Victory/DefeatBarack Obama is now the first black person to be elected to be President of the United States. No matter what side you were on in this election, you have to admit that this is an historic moment. I stayed up last night just so I could tell my neices and nephews that I saw the first black man get elected to be president. Amazing stuff.
I have to admit, though, that I was more intently watching the Proposition 8 race in California (mainly because it was running closer than the presidential election) that would ban gay marriage in the state's Constitution--reversing a ruling by the state's Supreme Court. The local CBS station in Los Angeles is calling the race a loss for gay-rights advocates, but they noted that it's still too close to say for sure.
This makes my heart hurt. I had never felt more defeated, demeaned, and disillusioned in my life than when I watched Texas vote 75% in favor of banning gay marriage in our Constitution. I literally felt physically ill when it happened. I had hoped for more from California.
The supporters in that state are celebrating, I'm sure. But for what? We've let a snapshot of opinions in time decide the fate of real people in a state's Constitution. What was supported by 61% of the population just 8 years ago is now only supported by 51% this year, and will probably be supported by even fewer in 8 more years, but by then it will be too late. Constitutions aren't meant for popular opinion, and only time will show how sad these debates really are.
Most importantly, though, we're talking about people's lives. The supporters of Proposition 8 used scare tactics and half truths to get their point across, spinning the issue as a public policy matter. If only more people could see how little it has to do with public policy and how much it has to do with real people and real lives, maybe things would be different.