Ok, I am feeling much more love for the change.gov website and the Obama administration than I was a week ago. Not only did they revamp and put back the detailed “Agenda” section, they included the issue that I (and others I am sure) wrote to them about, and more. And they stated in clear terms what they support. From the “Civil Rights” page:
Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.
After the civil rights letdowns of the election, this is exactly what I wanted to hear. Thank you, Barack Obama, and thank you, transition team!
Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, India, Mexico, Peru, Spain, UK and of course the US. These are the countries and nationalities of people that contacted me yesterday to congratulate me on the election of Obama. The world outside the US is as (rightfully) jubilant as we are.
Obviously I am overjoyed that Obama has won. His landslide victory in many ways redeems my country, and makes so many things possible. And the symbolism that his candidacy represents around the world is stunning. From my travels, I know how improbable his victory was seen around the world. For many, it was a given that the US was too conservative, and too racist to allow this to happen. I think in an instant we have redefined to the world what is possible from America and its citizens. I was also thrilled to see that in my native Indiana, a state that hasn’t voted for a Democrat since 1964, it looks like Obama has won (by a razor thin margin). Indiana was formerly the most reliably Republican state in the union, always being called within minutes of the polls closing. The fact that it has gone to Obama is representative of the sea change in American politics right now.
And the faces. To see the tears streaming down the faces of so many people, especially African Americans, in disbelief and joy, was especially moving. And my own tears, as it was finally announced that he had passed the threshold to win, that we had finally beaten back the monster of the past 8 years, and to see that redemption was possible for my country, and to know that I could go home and help rebuild.
My joy was tinged with bitterness, however upon seeing the results of California’s Prop 8. It appears that California voters have decided to write discrimination into our state constitution, branding me and other gay people as second class citizens, separate and unequal. And how very ironic and upsetting that by far the largest group (proportionally) opposed to our equality should be African Americans.
“Freedom for me, but not for thee…”
I guess my plan to move to New York at the end of the year has just been validated with one more reason.
Thankfully, it is almost over. Election day is finally here, and the US finally has a chance to redeem itself. And after the last 8 years of creeping fascism and great damage to American democracy and separation of powers, now is my country’s chance to right itself. I am very hopeful (although still nervous) that Barack Obama will be elected with substantial majorities in congress. I am less sure of the prospects for defeating Proposition 8 in California. In my lifetime, I have never seen the intensity of action or felt the import of an election like this one. It will not be easy to undo the damage of the last 8 years, but if we are unable to chart a course in that direction I honestly won’t be comfortable living in my own country. I am on pins and needles, and await with some anxiety the returns. With the recent changes in DST (the US moving back and Argentina moving forward), I am now six hours ahead of California time. It is going to be a looooong night.
Great article in the New York Times sums up the anxiety:
Many liberal Democrats watch MSNBC, but some say it sounds too much like comfort food. CNN serves its election coverage with a stiff little chaser of doubt for Democrats, and many liberals say that CNN and NPR are their regular evening companions. If they really want to rub the sore tooth of worry, they dial over to the “Obama’s radical friend Bill Ayers” channel, otherwise known as Fox.
“Mostly I flip between CNN and MSNBC, but I go to Fox if I want to get enraged,” Mr. Downs said.
In all the vitriol and brouhaha over the seating of the Michigan and Florida delegates, I never could quite understand (if it wouldn’t affect the outcome) why it mattered at all whether the delegates were seated none, half or full. Then I read a piece in the NY Times (I know, I read them a lot) a few minutes ago, which made it clear why the states care:
It’s about having enough votes to do other things — and if you are, say, Michigan, that includes pursuit of your long-time goal of toppling New Hampshire and Iowa from their perches of primacy in the nominating calendar.
So at least I get it now. Still, I think it is important that they be punished in some way for disobeying party rules, that part makes sense. If there were no adverse consequences from breaking the rules, everyone would break them with impunity.