Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Day Glory and Devastation

Wow, election day was exhausting this year. This was such an important day. Election morning I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. The only thing I could compare it to was the feeling of excitement I had leading up to Christmas. This was going to be my best Christmas ever, and my present would be President-elect Obama.

By 1pm on election day I was exhausted from the intense excitement I was feeling. I needed a nap, but when you have a 3 year old anti-napping daughter, it was out of the question. So I dragged myself through the day. Working here and there, and checking the television periodically to see if there were any election problems, etc.

By 4pm, I am 100% convinced Obama is going to win the election. Not an ounce of uncertainty. I think this was some type of election mania, because I felt as if God had told me Himself that this would happen and I didn't need to worry anymore. It was such a relief, and I passed this information on to others, but they did not share my certainty.

By 6pm, I have decided this is an official holiday in our household, so we are going to celebrate with pizza, cupcakes, etc. (this is how we celebrate now). I give my daughter her special Princess Soup that she had picked out days before, and decide to call my mom to pass some time because I know my mom and dad are bouncing off the walls waiting for the election results, too. They live in Florida and have had an election or two stolen from them. My retired mom spent so many hours working for Obama--making phone calls, knocking on doors, handing out food to people waiting in line to vote (she rocks!).

It is 6:30pm, my daughter's gigantic bowl of soup is eaten and I look down and she is passed out in the Lazy Boy chair. At first, a little disappointed we didn't get to share more excitement about Obama's impending election, but then I realize, YES!, we get to have more time to watch the election results!!!

It is 7pm, the wife and I are sitting down in front of the tv with our delicious celebratory pizza and beer (a luxury in the Kelly household these days!!) with CNN on. Not enough is happening. I am flipping the channels between news shows, but nothing really exciting. The hologram on CNN was kind of cool, and I like they waited until election night to launch it. But, this night is about our Presidential win, so away with the holograms.

By 9pm, we are so exhausted, but the win seems apparent. My prediction coming true. Thank you, God. The wife passes out for a nap. I wake her for the official decision and to see Obama. We both agree John McCain showed his best side in his concession speech. We are grateful for the way he handled the loss ( I think that is the liberal in us).

The evening is so incredibly powerful. For so many of us, this election was critical for our existence. Could we go on without this win? I am not sure, and certainly so grateful to not test it.

The wife and I are an oppressed people. We are gay moms who want a world that respects our family with the same equality and dignity shown the heterosexual world. This want has grown so much stronger now that we are parents. Wouldn't it be so great for our daughter to grow up in a world where her parents were treated equally? If it weren't for our daughter, I could live with being discriminated against. I would still fight the fight, but it means so much more knowing there is a little life coming behind us that will one day experience the unpleasantness our world has to offer.

As an oppressed people, the wife and I hold hands as we watch Obama give his election night speech. We are so moved. It is such a powerful moment, and it causes us to feel so much more hopeful about our future as Americans, and as Gay Americans. The future couldn't look brighter.

It is 1AM, I go to my computer to check the election results for the anti-gay ballot measures in Florida, Arkansas, Arizona, and California. I am devastated by the results. The spiritual fulfillment I had moments before knocked completely out of me.

Arkansas votes to stop gay people from adopting or foster parenting. Jesus, how could this happen. 57% voted for the ban.

Florida, where they have worked so hard on their marriage amendment, loses its battle by a small margin. They needed 60% to pass the amendment, and they got 62%.

Arizona, which has been beating back marriage amendments in the past, loses its marriage amendment with 56% voting to approve the anti-gay measure.

And the most devastating loss of the evening: California, where marriage had just become legal earlier in the year. Now, the election has not been finalized, so I pray I have to eat this post, but it looks as though the anti-gay marriage amendment passed by 52%. I am so bummed. How could people vote on our lives that way as if we were property taxes or something. My God, we are human beings, and our rights are being voted on by the people. What kind of country is this?

Lots of lies were told by conservatives in these campaigns, so can I blame straight people for believing them? When the Catholic and Mormon churches tell the people lies about the marriage laws and about us as parents, can I blame people for believing them? If you can't believe your church, who can you believe?

I am sickened today by both the election outcomes and the fact that people think they have the right to vote on our lives in this way in the first place. I am reminded of the African American journey in this country, and how we proudly elected a Black man president tonight.

I probably have 20+ years to win my civil rights, but my daughter only has one childhood to experience and it is now. So, forgive me for my impatience, but my daughter is everything to me. I just want the best life for her, and people voting on our family is not part of my plan.

Tonight, you anti-gay voters suck. Tomorrow, hopefully, I will feel called to continue the work of educating you better.

God Bless President-Elect Obama.


TwoDaddyFamily said...

We feel euphoria and elation over President Obama's election, while at the same time, we feel extremely demoralized and depressed about the California (and Arkansas, Arizona and Florida) haters voting against families like ours and against our children. Very, very sad...

Brandi A said...

I relate to the high but low feeling you describe. It's weird, because even here in GA, I feel mostly supported in my personal life. I have been able to be out-of-the-closet, even at a job where my sexual orientation is left off the EOE statement. I feel I've retained a variety of people in my life, and that the overwhelming majority of people accept me how I am, love Kristin as well, and believe the kids are in the best place with me and her. This has even come from people who aren't accustomed to having "the gays" in their lives. Still, though, for some reason...even in California...voters seem to defeat efforts to let us have families without jumping through crazy hoops. I don't get it. Sometimes, I wonder if it's the term "marriage." Do some male-female couples really fear losing something? Does it require them to think too much beyond their boxes? Oh and get woman who was in favor of Proposition 8 said (paraphrasing), "I'm not saying gays can't continue to live the way they do. I'm just saying we need to protect marriage." Are people that misguided? Don't they realize that they are essentially saying, "They can be gay, but they won't legally be considered 'family' or 'next of kin.'" And, I won't get started on all the basic rights we are denied because we are not our partners' official "next of kin"...not without the right paperwork on hand, at least.

Kathy Kelly said...

I think a lot of straight people selfishly don't want to give up what their fairy tale of what marriage was for them growing up. They like to forget about divorce, adultery, single parents, etc.

I really don't think the majority of no gay marriage people are even aware of what they are doing. I don't think they realize the effect it has on us, and especially don't get the rights we don't have. This is partially due to heterosexual privilege, but mostly because we haven't done a good enough job explaining it to folks.

We can do better on our side of this fight.

john said...

we keep speaking, we keep protesting, i have full faith that our voices will be heard for our children.

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