Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Fires

Southern California is on fire again, horrible destruction in the gorgeous Montecito/adjacent area next to/in Santa Barbara, and more in the northern foothills of Los Angeles county, particularly Sylmar. Horrific news and photos here, liveblog with unnerving evacuation and other info here.

The other major fire (after lumping together all the SoCal blazes above) is the nationwide and somewhat worldwide protest for gay marriage rights today (Saturday). There's some great pix from Los Angeles today but it was even in unlikely places like Alaska and Missoula. Nice to see that the one good thing to come out of the Prop 8 passage is everyone coming out -- gay and straight alike -- who believes in this American civil right.

This is truly the front line issue for civil rights today, and I'm not sure that any to follow will be of the same magnitude. It's just acknowledging reality in law, and I'm sure that in one generation this issue with be just treated in mainstream America just like racial intermarriage -- sure, some bigots will still be haters, and maybe it won't be the most pervasive image or marriage in the media, but we'll have gotten past it for good.

Tell me if I'm misreading the moment, but the success of President-Elect Obama seems to have opened the door for peaceful, firm but respectful and well-reasoned protests on every possible scale. The Facebook-centric organization and casual fearlessness of showing up in public appears mirrored by today's massive civic protest. There are so many different cities, towns and even countries represented on so many different Andrew Sullivan posts today that I can't link to them, although you can dig back to check them out yourself maybe by starting here. Remarkable.

This is a disjunctive moment in history, most notably economically, and Obama somehow planned his collision course perfectly, poised to take advantage of the disjunctive opportunity for good rather than the post-9/11 hackery that led us into Iraq, with so many carpetbaggers to feed at the trough. These moments don't come along very often, are fraught with fragilities, and require both haste and tact.

Take advantage of it.

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