Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thoughts on the aftermath of victory

As some pundits have said, perhaps November 4, 2008, marks the true beginning of the 21st Century. The American voters have taken the "whites only" sign off the desk in the Oval Office. We have done what no other Western nation has done--elect to the highest office in the land a man of color. Under different circumstances, we could have had the first women to occupy a power position within the White House. I am more proud of my country now than I have been in forty-eight years.

Yet, with the likely passage of Referendum 8 in California, a measure that will, perhaps for the first time in American history, take away a constitutional right from an entire class of citizens, we must face the fact that, at least for gay men and lesbians, the American Dream is still in black-and-white, not color. Arizona, likewise, voted to deny marriage equality to its gay citizens. No state has yet failed to discriminate against gay men and lesbians when given an opportunity to vote straight up-or-down on the issue. I guess you could say that those of us who love a person of the same sex have yet to "win" a single electoral vote, let alone a majority. Furthermore, with no chance that our percentage of the electorate will ever exceed the current 5-6%, the picture is unlikely to change unless straight voters have a change of heart.

There is a stark irony in the fact that African-American voters, the very ones who were most vindicated in this election, are the same demographic that votes most one-sidedly against gay rights. The same voters who put Obama in office are probably responsible for the abrogation of equal rights in California.

So, I do have mixed feelings about today's events. More than most, I see the light but at the end of a longer tunnel. I have a little less reason to hope for change, slightly less belief that true change--change that could impact my personal happiness and prosperity significantly--will happen in my lifetime. If I could make one request of the president-elect tonight, it would be this: I voted for you. I was thrilled that you said the words "gay and lesbian" in your speech tonight. Will you work tirelessly to see that, before your first term ends, I have the same rights under federal law that you do?

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