So. The election. Yeah, everyone's talking about it (still!) and quite frankly I'm sick and tired of it, but of course I wanted to post about my own reaction to a couple of issues.
Firstly, President-elect Obama. This was bound to be a historic election regardless of whether he or Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination, but I can't think offhand of many places in the world where the leader was someone of mixed heritage, or from an ethnic minority, etc. Female leaders of nations are old hat by now, although I would like to see a woman president in the White House in my lifetime (just please, NOT Sarah Palin!).
Secondly...*dun dun DUN!* Prop 8. I am SO disappointed.
I'm disappointed in the special-interest groups from out of state that poured money into the campaign. I'm disappointed in my neighbors who had those "Yes on 8" signs on their lawn. I'm disappointed that, in an era where we can send a person of mixed heritage to the White House, we can, with the other hand, treat another group of human beings as second-class citizens. Replace "same-sex" with "mixed race" or "interfaith," and we're right back at Jim Crow or even Nazi Germany. Do we really want to travel down that path?
Personally, I don't see what preventing same-sex marriage has to do with "preserving the sanctity of marriage," when heterosexual couples have been making a mockery of the institution since as long as it's existed. I'm the last person who believes in the "sanctity of marriage" because one of my parents made a mockery of his own marriage (which is not, incidentally, to my mother). I believe it SHOULD be sacred; I believe it SHOULD be about two people who love and respect one another enough to make a lifetime commitment to EACH OTHER, and each other alone. What I don't believe in is that it should only exist between a man and a woman. If "God is love," as most faiths teach us, then it is not up to us, mere mortal humans, to judge one form of love as superior to all others, and to decry others as "wrong" or "a sin." We don't decide what sin is. Only God decides.
I'm very live-and-let-live, and I frankly don't care what people do behind their closed doors. I'm straight myself, but I've never believed it's my job as a straight person to decry the lifestyles of my gay friends as "immoral" or "wrong." It's not my business to do so. It's also not my place to strip them of an essential human right, to strip them of personhood or make them feel like they are less than me for being who they are. It's not right, and I wouldn't want it done to me, so I don't do it.
Getting away from the moral aspects, Prop 8 is flat-out illegal. It's illegal to make an amendment to the California constitution via popular referendum; that's the job of California's legislature. Given the state of our economy, I frankly think the Legislature has bigger fish to fry than to worry about the gender of people's spouses.
More to the point, I may be wrong about this, but Prop 8 is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, the highest law of this land. The Equal Protection clause is supposed to guarantee equal protection under the law to all persons, not just some. "Separate but equal" was recognized to be anything but, in the case of schools for persons of color. The same applies to "domestic partner" status, which in no way confers the legal rights that marriage does. Gay people deserve just as much protection under the law as their straight counterparts do.
The other thing that Prop 8 skates dangerously close to is violating the separation of church and state. Under the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." This applies to Federal law, of course, not state law, but this still makes the Defense of Marriage Act
indefensible and wrong.
I've spent too much time thinking and talking about this election, and now that the coverage of it has died down a little bit (except for the tinderbox that Prop 8 continues to be), I can finally process some of what I feel about some of the issues that faced us. I don't want to think or talk about politics again for about the next fifty years, though, since the brouhaha surrounding this election was nonstop, and it felt like the longest election cycle ever.
Here's hoping the 2012 elections will be a bit quieter.