Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Thank you, America

That is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected.” – Barack Obama, President-Elect of the United States of America

We all respond to history differently. But last night, at 8:01 p.m. when the news came in, I cried. Joy. Pride. Hope. The weight of our nation's ugly beginnings built on the backs of those who were not free. It all washed over me. So I cried. And I'm not ashamed in the least. As Rachel Maddow said upon hearing the historic results, “It's sort of worth crying about.”

The true impact of what America did yesterday won't be felt today, it won't be felt Jan. 20., it won't be felt in 2012 or possibly even 2108. Instead it will be felt in each generation of children who will grow up from this point forward truly believing their parents' oft-repeated encouragement that they can be anything they want to be. Because they can.

Will it happen overnight? Of course not. The road is indeed long. The climb is beyond steep. Our problems cannot be erased by one man, by one election or by one victory. The hard work of real change still lies ahead. But now at least we have a chance.

Yesterday, amid the celebration and excitement, came a painful reminder that progress is often imperfect. As I watched Obama win, I also watched California lose. Proposition 8, the initiative that would write discrimination into my state's constitution and take away the legal right that gays and lesbians now have to marry just like every other Californian seems on its way to victory. So as my heart bursts, it also breaks. Two steps forward, one step back.

Despite the truths we hold self evident, equality is hardly ever handed to us. We keep fighting because we must. And we keep fighting because we know we can win. It will take time – it always takes time. But if Barack Obama's triumph has taught us anything, it is that the things we once thought impossible are now possible. A man with a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, a man whose name most of America has never even heard of (let alone could pronounce) five years ago will become the 44th president of the United States of America. Can we create that more perfect union? Yes, you're damn right we can.


Lezlie Mac said...

Bring on the change !!

You're right, Dorothy, nothing comes easy and it all takes time. So Prop 8, if not this time, surely the next. Hope, hope and hope some more.

;) babs said...

bravo america, the whole world is very proud of you!

now, what about prop 8?

ravaj said...

so what is up next in the fight against prop 8?

slacker said...

It was the best of was the worst of times.

Fantastic news on President. Sadness on the propositions.

Congrats on getting quoted in the Trib's entertainment blog.

2partsbrave said...

great job, america...!

this is just the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Two steps forward, one step back, indeed.

I cried too when he won.

And then I told my fiance we had to back up the wedding planning and pick another state. :(

Lula de Montes said...

Wondering how Phyllis Lion must feel this morning after half of the state she lives in basically is reducing her marriage and benefits to peanuts.

What can I say?

Carmen said...

Im very proud of you!!.
The new era is comming :D!
Prop 8 will be for sure.
Congrats from spain

Beatrice said...


maria b. said...

Thank you america.
This change break historical barriers, what's next?

There is more freedom coming until next barrier.

Congratulations brothers and sisters!!

Amanda said...

The pride that rose in me as those numbers went up was overwhelming. For the first time in years I felt like my voice was heard and I might see a world in which my son could grow up without the limitations and boundaries put in place that I had watched accumulate as I grew up.

I remember fighting to save creative writing and performing arts classes in my high school and the terrible loss I felt when they went anyway no matter how many signatures both teacher and student I had. And all so that the sports programs could receive that funding instead!

Finally, last night I had made a difference and in so doing had met new people and old faces from my high school days that understood and marched with me to bring my rediculously republican and low income area as far as to give Obama 39% of our votes, the highest democratic vote we had achieved for prez in 10 years or more!

To hear that Prop 8 should even come near passing much less pass makes me sick! If it has I hope that it wont be long before it is removed, negated by an intelligent and less close-minded people that see how limiting and horrendous this thing is to it's people. It's so sad to see that I was wrong about just how open-minded and fair we had become as a nation. The beauty in all of those wedding portraits made me feel that we had truly wont the right to call ourselves americans.

I agree with you, I am so proud of our electing Obama and the bright future that is sure to come with it as we all work toward that change he refers to but my heart sinks to think that things like Prop 8 could ever pass!

PartizAna said...


jennifer from pittsburgh said...

We cheered like maniacs when the race was called for Obama last night, scaring the hell out of the dog, but she'll get over it.
Imagine having a president who believes in workers earning a living wage, available healthcare to all, rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, education v. edumacation, foreign policy that isn't based on how Halliburton can make a buck, and HOPE.
I'm giddy!

Sarah in Chicago said...

I'm sorry ... I'm so sorry ... but I just can't.

I am so angry, hurt, and almost crying this morning I can't begin to describe it ... yes, wonderful Obama won, woohoo & all that ... but defeating Prop 8 was my hope, my change.

How? How could they do this? I know it's too close to call as yet, but it looks like we're going down ... there are challenges, and I fight so hard, but a person can only take so much.

I'm moving to the EU, as my huge extended family is in the Netherlands, once my PhD is done in a year and a half. I want to live somewhere civilised, where I am recognised and considered as a whole human being.

And to think, for a moment there, I thought that perhaps I could be a member of this society, I actually believed.

madmags said...

Oh Happy Day!
One huge chunk of fear and prejudice has been chipped off the face of the planet.
I too, cried with happiness when the announcement came last night. Seeing the crowd at Grant Park - the pure joy on faces and unabashed tears being shed was a scene that will forever be etched in my memory.
Sadly, Prop.8 will pass. Can it be that only one fear can be overcome at a time in this world? I also mourn the axing of Dr. Erica Hahn. She may not really exist, but Brooke Smith does and I will surely miss her.
All that aside, I dare anyone to wipe the smile off my face today and for many days to come.
Yes we can!

Anonymous said...

What you should have been crying about was not the election, but that the same seemingly "open-minded," progressive people who voted for Barack Obama overwhelmingly in California didn't think Gay people were equal too.

That's what upsets me. I'm happy Obama is president now...but he said openly again and again that he wasn't for same-sex marriage.

Looks like many of his followers believed it too.

I can't believe Prop 8 passed.

Lopey said...

Last night, when Obama won, I cheered and shouted and applauded. I listened to him speak and felt hope. I didn't cry, I grinned, from ear to ear. It wasn't until a few hours later that I cried. The results for Prop 8 were coming in, and looking terrible. I stayed up all last night, obsessively refreshing the ballot counts. After the roller coaster ride of emotions last night and the lack of sleep I feel more drained then 2 years of campaigning and weeks of negative ads ever made me feel. I'm disillusioned, in my state and in my neighbors. And I'm pretty sure I'm still in shock, with the worst yet to come when it finally sinks in that so many California voters, so many of my NEIGHBORS, would choose to take my rights away from me.

Penny Cillin said...

I am saddened by the fact that in the year 2008 the people of California would support a law that is exclusionary, unequal, and bigoted. Can someone please explain to me how your gay neighbors having the right to marry would absolutely destroy your little bubble??

Whatever....they want to keep their high divorce rates all to themselves, I guess.

pyewacket said...

I read and hear all the talk about the progress and change that has come about with this presidential election and yet...I feel like I am on the outside, looking in.

And I don't expect any support from the Democratic party on this matter.

I feel that we are very much on our own.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing day in American history. I personally didn’t vote for Obama but am truly inspired by the positivity and global reaction resulting from his election. His energy is addicting and his demeanor inspiring.

His story is truly American. I’d love to dive into Obama’s mind and discover his motives and internal dialog. To go through a year of campaigning is very difficult, but to go through a year of campaigning and deliver a speech like that is truly inspirational.

What’s also fascinating is looking at the dynamic of who voted, how they voted, and what drove them to vote. Obama’s campaign created a wave of energy that grew bigger and bigger as his campaign moved forward, engulfing (in a good way) each supporter and supercharging them. How did they do this? It all started with a vision. Obama’s vision, planted deep within his mind, began to take root almost 2 years ago today. The power of his vision can teach every American citizen about how to accomplish goals using the powers of visualization and intention.

I looked into this vision questing further and found that many super-successful people have been using vision boards to help focus their mind and accomplish their dreams. A vision board is a collage of images pasted on a board that represent your desired outcomes, your goals, and dreams. By studying your vision board, your brain gains clarity on what is important to your success, the things you MUST accomplish. I found a site that allows you to download a free 8-step power plan to creating vision boards. I’d highlight recommend downloading it.

Anonymous said...

I feel totally speechless and overwhelmed by this amazing development in America. What hope this gives people around the world to see America choose a leader with this incredible mix of confidence, compassion, ethical responsibility, empathy and intelligence.

But Prop 8, that makes my heart sink, too. We have been fortunate to have the right to marry in Canada for a few years now. It will come - it has to, the tide's changing. I am sure that your fight to prevent the ban was not in vain. When I heard Obama say the words, "GAY and straight" in his victory speech, it spoke to me of potential. If any leader is going to listen and make things right, I think it would be him.

Imrryr said...

First time commenter :)

I'm really disappointed that Prop 8 passed, and it really put a damper on Obama's victory. Even if Prop 8 doesn't directly effect me it's impossible to feel satisfied when fellow Americans are still being denied their basic rights. The good guys and gals will win eventually, I'm just sorry that it won't be today.

dalila said...

i'm very happy that obama won, and i almost cried when i heard that prop 8 passed. but i still have hope for a better future.

packrat said...

Amen, Ms. Snarker--on both counts. It sounds like many of us across the country got misty-eyed at that hour. The weight has been lifted and it feels so good to have hope again, for the first time in a loooong time.

As for Prop 8, I don't even know what to say. So sad.

Mo said...

Gay. It's the new black.

Dot, I dig you, but forgive me if I don't share your unfettered optimism.

The choice was between a white guy who lectures us on the sanctity of marriage, but upgraded his handicapped wife for a younger, richer model, or a black guy who advocates separate but equal.

I'm just not willing to give it a big HURRAH.

Is it great that the US jumped the racial hurdle? You bet.

Do I love that blacks, whites, and hispanics have joined in a Rainbow Coalition to decide that gays are the new convenient place to take a dump?

Well, notsomuch.

When a president comes and says the word "gay" as something more than a rhetorical device....then


I'll tear up.

Until then, I'll weep for my neighbors who were swept to the law's margins, as they previously wept for me.

dc said...

On Prop 8: I think we have to take a leaf out of Obama's book and do the nitty gritty ground work, so we can build overwhelming support for same sex marriages and win down the road.

dc said...


hopeful said...

Good article, not least because it doesn't descend to the gay v. black argument that gets wheeled out, as if all minorities are separate and battling it out against each other.

From the 'other' side of the Atlantic Obama's victory feels momentous. The passing of prop 8 is a horrible blow and an affront to decency in its most basic sense, but... here's a president who specifically acknowledged gay folk in his acceptance speech. There may be the same homophobia in the country as previously, but at least you have an administration coming along that is looking to address inequalities.

Playing the vulnerable off against each other damages us all, ignores our commonalities and screws over queer women of colour even more than ever. And that really isn't cool.

So... Congratulations, and good luck in the struggle against homophobia (and sexism and racism)