After a month spent in China, whose highlight was the First China Symposium on Theoretical Computer Science, whose highlight was Silvio Micali’s spectacular and unstoppable talk, I am back home.
Here, in another two weeks there is going to be an election, which might be not as close as it has been in recent years (Obama is trading above 85% at Intrade, with solid leads in states summing more than 350 electoral votes). To be sure, the Democrats’ ability to lose elections is legendary, but this time there is a candidate that seems to know how to run a campaign, and who has been avoiding the usual approach of starting strong and then self-destruct.
While the electoral votes of California are uncontested, there is an issue that California voters will have to decide on. Last May, the California supreme court ruled that preventing same-sex couples from getting married violates the state constitution, and same-sex marriage has been legal since June. On the electoral ballot, voters will find Proposition 8, which seeks to introduce a constitutional amendment ending same-sex marriage. Such a desecration of the California constitution (which would, for the first time, be amendment to remove a right) is opposed by our Republican governor Schwarzenegger , by the mayors of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, and, until recently, by a majority of polled voters. Obama is one of those politicians who “oppose same-sex marriage because [he] believe[s] that marriage is between a man and a woman,” a circularity that is passed off as an argument, but he too has
stated his opposition to Proposition 8.
The Campaign on No on Eight is, however, not doing too well: it is vastly outspent by the rival campaign, which is well-funded from out of state and has been able to air a lot of commercial which may be charitably described as misleading, and which have taken a distinctly Helen Lovejoy tone. (“The Children! Will somebody please think of the children!”)
If you are an American citizen or permanent resident, I urge you to contribute to No on Eight; it’s an excellent use of your money, certainly better than losing it in the stock market.