Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm So Bitter I Could Just Cling to Guns and Religion

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”

I find it utterly impossible to be happy for the country right now. While I never agreed with much of Barack Obama's politics, I was geared up and even psyched to witness the first African-American president. It is long, long overdue and brings us one important step closer to correcting century old wrongs that have permeated our society in almost every way. It was an historic event that I am utterly unable to find positive or to rejoice in.

Barack Obama may have won a decisive victory across the country but the decisive losers were gay Americans. The campaign that brought us “hope” and “change” brought neither of those things to the millions of gays and their children. The passage of all four anti-gay ballot measures yesterday underscores that while the voters may have shifted demonstrably in favor of the Democrats, they remain unmoved when it comes to the rights of same-sex couples. This cannot be blamed, as it was in 2004, on a conservative electorate enamored with a Bush political agenda; that was resolutely defeated. California, which Obama won by nearly a 15 point margin, banned gay marriage all the same.

And while it is unlikely that they tipped the scales, I find the overwhelming support for Prop 8 among African Americans appalling. The bittersweet irony is that Obama’s unprecedented mobilization and registration of voters and his historic candidacy that gave a well-deserved voice to a long since marginalized minority brought about inequality for another. The group of citizens who saw their hopes and dreams materialize last night simultaneously voted to strip those same hopes and dreams away from a different marginalized minority. Slavery is a horrific stain our nation which means it is even more important for those who have most acutely felt its ramifications to fight for equality under the law for all Americans.

So no, Mr. Obama, I do not question the power of our democracy; the people still have the power to strip away the rights of others. Before last night I didn’t imagine my fellow citizens could rip my marriage away from me. But as you say, Mr. Obama, America is a place where all things are possible.

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