Andrew Sullivan notes today that one of the biggest financial supporters of the Yes on 8 campaign is Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, who has pumped $450,000 into the campaign. Broekhuizen is the mother of Blackwater founder and owner Erik Prince and Bush Pioneer Betsy DeVos. She's also quite the patron of the religious right.
At first blush, the two groups don't have a whole lot in common besides neighboring real estate in the political spectrum. But as Blackwater continues its unwanted presence in San Diego (spawning aspirants to the throne in Hemet), Michigan resident Broekhuizen is just a big fish in the flood of out-of-state money trying to buy their way into a change to California's constitution.
This particularly hits San Diego as the repeated recipient of unwanted outside attention. San Diego was targeted by the national GOP as a test case for turning urban areas Republican which led to the destruction of an entire progressive generation in San Diego. We've been battling against Blackwater's presence and a disinterested city government for two years. And in concert with the, erm, disconcerting video above, The Call will be welcoming to to 100,000 peopleto Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday for "[c]orporate prayer and fasting for the protection of traditional marriage and the soul of our nation." I'll be there so you don't have to be.
Look, dday is right: This is about harming same-sex couples. But the other long-term implications are starting to show themselves. The Republican Party musters its national resources to turn San Diego red and succeeds for a full generation.
Blackwater decides to take your tax dollars- laundered through the Bush Administration, the Iraq War and the privatization of the military- and force its way into California while expanding and diversifying its portfolio to include a private navy and security contracts for Latin American governments.
And now the same national big money forces of the religious right- whether it's the Mormon Church or Erik Prince's mother and her Amway fortune, this has the potential to turn into a disturbing trend. That the extreme right wing of this country can nationalize an issue and force its will on California. If this keeps working, I don't want to contemplate what'll come next.
The LDS Church's campaign to pass Proposition 8 represents its most vigorous and widespread political involvement since the late 1970s, when it helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. It even departs from earlier efforts on behalf of traditional marriage, in which members felt more free to decide their level of involvement.
This time, LDS leaders have tapped every resource, including the church's built-in phone trees, e-mail lists and members' willingness to volunteer and donate money. Many California members consider it a directive from God and have pressured others to participate. Some leaders and members see it as a test of faith and loyalty.
If the recruitment video for The Call isn't enough for you (and wow, I hope it's enough for you), check out the second video (h/t to Glenn Greenwald and Matt Stoller who both hit this one earlier). Brainwashing and child exploitation at its absolute creepiest.
But the point is pretty straightforward: Enemies of equality and the separation of church and state have declared this to be the knock down drag out fight that changes the game for years to come. San Diego's battles with Blackwater are educational (hopefully not prophetic) in this case: The tenacity of Blackwater and the failures of existing infrastructure simply overwhelmed the grassroots capacity to stop Blackwater forever. Now they have a training facility on the US/Mexico border.
The big-money religious zealots on the right are banking on grassroots activists underestimating their commitment to win at any cost once again. And if it happens this time, it qualifies as a habit.
There's one week to go. You can contribute to the No on 8 campaign through Equality For All at the Courage Campaign ActBlue page and help Equality For All as it passes $1 million raised on ActBlue. And you can get involved through the No on Prop 8 netroots action page. For example, I know during Saturday's "The Call" event, there are plans for doing real calling in San Diego and throughout the state and a candlelight vigil in opposition to Prop 8 will be held in San Diego including Mayor Jerry Sanders. And for continuing updates, there's the NoOnProp8 Twitter feed.