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09 October 2011

Praise: San Diego Mayoral Candidates

Something subtle is happening in the mayoral race in San Diego.  Bonnie Dumanis and Carl DeMaio are two of three Republicans (there is also one Democrat, an unlikely party to win in San Diego) running for Mayor.  Both Ms. Dumanis and Mr. DeMaio are gay.  This is in the same city where Mayor Jerry Sanders alienated much of the Republican party by his support for his lesbian daughter.  An AP story gives a lot of background.

Why am I praising Republicans?  First, I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat.  I have a Progressive ideology but do not have strict party loyalty.  Second, I am endorsing none of the contenders.  I don't pretend to know enough about San Diego politics today.  Third, and the important reason for praise, is that both are openly gay but that isn't part of either platform.

President Obama will forever be known as our first Black President.  However, he did not run to be the "Black President", he ran to be President.  That is an important distinction.  The same can be said of either Ms. Dumanis or Mr. DeMaio if they win as Mayor.  We begin to overcome our fear of the other, the unknown, when that other becomes commonplace.

Hate groups, well documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, are most effective when they dehumanize their targets, making us less real and more scary.  By being present, human, and gay, Ms. Dumanis and Mr. DeMaio are making a real long-term difference, whether they win or lose.

An interesting twist to the Republican side of the race is that the third Republican contender, Nathan Fletcher is the only Republican Assemblyman to vote for SB-48, the California law that requires that schools include fair instruction in social studies of gays and lesbians as well as many minority groups.  The real text of SB-48 has little to do with a lie-filled campaign to overturn the new law.  But, with Mr. Fletcher as a gay-friendly Republican, it is a very interesting Republican Mayoral field, worthy of praise.

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