(c) Mary Griggs
The primaries and campaigns this past year felt like we were watching the last desperate death throes of the dinosaurs. The “gray faced men,” to borrow a phrase from Tina Fey, made numerous attempts over the past year to forcibly subject the entire country to their extremist policies. Beyond their legislative efforts, their public statements regarding rape and incest, abortion and contraception and utter disregard for anyone not white, male and privileged were frightening to behold. All of this despite nationwide opinion polls showing steady growth in favor of marriage equality, healthcare availability, less-draconian immigration policies, and any number of women’s issues.
As election night went on, I felt such overwhelming relief. The worst of the pro-rapist legislators were defeated, there are binders of women going to the Senate, and Barack Obama won re-election. Even more significant is that the 32 state losing streak was broken and all four marriage equality initiatives (Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington) passed. Additionally, there are now the following openly LGBT members of the US Congress:
- United States Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
- Congressman-elect Sean Maloney (D-NY)
- Congressman-elect Mark Pocan (D-WI)
- Congressman-elect Mark Takano (D-CA)
- Congresswomen-elect Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
- Incumbent Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI)
- Incumbent Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO)
President Obama’s victory speech was inspiring. I’m posting here an excerpt that illustrates why I voted for him and why I fight for equality:
America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.
I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.
Hopefully, with every year that passes, the proponents of hate will continue to be a shrinking minority. Like the segregationists of yesteryear, those who would propose policies that divide us or would restrict the civil liberties become less and less relevant to our diverse melting pot of a nation. Already, their children are showing their support for marriage equality, immigration reform and concern for the environment.
I hope that four years from now marriage equality and many other wedge policies will gain even less traction with the electorate. While the opposition to ending discrimination won’t go away, the demographic writing is on the wall and political parties that don’t evolve are going to die. No longer will hate be a truly viable political platform, at least on a nationwide scale.
For that, I am relieved.