like most American Catholics, they place faith ahead of obedience and loyalty to Democracy above loyalty to the Church. (There is something very different about evangelicalism that seems to convince people that its leaders are not as distant and authoritarian as everyone knows the Catholic Church’s are.) Look up the history of abortion and you see a lot of dissent. That’s not to say they aren’t socially conservative, but there’s not much in the way of legislating morality. I think any decent liberal should be able to tread carefully enough to win Hispanic support, but there aren’t many of those left.

  17. posted by Jorge on

    Speaking of too soon, it was reported that a lot of activist groups in New York (my state) were upset at Gov. Patterson for the timing of his bill to legalize same sex marriage, believing it was likely to lose and therefore be demoralizing. Eh, I’m hopeful that’ll be proved wrong. I haven’t been as energized in my life. I don’t think we’re likely to win, but we will have lost by more than where we started from and started paying attention to our elected officials. Also I like the effects this greater exposure is having at home. It’s getting our politicians to talk about us, and that’s trickling down. More positive visibility for us is always a good thing for our mental health.

  18. posted by DB on

    @Mel Baker — thank you for your work on the 1987 march, but I’m not sure organizing another one would take nearly as much time this time around, given two major changes: 1) the vast numbers of people who have come out and/or come over to our side since then, and 2) the advent of the Internet as an organizing tool.

  19. posted by Joe Perez on

    Everything Dale Carpenter said in his post makes perfect sense. Nevertheless, I disagree with its conclusion.

    There are reasonable arguments for waiting and for proceeding. Commenter IT makes the excellent point that the enthusiasm of the community is a key concern, and it is enthused about 2010. Pender makes another good point that momentum seems to be accelerating, allowing for the possibility that conditions may be more favorable in 2010 than is possible to predict. Ultimately, I think the decision on whether to support 2010 or later comes down not to arguments, but to a gut feeling.

    Optimism, hope, and confidence suggest proceeding full steam ahead in 2010 and repeating the exercise as long as it takes, win or fail, until success. Fear, doubt, and second-guessing suggest a cautious path. Looking at the history of the gay rights movement, I think the path of the fearful has been a failure and achieved nothing, and the path of optimists has succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations.

    Early in the 2008 Democratic primary season, voices similar to Dale Carpenter’s defined the conventional wisdom that Obama couldn’t win, America would never elect a black president, he was too inexperienced, etc., etc., and I almost made the mistake of listening to those fearful voices rather than my own heart. My heart is saying that victory in 2010 is possible, and delaying until later will only suggest to the world that the gay community isn’t serious about our rights. If we don’t “care” enough to fight back, we send the message that marriage really isn’t vital like oxygen but a luxury purchase we can easily delay until it’s more convenient. Let’s go for 2010.

  20. posted by Joe Perez on

    One more thing: a thought exercise for those who feel that 2010 is too soon.

    Picture the future 2010. The initiative wins enough signatures to get on the ballot. Chris Matthews or your favorite talking head interviewing supporter of an initiative to repeal Prop 8 in 2010.

    Chris Matthews: “The pundits say the measure is going to fail. Even gay rights activist Dale Carpenter has said he expects the measure to go down by 8 points. Why are you doing this?”

    Supporter: “We’re fighting for our rights because our rights can’t wait. In the end, it doesn’t matter what the polls say, because we’ll be back time and again until we succeed. History will show our opponents are on the wrong side of history, and we will prevail.”

    Now picture the same conversation in 2010 but this time Dale Carpenter gets his way and activists aren’t able to gather enough signatures to put the initiative on the ballot.

    Chris Matthews: “Gay marriage activists have said their fundamental rights are at stake, and they marched in the streets by tens of thousands after Prop. 8, but when the rubber met the road, they failed. The question we need to ask is why they failed. Was it because they didn’t have the political organization, or was it a failure of the grassroots? Not enough money, not enough enthusiasm, or both?”

    One way or the other, one of these two scenarios is going to play itself out. Personally, I’d rather see the media reporting the former story than the latter. If 2010 goes down in flames, that outcome may yet be more valuable to the long-term battle for rights in terms of building awareness, advancing momentum, and changing hearts and minds rather than the seemingly more strategic route.

  21. posted by BobN on

    a concerted effort — as we see in New York right now — to out-flank the Democrats and become the party of equality

    Well, that’s certainly a novel interpretation of what’s going on in the NY Senate!

  22. posted by Matt M on

    Dale, and many of the commentors, make very reasonable, intelligent arguments for skipping 2010 and waiting for a more favorable year. Right after the election, when there were already groups gearing up for a 2010 fight, I made many of the same arguments myself.

    But as I’ve seen the passion and determination building on our side, plus the momentum gained by what’s happened in Iowa, Maine, and New Hampshire, I’ve changed my mind. One of the biggest problems of the No on 8 campaign was the desire of the large gay orgs to run things from the top down coupled with a failure to listen to the grassroots and to empower budding activists. It left a lot of people (myself included) feeling ignored, pissed, and distrustful of our leaders. This time it is the people at the grassroots level that are pushing the orgs forward towards a 2010 initiative – trust me, groups like EQCA don’t want this at all, but they can’t ignore what their members are telling them after the No on 8 debacle. Regardless of what the strongest strategy might be in the best of all possible worlds, this isn’t a decision to be made from some central campaign HQ. The people of CA that care about this issue are pushing for 2010, and that’s what it’s going to be. Everyone has to decide for themselves wether or not to jump on the train, but all the rational arguments in the world aren’t going to stop it from leaving the station.

    One small point I would disagree with is the assertion that “also think we’ll probably need one more loss at the polls in California before tacticians on our side make the proposal as broadly acceptable as possible”. Having been at meetings where potential ballot wording is being discussed, I can tell you that this is most definitely not the case. At the least I think there will be wording including religious protections much like in the bill that NH just passed. Wording about the impact on school cirriculum, the issue that benefited the Yes on 8 campaignt the most, might also very well be included.

  23. posted by randy on

    “Commenter IT makes the excellent point that the enthusiasm of the community is a key concern, and it is enthused about 2010.”

    So is the opposition. After all, they won, against the odds. Think that is going away?

    I agree that there is a grass roots support in CA. But this is just a little more important than Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney deciding to put on a show, and a little more complicated. HOw are you going to convince all those African Americans to vote in our favor in just one year? HOw are you going to convince religious voters that their rights won’t be violated? You really think a few tv ads will accomplish all that? Please don’t be so naive.

    The 60 million can be better spent on securing the repeal of DOMA and DADT at the national level, and then shoring up the win in Maine and securing a win in NY. Then target another state ( New Jersey?) to get marriage rights.

    I wish we didn’t have to play this game, but we have to. Since we have to, and we have only limited resources, we must spend them were it will do the most good. Marriage rights are coming and are inevitable, but let’s spend out time and money in ways that gets it fastest to the greatest number of people.

  24. posted by Chris on

    The unspoken elephant in the room is the OTHER significant minority in California:

    2012 is going to have a huge African-American turnout for Obama’s re-election campaign. Those voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of Prop 8. The elections so far (Miller in GA, Deeds in VA) have shown that the AA community had a much lower turnout in a non-Obama election. In overturning Prop 8, I think that it will be better for us to have that lower AA turnout.

    Pre-emptively, it is not racism to point out FACTS, however unpleasant, it is NECESSARY to be honest about the electorate and our chances at repeal.

  25. posted by Ken on

    With respect to this comment by Matt:

    “One of the biggest problems of the No on 8 campaign was the desire of the large gay orgs to run things from the top down coupled with a failure to listen to the grassroots and to empower budding activists.”

    I completely agree about the way the No on 8 campaign was run and that a better course could be charted. I do have to point out however, that NO campaign was ever more top/down than the Mormon-run Yeson8 campaign. Their great genius was making a COMPLETELY top/down organization look completely grass-roots. You can do that if you have large numbers of VERY dedicated, agreeable subordinates who trust an authority. And you have to hand it to them, they got results. We have an equally enthusiastic but more unruly group of people to deal with, so our challenges will be different and greater.

    And speaking of Mormons, here’s an article, well worth the read discussing Mormons and prop 8. There’s a mention of what course they might chart in 2010 if there is a repeal effort to their beloved prop 8. We would be well advised to be prepared and not underestimate them.

    *Warning, its fairly favorable to them:,9171,1904146,00.html

  26. posted by vanhattan on

    @Pender, I could not agree with you more. 2010 is the right time, and if we are not successful, then 2012, then 2014 etc. until we arrive as equal citizens under state, and hopefully federal law as well.

    A few mention here that there is fatigue and burnout. That goes with the territory. However, for as many people who are burned out there are even more of us, straight and gay alike that are on fire and will not stop until we win.

    Another point not made here is that burnout may happen and I predict that it will big time on the other side of this argument. Why? Because to only be ‘against’ something is an emotion that saps tons of energy and is not sustainable.

    Now to be working towards something and for something is rather energizing as you see yourself getting closer and closer to the finish line. This is where the GLBTQ civil rights struggle is right now.

    The point is, even if we lose in 2010, we will have won because we will be just that much closer to where we want to be.

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