Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Morning After

Now that Obama has secured the presidency with 350 or so electoral votes (so I heard on NPR, anyway), and now that Prop 8 has passed in California - as well as Arizona's Prop 102, Arkansas' Initiative 1, and Florida's Amendment 2 - I feel strange. I feel elated at the idea that we've elected perhaps one of the most progressive men in history - not to mention the first African American. But I feel a sunken repulsiveness that discrimination has been amended into three state's constitutions. I feel sick that Arizona's Prop 102 failed in 2006, yet managed to pass now.

Obama's win isn't the only thing to celebrate though. I'm particularly pleased at Washington passing Initiative 1000, making Washington and Oregon the only two states in the union to have legalized physician-assisted suicide. Colorado overwhelmingly refused to define life as beginning at the moment of conception. California's attempt to require parent notification of abortions and South Dakota's attempt to make all abortions illegal except in the cases of rape, incest, or fear for the woman's health have failed. Michigan has legalized medical marijuana and stem cell research. These are good things.

But the passing of Prop 8 is big. A big disappointment. The campaign was full of hate, fear, lies, illegality, and sleaze. For something like that to win feels like a slap in the face. My sister and her girlfriend are heartbroken, as the passing of Prop 8 sets us back many years. The fight will be longer and harder. The only thing that can protect marriage in those states now is the Supreme Court or legislation passed through Congress. The Supreme Court is stacked with conservatives, and even if Congress did pass legislation, the Court would kill it as soon as it is challenged.

I'm not sure where we will go from here. I want to know what Obama will do. Despite supporting gay rights but not gay marriage, Obama still supported the failure of Prop 8. This contradiction is confusing and worrisome to me. I'm hoping that he's secretly more progressive than he's let on during the election (perhaps as EXTREMELY LIBERAL as McCain was trying to warn us!) so that he will do something quickly about this.

So what can we do? I'm trying to stay positive by focusing on Obama's win and what that means for this country. I'm going to look to the president-elect for some leadership. I'm going to look to the president-elect and hope that he doesn't betray us. I'm going to try to stay positive. But it's going to be tough.

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