Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Long December

"A long December, and there's reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last."- Counting Crows.

That's about as well as I can put it. There is legitimate reason to believe that the upcoming year will really be better. And it's going to be a long December (and rest of November) while we wait out the end of Bush era. I can't wait. Anyone would be an improvement over Bush, but Barack Obama is something entirely different.

We can talk all we want about his race, and make no mistake, it's a huge deal that an African American has been elected to the highest office in America. But Barack Obama is so much more than his race. He is brilliant, charismatic, and a born leader. He may not have years of experience, but I trust him. There's a lot of troubles laying ahead for our country, but when I look at the new president-elect, there is no doubt in my mind that he is the best man to face them. The opposition spent a lot of time talking about experience, but I think it's overrated in the presidency. Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy were very inexperienced, and they both made America a better place through their presidencies. On the flip side, George W Bush was experienced and his cabinet had high-level political experience stretching back 40 years. And look how well that turned out.

Barack is an inspiring figure. You only have to look at the voter turnout to see this is true. He didn't just bring out the African American vote, he brought out the youth vote. My generation, for the first time in our adult lives, had a candidate we could be excited about. I voted for John Kerry, but I wasn't thrilled at the idea of it. I believe that this man can bring about the change he promised and restore our status on the world stage. There's a feeling I have in my gut that I haven't had in a long time. It may be cliched at this point, but that feeling is hope. I am proud of my country today.

And yet.

In California, voters very narrowly passed a ban on gay marriage. I am a straight, married man, and this pisses me off. I can't even comprehend the arguments against gay marriage. It hurts no one and doesn't affect straight marriage in any way. Actually, I take that back. The fact that my gay and lesbian friends aren't allowed to get married weakens my marriage significantly. If two people who love each other aren't allowed the same rights to legally express that love, how much can marriage really mean? No one has ever given me an argument against gay marriage that wasn't just a weak paraphrasing of, "It's just wrong." This kind of ignorance is simply disgusting. The ads in favor of this proposition flat out said, "If this doesn't pass, we won't be allowed to refuse services to people based on our beliefs." In other words, we legally want to discriminate against these people- please vote to let us continue hating freely. So don't pat yourselves on the backs too hard for electing a black president, America. You've just decided to oppress and discriminate against a new victim.

To my gay and lesbian friends, keep fighting the good fight- I'll be standing alongside you every step of the way.

But I can't let that get me too down. Besides, Prop 8 will likely be overturned in courts (yes, it's that poorly conceived and executed). We do have a lot to be proud of today. I look forward to seeing this presidency through and remembering what it's like to be proud of your government. Good night, I'll talk to you again soon.


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