I don't know if it's because I'm still smarting from the anti-feminist vitriol I felt subjected to personally as a Hillary supporter, earlier this year; I don't know if it's because I will never forget the profound sense of defeat I felt four years ago, when Bush won reelection and I knew, at the very least, we'd be another four years at war, in debt, as bullies on the international front; I don't know if it's because I could not understand anything about the Palin selection, and recoiled in horror when hearing some of her more adamant, hate-filled admirers shrieking about terrorists; but after so many years of feeling like I was living on some other planet -- even though my thoughts were (I swear) rational, and legally sound, and research-based, and supported by the framework of our Constitution -- it is hard to believe that this is true.
I don't know that this brings with it profound and lasting change from a "now Virginia votes Democrat" point of view. But for now, for today, for this election? Holy cow.
Virginia voted for a black man for president. And maybe North Carolina (?). AND INDIANA. I was with El_Gallo last night, and he is from Indiana, and has often cited the fact that his home town was the site of the largest KKK rally in American history. There is a young member of his family (an in-law, to be fair) who admitted to being "afraid of black people."
INDIANA voted for Barack Obama.
I am hoping that if I say it (write it) enough times, I will start to realize that this has really happened. It's historic and important and kind of shocking and amazing.
Mostly, it says to me that this country really wants to move forward, and really wants to believe in our American mythology. And I'm totally down with that.
But I'm not stupid. I don't think Obama is going to wave his magic wand and make everything perfect, just like that, *poof*. I am a little trepidacious about announcing what I hope real change will look like, because I'm not sure it's possible, or how long it might take.
But I do think this country's overwhelming optimistic enthusiasm is important, and it's something we haven't had in a long time. Optimism itself is both healing and an agent of change -- it's momentum to propel us forward. I hope it does. I think it will.
I woke up this morning feeling more hopeful than I have in a long, long time. It was a very good feeling.
And then I cried.
It is looking like Prop 8 will pass here in California. This will mean writing a ban against same sex marriage into our state constitution. I am surprised, perhaps naively. I also don't understand how this is possibly legal.
I heard a major supporter of Prop 8 actually say on the news this morning, "This isn't about discrimination. This does not take away any rights from gays. The gays have the exact same rights that straight people do." Which is an outright lie. It gives straight people one big right (and loooooots of smaller but important ones) that gay people do not have. This means making a law for one kind of person and not for another.
Which I find completely and 100% legally, Constitutionally, indefensible.
I got into an online argument with several folks on Monday. They suggested, and I'm kindly paraphrasing, that if we broaden the definition of marriage so that we don't discrminate against the gays, we open up a can of worms. Because what's to stop the liberals from wanting to broaden the definition of marriage to include incest, children, polygamy, and animals?
Leaving me to shake my head and say, Well, uh, lots of things?
(Common sense being one of them.)
The point is that we are trying to define marriage on a national level. And, as with all other laws we pass, it is our duty as American citizens to do so in a way that does not give the right to one kind of citizen and not another.
You know how all US citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote?
Do you think that when African Americans wanted the right to vote that the opponents said, "Oh sure, and what's next? We'll let golden retrievers vote, too?" YOU BET THEY DID. Same with the crazy women who thought they should get the same right that men had. "And if women can vote, next thing you know, we'll be letting 10-year-olds in the polling booths!" Right.
There is no reason that a national definition of marriage cannot be between one consenting adult citizen and one other consenting adult citizen. No reason, that is, except for arbitrary notions of morality and religion which are debatable from a theological viewpoint and irrelevant from a legislative one.
It wasn't that long ago that black residents of this country were considered 3/5 of a person and the notion that they should have the right to vote seemed ludicrous by "modern moral standards."
Yesterday, America voted Barack Hussein Obama to be the next president of the United States.
For now, perhaps we've lost the same-sex marriage equality battle, but we will win the war.
Yes we can.
*************UPDATE with twitchy eyes ***************
Gay rights activists are already taking this to court. This comes as no surprise, of course. But what makes me get ranty and break out in hives is this kind of sentiment (from this LA Times article):
"Now, if they want to legalize gay marriage, what they should do is bring an initiative themselves and ask the people to approve it. But they don't. They go behind the people's back to the courts and try and force an agenda on the rest of society."
Initiatives like these propositions asking the voters directly to amend a state constitution makes no sense to me in a republic.
Regardless, just because people vote for something doesn't automatically make it legal. Nor does it make it constitutional. (Which is why we still have those legislative and judicial branch thingamajigs.)
Going to the courts isn't "going behind the people's back." It's actually kind of the opposite. Going directly to the people, fueling them with lies, and using votes from a (slim) majority to try and take away rights from a minority, actually goes "behind the back" of the American political process. By which I mean subverts its process and fundamentals.