Mixed Bag

I watched the returns come in at a downtown hotel with the State Democratic Party.  Democrats in the state of Utah typically do not have too much to smile about.  But there were smiles yesterday.  Cheers.  Hugs.  We finally won something.  I remember the last 2 national presidential election parties I attended.  2004 when Amendment 3 passed in Utah and not a person NOT A PERSON who I voted for won.  2000 when I stayed up until dawn to learn more than I could ever imagine about hanging chads and recounts and Florida.  Of all places, Florida.  Last night I was brought to tears by Barack Obama’s acceptance speech and even John McCain’s comments felt important.  Historic.  I watched as the first African American became President of the United States.  And it felt good.  Like the glass was not only half-full but we were finally pouring liquid into the glass.

Then I woke up.

One of the first things I heard on the television was some commentator stating that we now live in a post-racial society, where racism is not longer a factor in one’s success.  I am afraid that this attitude is not an isolated one.  I am afraid that Obama’s success will be held up as proof that racism no longer exists.  Its more exciting to talk about the first Black president than it is to discuss the daily realities of racism, the  legacy of anti-miscegenation laws, Jim Crow, internment camps, indeed slavery.  Schools.  The achievement Gap.  White Supremacy.  The connections between classism and racism.   

I woke up this morning to discover that the same day that we elected the first African American president, we sent Chris Buttars back to the state senate.  Buttars, notorious for picking on gays and blacks.  Anybody with less power than he.  Remember Buttars and his – this bill is like an ugly black baby comment – Buttars who tried to sabotage the Salt Lake City Mutual Commitment Registry?  My friend thinks that anybody who voted for Buttars should have to wear a pin that reads, “racist, homophobe for Buttars.”  I know, its a little too close to Hitler’s Germany, but I get her point. 

I woke up to learn that anti-gay initiatives passed in Arizona, Florida and Arkansas.  The most hateful of these is Arkansas where there is now a gay adoption ban.  NOTE to homophobes:  Gay adoption bans do not stop us from having children.  They just leave the children unprotected under the law.  They rip children away from their parents.  They do not allow well meaning state institutions from looking at whats in the best interest of the child.  Oh, and they cost the state a lot of money.  A lot of money.  GAY ADOPTION BANS ARE ANTI-CHILDREN besides being anti-gay. 

And now we know, marriage will be stripped away from same-sex couples in California.  And it makes sense, we leave minority rights up to majority rule, what do we expect?  Didn’t Alexis De Toqueville have a little to say about this almost two hundred years ago?  A democracy is supposed to ensure basic rights and freedoms for all, but where is my due process and equal treatment under the law?  Religious institutions were able to successfully use their definition of morality to define a civil institution.  Are millions of Americans engulfed in the cognitive dissonance that must exist when they believe (or proport to believe) in liberty and justice for all and follow that up with allowing their churches, indeed their interpretation of their god to restrict equal protection?  Or are most of us mere sheep, baahing to the shepard, believing in “free agency” for MOST OF US.     

I woke up. 

But waking up felt different this time.  Because when I woke up, I woke up to the reality of an African American President.  And I woke up to the memory of those 2 little girls watching their father claim the presidency. 

And the glass is not full.  But it is half-full.  And finally we are pouring liquid into the glass.

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5 Responses to “Mixed Bag”

  1. the other sister Says:

    you made me cry. I love you

  2. Carrie Says:

    Congratulations….your blog has achieved Godwin’s Law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwins_law
    I love you too.

  3. Doug Says:

    true i know you fell strongly on gay right and you need to but not 24/7 get outher intress golf;fishing needle point ; quilting ‘ bird watching ; you need a break from it now and agin or you will be old and gray by 40

  4. The one and only J-Kay Says:

    Now I’m crying!

  5. Jeremy Franklin Says:

    Hey. It was really heartbreaking to see the anti-gay initiatives pass across the country. Seems bigotry is a moral and value in much of America. Also, I saw there were some protests in LA the past couple days and SLC is having one too (State and S. Temple at 6pm) . Here is the info http://tinyurl.com/6s2g3c or http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=34322082542 I think I will be there. Perhaps, I’ll see everyone there. JF

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