Thursday, November 8, 2012

Unprecedented

Just when I want to pull my hair out over the ridiculous and enraging things that go down in this country, something else happens that makes me want to cheer and high-five my fellow countrymen.

On Tuesday, elections were held in the U.S. Three states, Maryland, Maine and Washington, voted to legalize same-sex marriage. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, proposed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage were defeated.

Same-sex marriage referendums, either for or against gay marriage, have come before the American people on 32 previous occasions. All 32 times, Americans voted to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Until Tuesday, that is, when the exact opposite happened.

Cups hand over ear. What's that I hear? The winds of change?

But that's not all. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin became the first openly gay person elected to Senate.



Mazie Hirono of Hawaii became the first Buddhist representative. Tulsi Gabbard, also of Hawaii, became the first Hindu representative.




Ladda Tammy Duckworth became the first Asian American woman elected to congress and the first congresswoman born in Thailand. Also, she is disabled. She lost her legs while serving in the Iraq war.




And of course, Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States, soundly defeated Romney to win a second term. A large percentage of key votes for Obama came from the 24 million voter-eligible Latinos in the country.

The reaction to the election was predictably strong. There was both joy and disappointment. On the cringe-worthy end of the spectrum, sharp messages of hate, including racial epiteths, were spewed on Twitter and other social media forums, many of which quickly went viral as they were roundly chastised by tens of thousands of readers (note to haters: you can delete in the morning, but screenshots are forever).



Actually, Donald, Obama won the popular vote too, by over
3 million votes. Perhaps you're thinking of Bush in 2000?


Many conservatives swore to leave socialist, gay-loving America behind and move to Canada, the UK or Australia, though if they follow through they may be disappointed to find that all of them are decidedly more socialist and/or gay-loving than the U.S. (to find a more socially conservative country, look to the Middle East).



Kristen Neel: prompting facepalms from
Australians, Americans, and Kristins everywhere.


Just hours after the election, conservative pundit Bill O'Reilly lamented that “It's not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is now the minority.” 

Yes and yes.

This election marks an historic shift in our country.

America is made up of a collection of minority groups. If a political party systematically ignores or insults a number of those minority groups, it can no longer win an election.

If you characterize minorities as welfare grabbers, make cavalier comments about rape or act as if your religion is the only religion that matters, the voters will reject you because you do not represent the majority.

If you take women, blacks, Hispanics and gays and put them together in a big pot (and hmmm, let's call that pot America), that's a huge consortium of voters. The only candidates that can truly represent America are the candidates which recognize and respect these groups.

I have always been a little put-off by the flag waving and 'God bless America' crowd. I consider myself a citizen of the world first, and an American second. I don't believe any one country is better than another. But let me tell you, on Tuesday, I was proud to be an American.



P.S. Though, to be perfectly honest, I'm a bit disappointed I didn't think to promise that I was moving to Australia if Obama won.

Opportunity. Lost.

19 comments:

  1. There's not one thing I didn't love about your commentary on these. Thanks for the fantastic screen shot of DT's hissyfit! I heard he'd deleted most of his tweets later. Baaaahahahahaha caches are a bitch, aren't they?

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    1. Thanks K! I do feel a bit sorry for the one girl though (Kristen), as she seems to be fairly young. She is now a poster child for why teenagers should not be on twitter.

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  2. I appreciate your candor. I am a Christian first and foremost. I am an American second. All I care to say is that I am worried.

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    1. Fair enough. My spiritual beliefs are hugely important to me as well, and at the core of those beliefs is a fundamental respect for life in all its manifestations, including sexual orientation.

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  3. Honestly, I went to bed expecting to wake up to the news that some crazy-pants snafu was in progress. So far it is just us here in Florida lagging behind on our counts, but I am not surprised. In our small slice of FL alone the line was never less than an hour for early voting and was SIX hours long the Friday before the election. I live right down the block from two polling places and had to take alternate routes to run errands due to the lines of traffic waiting to get into the parking lots. I didn't even bother going anywhere near there on election day. It was so awesome to see that many voters out in force, AND to see how many of them were just out of high school. I gave so many thumbs up out my window I'm surprised my hand didn't start cramping.

    Bill O'Rielly's comment made me want to cheer. FINALLY more people are starting to recognize how institutionalized all of our prejudices really are. Now we just need those people to work on changing that.

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    1. I heard about the long lines in Florida. That saddened me, as I imagine many chose not to wait and just went home. Other heavily populated regions of the country have been able to make it work, I'm not sure why Florida continues to have such a mess on election days.

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  4. It has always surprised me that world leading country like America could be so narrow minded and exclusive. I am happy to watch you morph ever slowly towards the left. It is a much friendlier, inclusive, accepting and supportive way to live. I was very happy to see common sense prevail on Tuesday. I will never understand fully the culture of America, not being from there, but the winds of change are definitely in the air x

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    1. MM, I have lived here my whole life and I don't understand the social and religious conservatism here. I think it's just a fundamentally different mindset from the one I (and people in most democratic societies) hold.

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  5. As an Australian, that screenshot from Kristen Neel made me ROFL. Is there generally such a lack of knowledge about other countries? Why is it that voting is not compulsory, as it is in Australia?

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    1. The girl is apparently a teenager, though not sure that excuses her from such knowledge. Unfortunately, there is a pretty large knowledge gap when it comes to anything overseas. Our news coverage is embarrassingly self-focused. Not sure why it's not compulsory. I suppose if we want to allow everyone the right to vote, we want to allow them the right to not vote as well.

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  6. Well done to you! It seems democracy has won!

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  7. Just de-lurking to say I love this post!

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  8. The people spoke. The world applauded.

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    1. And I cartwheeled across the living room.

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  9. I am still laughing at that Kristen Neel tweet. Good grief!

    So pleased with the result.

    LCM x

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    1. Did you see her response? "I was referring to the prevous (sic) office that actually had a moral position."

      Well, that just clarifies everything... (??)

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  10. A thoroughly satisfying result!

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Mmmm, comments - nom, nom, nom, nom!

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