Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election

...because everything that changes stays the same.

It's obligatory that every blogger write about this election, if for the simple reason that it's too big not to write about. They'll throw out words like, "historic," "unprecedented," and "momentous" to describe last night's events, and recount shed tears of either joy or fear upon their hearing of the results. Yes, this election could turn out to be the most important event in the history of the nation, and I'm unbelievably happy that after twenty months of clawing and scratching and speaking, Barack Obama has won.

But I'm not going to go in that direction. It's been done. What I would like to talk about instead are the other decisions which were agreed upon last night.

I bought two bottles of wine last night. They were: a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, a medium bodied white which I would slightly chill and toast, if the events called for celebration, and a pinot noir from california, a medium red which smells of blackberry, which would console me if the political tides did not favor my point of view. You can undoubtedly see my motives in picking the two wines. (I was going to pick a reisling and a cab instead, since their characters are more opposed than my selections, but the two I chose have white and black in their names, and I felt that was more appropriate as a symbol.)

This post is not about wine. It's about which wine I was drinking at the end of the night.

I chose the pinot. The black. Let me tell you why.

Even though Barack won overwhelmingly in the general election (my sauvignon was already in the fridge), as I mentioned earlier, there was much more at stake in this election that just the presidential race. Four measures were voted on, and passed, that turned my celebratory tide. Four measures which caused me to turn away from happiness into despair.

They were:

Arizona Prop 102 - Ban on Gay Marriage
Flodida Amendment 2 - Ban on Gay Marriage
California Prop 8 - Ban on Gay Marriage
Arkansas Initiative 1 - Ban on Gay Couples Adopting Children

In the midst of a historic election, an election in which the racial divides in this country were broken down in the most profound way possible, these four measures passed. These measures publicly and officially stripped rights from a specific segment of the population. These measures were fought for with religious bigotry, fear, and ignorance. These measures deny those people in loving, homosexual relationships the same rights as heterosexuals, in a way that can only be described as overt discrimination. In the case of California's Prop 8, it forcibly divorces gay couples who were wed earlier this year. It's a truly monstrous act by the people of these states, an act which reflects poorly on our nation as a whole. How long must it take, how many times do we have to fight for the equality of a specific group only to see another become the social scapegoat before we can realize that we are all citizens of the same nation, that the barriers which once divided us were only in our minds, put there by our strange culture of us versus them?

I don't understand. This has all been done before, and it seems we still haven't learned our lesson. There are people out there who, it seems, feel that they are more entitled to the rights and privileges of this nation than others. We're in a strange place; though, the egalitarian movement has come so far, but still we have to continue fighting. Bravely, women fought for their rights, just as minorities did, just as the gay community is now, but my point is, why don't we realize that this kind of ugly discrimination will never last? Let's come together, strip away the fighting, forgo the cultural scars of an extended battle, and realize that we'll only be truly happy as a cohesive society when everyone is free-- when we're all equal in the eyes of not just the government, but each other.

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