Filed By Bil Browning | November 04, 2008 11:02 PM | comments
Filed in: Politics Tags: Barack Obama, election 2008
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Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States, Barack Obama!
I cheered, I shouted, I danced on the street.
Arizona Prop 22 - ban on gay marriage - 56:44 Arkansas Prop 1 - ban on gay adoption - 57:43 California Prop 8 - ban on gay marriage - only 15% counted, but 54:46 Florida Amendment 2 - ban on gay marriage - 62:38
A clean sweep, even in blue states.
Even with Obama's win, our losses make for a hollow victory.
I was certainly happy, and happy to hear Indiana called for Obama in this momentous time in our country's history.
Then I hear of the marriage amendments passing in Arizona and Florida. Certainly hoping prop8 goes down in flames and with it all that Mormon money spent on it. I hope the Mormon/Evangelical fear comes true, that if '8' doesn't pass, then all such state amendments will come to pass away. But I don't share their message of our joy.
As I was watching the coverage last night I was feeling very conflicting emotions. I happened to be sick, and, though I was unable to share the historic evening with an entertaining group in person, I was able it to spend it with a great group of people online.
I was excited by President Obama’s win. I do believe it is historic. I do believe that it is game changing. I also believe very shortly everyone will be disappointed because change never occurs overnight. I was excited because American history tells me this can be a time of great accomplishments, and that same history tells me that it is the policies of liberal Democrats that can make those positive changes.
I was excited about the Democratic capturing of the House and Senate. We need the government working together now. I was excited because while Obama’s redrawing of the campaign map through his sweeping victory sends a message, capturing the House and Senate makes that message far clearer. I was excited because much of the work I hope to see done requires a strong, power-wielding Democratic party. I’m apprehensive because while I know in my heart they won’t go as far as I desire my fear is that they won’t be proactive enough. I worry both that we will lose these gains in two years through their inaction and that we will lose these gains by their failure to sell their policies to the American people.
I was excited because the GOP appears to currently be in shambles. The party, from the outside, appears to be divided as to their future. A significant portion of the party leadership appears to want to return to a William F. Buckleyesque [awkward I know] course. Another faction seems to want to stay the course with an anti-elitism, pro-fundamentalism agenda headed by Palin. And I find that promising not only for the internal dissent, but because I firmly believe the GOP is about to start dismantling Palin’s career as their thanks for the disloyalty she showed McCain during the race. I was excited because while they may still be a minority the growing number of liberal evangelicals not only helps split their vote, but also helps send the message to everyone else that God is not a Republican.
Then there were the state initiatives. As the 2008 race drug on, I became convinced our community was going to do well in these races. Arizona and Arkansas appeared to me to be questionable, but I was happy about the message that Florida and California were going to send. While Connecticut was important, I didn’t think it was clearly connected to gay rights in the mainstream public’s mind to be classed with the other four. The closer we got to the election the bleaker the outlook got. As I spent the night watching these initiatives, I never really got a chance for HOPE. As Obama made his historic, nation altering addresss, I was both teary eyed and sick at my stomach. Those who granted me the privilege of spending the evening with them seemed much the same.
I have been looking forward to this morning for four years now. First with Hillary in mind, and then with Obama. But there is no joy in Mudville for me this morning. I am managing to retain some hopefulness, but my faith in mankind continues to weaken.
Californians were capable of coming together for the defense of chickens, but not for their gay neighbors. Oprah did a whole show on Prop 2, but there wasn’t enough time in that hour to even mention 8. Arkansans would rather see children raised by the state than in a loving gay home. Arizonans and Floridians …you know what, just fuck them all. There’s no use preaching to choir and right now it sure doesn’t seem like anyone else is listening.
However, I keep coming back to an image I saw on the TV screen last night. After Obama’s win was announced last night, they started videoing scenes of jubilant black crowds. Exclusively black crowds for several minutes. Pictures of young people screaming, dancing cheering, crying. People celebrating the enormous victory. People who’s faith in fairness just grew in unimaginable ways. It wasn’t those pictures that captured my attention. It was a shot of an old, white-haired, black man just standing in the middle of a crowd. He wasn’t moving. He wasn’t speaking. I didn’t see him blinking. He was having a completely different experience than all the cheering younger people. What he was seeing was deeper, too deep to elicit mere cheers.
I am reminded this morning that my community belongs not to that younger generation, but to his.