The Morning After

November 5, 2008 - 1:17pm -- swingbug

I checked the presidential polls before I left for my dance class last night at 7:00. At that point Obama had taken a few key states in the east and we were waiting expectantly on the others, knowing that this was going to be long over before California was tallied. My carpool buddies hopped into the car and informed me that we got Ohio. Warming up in the classroom, each student came in with reports. Midway through class a triumphant and emphatic shout went up from the jazz class next door. The teacher popped her head into our room, with her cell phone in hand. They had called it. Obama was the next president of the United States. High fives and hugs went all around the room. Ten minutes later, Ania called the studio and had the administration desk pull me out of class in the middle of an adagio to tell me that McCain had conceded. At home, Shawn and Luke got a call from Cheryl, hard to hear through her tears of joy and the shouts of the people around her at the Obama party at the Radisson. One undisclosed friend fulfilled her promise to perform a celebratory dance naked on her lawn.

It’s official. Barrack Obama is the President Elect of the United States of America. This was a momentous election on so many counts. I hope you looked around and marked where you were when the results came through. You’ll want to remember it.

I went to bed hopeful. I think that he’ll be a good president. I think that things will get better.

Though the official number still isn’t known, they’re saying it’s likely the highest voter turnout for an election in 100 years. Something like 64%. I’m proud of our country. I really am. It’s a step in the right direction.

I wish I could be as proud of my state.

I checked the stats on the key propositions before I went to bed at midnight. Too close to call on 8. I woke up and went straight to the computer. This must be resolved now? Still too close to call. At a client’s office this morning, I sat between two colleagues and friends, each of whom, by the way, have a lot more personally riding on this than I do. We watched the percentages bob around and finally saw the check mark next to “Yes.” It passed. One of my friends looked at the other. “I guess we’re third class citizens now.”

And I was heartily ashamed of us all.

Another colleague walked in. He said that 8 was a hard issue for him and he went back and forth on it several times before finally casting his vote for yes. He said that what really did it for him was “the school thing.”

Arggg!!!! How many times do I have to say this? Proposition 8 does not affect school curriculum. We don’t teach anything about any kind of marriage in our schools. We didn’t yesterday and we don’t today. Proposition 8 has nothing to do with schools. That was deceptive propaganda and it worked. What really saddens me is that if everybody who walked into the voting booths had really read the text of this proposition, I don’t think it ever would have had the votes to pass.

This is the civil rights battle of this generation. Forty years ago, interracial marriages were illegal. My great grandmother didn’t have the right to vote because she was a woman. My parents were attending primary school when the Supreme Court handed down the school desegregation order. One hundred fifty years ago slavery was legal in this country and yesterday an African-American was elected President of the United States of America. We do change and we do learn and we do grow. And if you can think of it in terms of not our own lifetimes but the lifetime of our society, it happens quickly.

We can fix this.

I hope the next generation looks back and sees us not as a people who allowed discrimination to persist and basic liberties to be denied based on sexual orientation, but a people who stood up to change it. I am now inspired to see to it that by the time my son reaches an age where he can marry, no such discrimination will exist. I hope you’ll join me in that.

I know, love, and respect a lot of people on both sides of this issue. To those who disagree with me on this, I have to stress that I do love you and I’m not trying to piss you off. I simply feel that it would be wrong of me to remain silent on an issue in which I so passionately and ardently believe. It would be wrong to keep my seat.

It would be wrong not to stand up and be counted.

Here’s to tomorrow everyone. Here’s to January 20, 2009. And here’s to our kids and their futures. It’s time to look forward.

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