While the American family and our extended international family were whooping it up for the historic Obama victory, I banged pans and wept for joy with the best of them. But I also had that dissociated, not-quite-part-of-feeling I had at family gatherings when I was young. Actually, I have never felt gayer.
Make no mistake. Election night 2008 was an amazing reparative night, a triumphant trifecta signaling the end of Nixon's southern strategy, the Reagan Revolution and the Bush Regime. If Bush could have considered his first presidential selection and his second slim election as mandates, then we can certainly call the Obama victory a landslide.
It was a landside and it crushed us, as California, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas passed anti-gay ballot initiatives. It was a bittersweet night.
We learned three lessons.
First, progressive straight people do not, will not, see the moral equality of gay people. Except for the efforts of the ACLU, the rights of gay people are rarely championed by progressives. The moral sanctity of their marriage is inexplicably undermined by gay marriage. In the forty years since Stonewall we have achieved only a hollow, virtual equality. Like Sarah Palin, we too can be thrown under the bus.
Second, religion is the opposite of the people. While Black Churches certainly helped pass Prop Hate, the White Churches can not get off Dred Scott free. In an image-burnishing move, multi-wived Mormons poured millions into Prop Hate. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, with its zero experience of marriage, contributed thousands. Democracy and religion are a bad mix.
Third, gay people cannot win if our own people do not care. If gay people remain partially or fully closeted, and do not openly support gay organizations which train those much maligned but highly effective "community organizers", we will never win full equality. It has been forty years since the Stonewall Riots and we still do not think, yes, we can.
So excuse me, if I seem an ungracious party-pooper, quickly becoming more bitter than sweet. If gay people are not full American citizens, let's stop paying taxes and re-invest in ourselves. It is past time for pro-active strategies, for our own ballot initiative to make divorce illegal and all divorced people disenfranchised felons. It is time for a general strike or a rainbow flu. Until further notice, all gay people should go rogue.