day of hope…

…day of sadness.

My eyes having been brimming with tears nearly all day. I’m absurdly, over-the-moon happy about Barack Obama being the President-Elect for the United States of America. He was never my main candidate, but he’s always been far preferred over John McCain and I know that he will do well sitting in the Oval Office.

The country still has an extremely tough road ahead of it. We’re at a very low point right now. Perhaps not the lowest in history, but it’s still a daunting task that lies ahead for the 44th President. He’s got expectations of him that no single human could ever hope to meet, not even a brilliant, charismatic young man who has risen from very humble beginnings and apparently insurmountable obstacles to become the first African-American president. The next four years are going to be rocky and Obama and the Democratically-led Congress will feel the pressure to perform miracles, else the Dems may be voted out of office come 2010 and Obama may face the same thing Clinton faced in 1994: a Republican-led Congress that will fight their legally elected president every step of the way.

But.

I think Obama can do it.

He has no illusions, as testified by his acceptance speech. He’s very pragmatic. He’s a survivor of Chicago politics, which are some of the toughest politics in the country. But he knows how to inspire people, to bring them to their better selves. And he knows how to reach out to the other side of the aisle and work to get things done.

Last night (after I spent the day poll watching) CuteFilmNerd and I were at a local Democratic headquarters. The premises had once been a car dealership – easily the largest Dem HQ I had ever been at. All around us – both inside and outside the building – were faithful Democrats and Obama supporters, the majority of which were African-American. As we stood amongst our fellow political travelers, watching MSNBC, the seconds counted down to the closing of the polls, the electoral count flipped to 284 for Obama, and the most excited, heart-felt crowd cheer I had ever heard erupted, ricocheting off the walls of the huge room filled with hopeful Californians. I cheered along with them, still not believing what had happened but happy nonetheless.

Later CFN and I stood outside the building in the chilly, windy evening. Another big screen TV played Obama’s acceptance speech as CFN and I held hands, surrounded by even more joyful folks. Silence alternated with cheers. Cars driving by honked and people walking the streets of Culver City screamed with excitement and – dare I say it? Hope. Hope was in the air. Something so many Americans had almost gotten existed.

CFN and I went to sleep last night, silly grins on our faces that just would not go away.

Until this morning, when we read and heard of the likely passage of Proposition 8. Gone were the smiles and feelings of hope. In their place invaded anger and sadness. Tears rimmed my eyes again. I despaired for my fellow Californians who had their rights ripped away from them.

Still, there are more votes are still to be counted. In Debra Bowen, California has a Secretary of State who will not allow those votes to sit in a room uncounted. I have faith in that much, at least. My gut says that Prop H8 will still pass, but I live in hope that it won’t. And know what my future holds if it does: fighting for the civil rights of Americans who have been told that they are second class citizens.

The fight lies ahead, gentle readers. The fight for restoring our country. The fight for civil liberties. Neither fight will be easy.

But I have hope. Because these are fights we can win.

Yes, we can.


H/T Janiece for video

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8 Comments

  1. Did you ever stop to think maybe a lot of those who voted yes on 8 were telling the Liberal lefty judges to stop trying to override the desire of the people. Welcome to Democracy where the majority rules.

    (Unless of course you are running for President and then it’s the Electoral College that rules)

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  2. Don, I did stop to think about that and I call bullshit:

    #1: The California Supreme Court consists of six members appointed by Republican governors and one member appointed by a Democratic governor. The CSC is known to be moderately conservative in its opinions and its one Democratic member is a moderate Democrat.

    #2: Mob rule is NOT a viable way to decide civil rights. Were it left up to the will of the people, segregation and anti-miscegenation laws would still be on the books. It took “activist judges” to strike down these laws and enable people of all races to be recognized as full American citizens in the eyes of the laws. I mentioned this in previous entry, if you had bothered to read it.

    #3: The United States of America and the State of California are republics, not democracies (thought there are strong democratic elements to the governing of both entities). Citizens have a huge say in how the state is run, as they should, but they are not the last word on the subject, nor should they be, else we would suffer from ” the tyranny of the majority.” I ain’t crazy about that either.

    #4: Please keep your thinly veiled bigotry away from my blog. If you’re here for a serious debate, without blatantly inaccurate words just as “Liberal lefty judges,” then I’m okay with you sticking around. I may strongly disagree with you, but I’m open to other viewpoints, as long as said viewpoints aren’t actually about how a homosexual couple who’s been together for a decade or more isn’t entitled to the same rights as a straight couple who meets and marries in the course of a week.

    However, if you attempt to “debate” without bringing any actual facts to the table, or if it’s obvious that you don’t want homosexuals to have the same rights as you because you think they’re icky, you’ll be banned so fast your head’ll fall off from all the spinning.

    Bigotry will NEVER be tolerated here.

    EDITED TO ADD: If the 52% of California citizens voted for Prop. 8 because they thought the CSC was full of “Liberal lefty judges” and they wanted to teach them a lesson, they obviously don’t have a clue about the make-up of the judicial branch of the state government and should probably do about three minutes of research before bringing their misinformed selves to the voting booth. If they really thought voting no on Prop. 8 would bring about teaching children gay marriage in schools and forcing churches to preform same-sex marriages against their wishes, said citizens were woefully uninformed about the text of Prop. 8 and, again, should have done about three minutes of research. An informed, critically thinking electorate is a valuable one. People who vote without knowing what the hell they’re really voting on oughta be smacked upside the head. Call me intolerant if you will, but there is NO excuse for willful ignorance and I will not tolerate something that can be easily discovered, no matter how fucking busy a person is.

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  3. I still wince at the concept of banning from blogs, Carol, although 1) it’s yours, 2) I agree with the sentiment, and 3) the comment served little purpose except to smugly provoke. Despite the needle on my outrage meter being buried lately, I’m still of the mind that there are minds yet to change through discourse.

    Which, however, you did. I applaud your four-point rebuttal.

    Feel free to send all naysayers to http://polarbeast.livejournal.com/ for further discussion; my patience is not yet fully expended, and I shall be happy to take up the slack.

    Don, as for your comment, I cannot help but think that the majority of those who voted weren’t responding to what judges had done: interpreting and striking down an unconstitutional law, which is, after all, what the judicial branch is supposed to do. It’s disingenuous to think that “lefty judges” are the danger here when the public hardly bothers to notice so many other rights being slipped out from under its collective feet. Rather, it’s fear, bigotry and dogmatic teaching.

    Love,

    D

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  4. Well, no, the CSC is not “conservative”. There are 4 of them who vote to the left on most issues.

    As for gay marriage I am completely fine with it. I believe what a person does in their bedroom or home or almost anywhere else is fine if they don’t step on anyone else’s rights. If they bring up another gay marriage proposition I’ll gladly vote for it.

    I was simply pointing out that not everyone who voted for prop 8 did so because they were homophobic. Some people voted for it because they are tired of living in the Socialist Republic of California and wanted to send that message. Your post left that out.

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  5. Don, I’ll have to take the time to research the decisions of the current CSC, because I doubt that you’re correct on your interpretation of their voting record. When the reputation of the current CSC is “moderately conservative,” the chances are the larger percentage of the decisions of the court as a whole equal to a more centrist approach, falling just to the right of the center more often than not. But, again, I would have to do some research to verify that.

    Sounds like you’re more libertarian than neo-conservative, Don, which I do respect, even if I don’t entirely agree with your conclusions. I’d rather people who preach for government to keep a low profile to actually believe that the government has no place in my bedroom or what I do with my body, provided, as you say, that no one is hurt. However, I also believe that the government has every right – nay, has the duty – to protect existing civil rights. The number of people who voted for Prop. 8 because they thought that judges were overreaching their authority (which is incorrect – recognizing that the LGBT community should be granted equality is completely within their purview) were a small percentage. And it pains me to think that “teaching the judges a lesson” was more important to those people than allowing a minority to keep their existing civil rights. Because, after all, who cares if an entire group of people were just told that they’re not full American citizens? Those activist judges were evil!

    So, Don, I still call bullshit. Which is why my post left that out. Because it’s not worthy of comment.

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