05 November 2008

Obama Wins !....and so does Prop 8

First: Woooooooohooooooo!

It's so good to see somebody that I can recognize as a thoughtful, compassionate and intelligent human being in the White House. It's been a long fucking 8 years--and I don't even live in the States.

Obama is a politician; Obama's political views run further to the right than many of us would want; Obama will, inevitably, disappoint everyone at one moment or another (he is human and whatnots); all of these things are true.

And none of these things change the fact that his presidency is a historic one. Just his presence in the Oval Office is enough to catalyze discussion and new ways of thinking about and looking at race relations in the US, and I cannot see that as anything but a good thing. Add to that the fact that he is both intelligent and capable, as well as being (by US-presidential-politics standards) fairly progressive, and you can be that I'm looking to our neighbours to the south with a little of that much-trumpeted Hope (TM).

It almost takes the sting out of the fact that we got stuck with Harper-bot for another gorram term. Almost.


Second: WHAT!?!

I've known, intellectually, that the US is not that progressive a place when it comes to LGBT rights, and that the Religious Right has been damn influential and just plain hateful towards folk like me in recent years (not that they weren't previously; I've just come to notice it being right the fuck out there in the open since I started paying attention to US politics). I knew that this would be a close fight. I think I even acknowledged the strong possibility that this hateful piece of shit would pass.

But I still don't get it on any kind of emotional/intuitive level. I flat out cannot understand how over 5 million people could say "yes" to the following wording:


* Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
* Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

It has the words "eliminates right" in it. How? How could you vote to take away another human being's rights and still call yourself the "greatest democracy on earth"? I hope the next time an anti-gay bigot (or bigot of any stripe) tries to say those words, they choke on them and die. Or end up in the hospital with no health coverage. And are denied visitation rights from their partner.

I've never cried over an election result--certainly not over one in another country. I cried this morning when I read the news that Prop 8 had passed. I flat out cannot comprehend that there are people in the world who would work hard and spend millions to take a basic right away from another person because they don't like the way they fuck. I think it hit even harder for me because this wasn't just a refusal to grant LGBT people the right to marry (bad as that would have been on its own). This was the choice to take away a right we already had.


The academic in me is already thinking about cultural setting, and historical factors, and social pressures, and the way that the "Yes"/"No" campaigns were run, and the particular emotional buttons that the ads pushed. She's already formulating a plausible hypothesis (or, rather, plausible hypotheses) for why people might have voted "Yes". The compassionate person and the bisexual in me are huddled in a corner, alternating between crying and hurling abuse, and they can't understand this kind of hate.

I feel so very fortunate to live in Canada (where we've allowed same-sex marriage for years and the country has not yet imploded into chaos and anarchy), and in a particularly tolerant corner of it at that. But man, is it clear now how unusual my situation is when looked at from a broader perspective (gets even scarier if you look globally). And how fragile that bit of safety that LGBT folk here have really is.

To the bigots in California (and Florida, and everywhere in the fucking world that cannot grant LGBT people basic fucking dignity and equal rights and protection under the law): fuck you. I don't have that kind of hatred for other people--but you're bringing me closer than I have ever been before.