What if you don’t know whether to laugh or cry?

Obama’s landslide is cause for celebration. It was truly wonderful last night to watch the joy on people’s faces in Grant Park in Chicago and across the country. And, as per usual, Obama’s speech was inspiring.

How refreshing that we will finally have a president who can give a good speech after 8 long years of gibberish. And how encouraging that in a country mired in racism, we have FINALLY elected a person of color to live in that (until now) house of white privilege.

How encouraging that in a country seething with sexism, we have elected a president who supports women’s full equality and reproductive freedom.

How encouraging that in a homophobic, heteronormative nation, we have chosen a candidate who believes in equal rights and supports same sex marriage.

And, how encouraging that he does not speak as if the whole world were white and male (as so many politicians and media mouthpieces do) but acknowledges that  we are “young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled.” My daughter perked up with this line in particular from his speech as we watched (past her bedtime) last night.

How encouraging that we had such a massive voter turnout, that people are energized to vote again.

How encouraging that my 9 year old daughter went to the polls with me, and, when the very nice poll lady (thank you!) gave her a ‘play ballot’ to vote with, she said on the way home “I need to read up on all the propositions I don’t know about so I can fill out the ballot all the way. So far, I only know my vote for president, prop 2, 4, and 8.” And, guess what? She did! She sat there at the kitchen table, sharpie in hand, reading my voter information pamphlet to make a decision on all the other propositions. She is 9, people!!! If she has this much dedication with a FAKE BALLOT, why are there so many who could fill out a real one but just can’t be bothered?

Many attacks against social justice were defeated yesterday. South Dakota’s back-ass-wards law aiming to criminalize abortion failed, as did Colorado’s attempt to define life as beginning at conception. Here in California, the third attempt to pass a “parental consent law”, or Prop 4, failed. Now that is one issue I wouldn’t mind to be treated with the “three strikes and your out” rule.

Obama’s win, a win for pro-choice and reproductive justice, various wins for progressive leaning candidates. This is all cause for joy and laughter.

However, the 52.4% of the voters that chose to endorse Prop 8 is cause for tears. How can over half of the people of this state that likes to call itself progressive decide that it’s ok to discriminate against other people? And to vote to put this discrimination into law? How can we possibly claim to have a separation of church and state when Propositions such as these, paid for by those on the religious right, are overwhelmingly supported BASED on religion?

My son crawled out of bed extra early this morning and went straight to the computer to look up if the news on Prop 8 was in. He is 12. He is, along with me and his sister, devastated by the news that California has voted yes on hate. He immediately mentioned a dear family friend of ours, who is engaged to be married, and who, thanks to this F***** prop, will (at least for now) not be allowed to marry the person she loves.

To all my LGTBQA readers out there, I am truly sorry that this sad little state voted yes on hate. It severely dampens the joy I feel at Obama’s win.

Yet, when I lamented with my daughter on the way home from the school pick up today about what looks like will be a win for Prop 8, she reminded me “But mom, remember what Obama said last night? He said rich or poor, gay or straight, married or not, we are all equal. Maybe he will make marriage something for everybody as president.” Ok, so she got the quote a bit muddled, but she certainly got the message straight. And I, along with her, hope we will see A FEDERAL LAW passed during Obama’s presidency  THAT SUPPORTS MARRIAGE EQUALITY not just for “the straighties,” but for everyone.

To end with laughter and joy, I would like to encourage you to watch the wonderful Sara Benincasa’s last Palin vlog. One thing I know for sure, while I will not miss Sarah Palin and her hateful agenda, I will miss Sara B’s hilarious impersonations of her. Grab your pet moose and give this a watch:

http://www.236.com/video/2008/final_sarah_palin_vlog_10071.php

14 thoughts on “What if you don’t know whether to laugh or cry?”

  1. Obama took California by a landslide yesterday, 61% to Mccain’s 31% meaning more than sixty percent of our state voted in favor of the “change, progressiveness, & equality” Obama and his campaign represented. So my question is this (if I even really need to ask it, I’m sure you can all tell where I am going with this), Where the f**k was that 61% when voting on prop 8???

    DISCRIMINATION IS DISCRIMINATION, wether it be black or white, male or female… gay or straight! you can not pick & chose which discriminations you are okay with and which you are not. I understand that to many people gay rights is not like the civil rights movement of the 50’s because gay rights concern the religious values of many… but have we as a country become so wrapped up in our own personal beliefs that we have forgotten one of the founding principles of this country, a separation of church & state!

    I am at a loss for words at this point, but i will say this much: so long as there is inequality in a society, there will be a struggle for equality, the “gay” issue is not going anywhere just like the “black” issue wouldn’t either.

    ugh, so CA supreme court here we come…again..

  2. Jesse,

    “DISCRIMINATION IS DISCRIMINATION, whether it be black or white, male or female… gay or straight!” I will drink to that!!!

    Thanks for your wise comment.

    And I second your question: “Where the f**k was that 61% when voting on prop 8???”

    Unfortunately, people too often only care about “their discrimination” and MANY who have been discriminated for other reasons — their gender, race, ability, etc STILL voted to DISCRIMINATE. Discouraging.

    And no, it surely ain’t over. 3 lawsuits against prop 8 were filed today.

  3. If only we could have a politician like Obama here. Our last election was our lowest turnout ever, below 60% for the first time, so I was pretty surprised about 64% is the highest America has had in a century. I think below 60% is dismally low and 64% isn’t much above that. I really thought it would’ve been higher in 60s or 20s. I think our left-wing candidate could have potential. He mentioned people of all classes and Native Americans. Still, Obama seems to have something natural that would be hard to create. He speaks with such confidence yet not cockiness. I love how his attitude seems to be, “This is possible but not a given”.

  4. Well, on a night when so much went so right and left so many of us feeling so good, the outcome of the Prop. 8 vote feels so, so wrong. And these a**holes look WAY too excited about their success at inserting their despicable and discriminatory beliefs into a state constitution.

    Discrimination and denial of civil rights don’t get resolved by a public vote through which the discriminators are allowed to codify their bigotry; they get resolved at the judicial level or at the executive level … and those who say court rulings that protect people from being discriminated against are examples of “legislating from the bench” are sorely misguided; they are examples of judges doing what judges are supposed to do: protect the rights of *all* people.

    Wow, who put this soap box here, and how did I end up on top of it? Sorry. I’m done.

  5. I was upset the Obama camp didn’t give me tickets to the rally. I guess I’ll get over it. I guess they didn’t want hints of ’68 with the larger crowds. But from what I saw and heard, truly monumental.

  6. Daddy Scratches,

    Yes, 8 passing is very discouraging. And, those people look way too happy about celebrating hate. Scary.
    Your soapbox is worthy of Hyde Park Corner! No need to apologize. Voices advocating for social justice and equity are always welcome.

    One encouraging factor is that 3 suits against prop 8 have already been filed.

    It would be great if we lived up to the ideal of our constitution and judges protected the rights of all, but, of course, they don’t – esp because of the systems of power and privilege that translate into most judges being older white male hetero conservatives…

    Another encouraging bit of news is the petition someone just emailed to me urging the Calif Governor to consider all the reasons Prop 8 should not be passed into law. The accompanying letter debunks many of the lies the yes on 8 camp spread. It can be read and signed here: http://www.petitiononline.com/seg5130/petition.html

    MM,
    Sorry you didn’t get a ticket to the rally!

    Yes, I think it is not only possible but PROBABLE that prop 8 was manipulated to mislead voters. The fact that to vote “YES for same sex marriage” you had to vote NO on the prop was, in and of itself, problematic. When you add in all the LIES the yes on 8 camp spread and the way they worded their lies to appeal to a broad audience, there was certainly deliberate tactics to CONFUSE voters. Someone on the campaign crew certainly studied the Mein Kampf sections where Hitler lays out how to brainwash and use propaganda to further abhorrent agendas.

  7. Thanks for your supportive words Prof. It is encouraging to know that so many allies support us LGBT folk and are raising their kids to know that intolerance is not acceptable or fair.

    Oh, and I agree with some of the sentiment here that the post-Prop 8 gloating that’s occurring in some corners of the nation and blogosphere is truly sickening. When a child can understand Obama’s message of equality, why can’t so many adults?

  8. Fannie,
    Thanks!

    Yes, the gloating is truly disturbing.

    As for kids being less discriminatory and more open minded than adults — well, this reminds me of Gloria Steinem’s dictum that “”The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn but to unlearn.” I think kids are better at recognizing when something is unjust as they have not yet fully LEARNED all the hate our society indoctrinates people with.

    Let’ hope soon we our both posting about how Prop 8 won’t be put into law…

  9. Obama is actually _not_ pro same sex marriage. He supports civil unions and was against prop 8 only because he didn’t believe a constitutional amendment was the right way to go about setting “one man one woman” into law.

    A subtle point, but worth mentioning.

  10. AK,
    Definitely worth mentioning — thanks for pointing this out. Now that you have, I remember his stance on civil unions — guess I was caught up in M/P loss euphoria…

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