I am not ashamed to say, that I was truly a wreck last evening watching the early results come in. Literally, I wondered how I would get out of bed today if Obama lost. I wasn’t suicidal really, but I knew I would be seeking counseling to help figure out how to go on. That’s how serious the election was for me. As I moved through the evening however, and as Obama was declared the winner, my fear of lethargy vanished. Good thing. Really !
As I think about it all today, there are so many different things to write about, and I want to start with an overview type thought. Think about how much has changed in four years! Really!
On election day, in 2008, my blog really took off. I had started it, as a way to get to know WordPress and I believed my focus would be on my other effort once I had a handle on using WordPress. But there it was and Obama was winning and California Prop 8 was passing, and so I turned to this blog as a way to write and vent and get out my thoughts. I have worked on “Queer Look,” but this blog has been my primary focus since then, so it is interesting to think about then and now- that election and this one.
Despite all the rhetoric about jobs and the economy, the reality is that for any Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, Female, or Progressive voter, this election was all about the future of a progressive America. Yes, the American people care about the economy, but the political forces have been more interested in legislating morality than in creating jobs. Just look at the Republican efforts in Congress over the past four years. Make no mistake, this election was about social progressive issues first and foremost when you compare the candidates that were running.
Some in the LGBTQA community have chided Obama for not accomplishing enough, and I will be interested to see how many queer votes went for Romney because of this dissatisfaction. But it is misplaced, and I hope the whole of LGBTQ America and Progressives of all flavors recognize what this election really means. Just the opposite is true. Under four years of Obama, LGBTQ Rights are further ahead than ever before and the amount of gains have been enormous. This isn’t all about Obama. It is all about the LGBTQA advocates and supporters who have been working tirelessly over the past four+ years aligned with what the Obama administration has been able to do.
Four years ago, we watched Obama elected and one of the most progressive states, California remove the right for same-sex couples to marry. Last evening, we watched Obama elected and in four different states across the country, the American People affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry. That is no small achievement! It is truly enormous. It happened because armies of volunteers have worked tirelessly day in and day out on the ground across the country, and we have had a President who has made great inroads for LGBTQ Equality. One of these without the other may not have been successful, but combined, great changes have occurred. And, we must remember, it was not only Prop 8 that passed in 2008. We suffered other losses that year, but Prop 8 was perhaps the most visible and discussed of them. To go from multiple losses to four significant successes in these four years is simply amazing.
The take-home message must be that a future of Equality won’t come because of how we rally and demand for our President to act. It won’t be created by those who feel they are keeping The President’s feet to the fire to push change. It will only come about with throngs of people of every age bracket, color, race, and every other descriptor doing the ground work and creating cultural change across the country. We must too, work to hold our elected officials accountable, but the real work if the ground work: each and every one of us must be an active participant instead of a passive observer.
Our battle is far from won, and the hard work didn’t culminate in yesterday’s election. Just the opposite. Yesterday’s election created a new opportunity to push forward with renewed vigor and strength with an ever increasingly effective ground campaign for full equality. It we sit back and simply celebrate our advances, we risk losing the momentum that the election has begun. This is when the real work begins!