Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's the culture, stupid.

I don't lightly agree with the religious right, but they're exactly right when they say that it's all about the culture. This article highlights the importance of cultural change to political change.

According to the article:

The report — which examines the trend of public opinion on same-sex marriage in 33 states that have had the issue on the ballot — found efforts during campaign periods had very little impact on moving voters to oppose same-sex marriage bans on Election Day.

* * *

Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, said the findings show voters are “at their least persuadable” during the course of a campaign.

“But when we look over the last decade at the amazing movement we’ve seen on what is one of the most challenging social issues to move people on, we’ve seen that the movement happens not during the campaign, but away from the campaign,” Kors said.

He noted that California in 2000 passed Prop 22, a statutory ban on same-sex marriage by 23 points, and in 2008 passed Prop 8, the constitutional ban, by four points.

“All that movement happened not in the couple months before Prop 8, but in the years between those elections,” he said.
That is, the movement happened not as a result of political change during the campaigns, but as a result of cultural change between the campaigns. While this may appear self-evident once stated, as so many things do, I see a lesson here for those activists who think that their shock tactics are either necessary or sufficient, let alone both, to bring about their ends.

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