Wednesday, November 05, 2008

An unusual day

Yesterday was an unusual day.

Spouse was still in bed when I got up, showered, dressed, fed the cat and dog, and started working. Normally he's on his way to work when I get up, but yesterday he had the day off. DE state employees are given the entire day off for the election.

Last week Spouse decided he would volunteer at the polls on election day, on behalf of the progressive, open-minded candidate for Governor Jack Markell, whom we've supported financially and by attending rallies and having a yard sign. Spouse is sort of shy, so the idea of him talking to voters before they enter the voting stations seemed like something he'd avoid like the plague. But he did it and said he enjoyed it.

At about 11pm ET Barack Obama was declared the winner of the presidential election! This is unusual because just 4 years ago he delivered a speech at the DNC and had been virtually unknown until that time. He then became a US senator and now our president-elect. He is also the 1st African American (more accurately 1/2 African American) president in US history.

Also unusual is the fact that Obama was able to turn over at least 7 states (so far) that had previously voted Republican in the last election. One of these turn-over states is my home state of VA, which has not voted for a Democratic president in over 40 years, since 1964. Additionally VA's sitting Republican senator Gilmore was beaten by Democrat Warner. This former 'red state' now has a Democratic Governor and two Democratic senators, making it a 'blue state' now.
Unlike George W Bush who barely won the electoral college in 2000 and did not win the popular vote, Obama swept the electoral college and won the popular vote by at least 6 points.

Sitting NC Republican senator Elizabeth Dole lost her seat to Democrat Hagan.

Locally, our Democratic candidate for Governor Jack Markell won. This is unusual because in DE the Governor is almost always the former Lt. Governor, but not this time. Markell will be the 1st Governor in many years who was not formerly the Lt. Gov. The new Lt. Gov. and most other senate and house seats were won by Democrats. Since Spouse volunteered at the polls, we were invited to and attended one of the Markell victory parties last night.

Even without MO and NC (which are still too close to call), Obama has won the election by more than 6 points, and won states that were not Democratic in the last election. This tells me that Americans recognized that:
  • John McCain was not a fresh, new voice for change
  • Sarah Palin was unqualified for the office of VP (and potentially President)
  • Barack Obama was the only person to demonstrate an ability lead our country toward the change we all recognize is necessary

Today I am proud of my country and fellow Americans.

However, my glee and elation over the Democratic sweep is tempered by my deep disappointment over 4 important ballot measures in CA, AK, AZ, and FL. Although the results are not yet final, with 95% or more precincts reporting, it appears that:
  • Prop 8 in CA, repealing existing gay marriage, will pass
  • Initiative 1 in AK, banning gay couples from adopting children, will pass
  • Prop 102 in AZ, banning gay marriage, will pass
  • Amendment 2 in FL, banning gay marriage, will pass

Unfortunately these ballot measures are not passing with narrow margins either. They are passing by 6-24 points! This should be a clear message to our legislators that leaving issues of personal rights up to the individual states results in terrible inequity. Why should all citizens of a state be able to vote on the rights of a minority? Legislation on the federal level is what is needed to ensure that all citizens are treated equally under the law. Hopefully Obama will be able to incorporate this into the new direction to which he'll be leading our country.

Not only was this election important to Americans, it was important to America's reputation with the rest of the world. It seems to me that our country sent a rather clear message to the world last night: "We know we've been awful the last 8 years, and we're really sorry. To prove it, we're changing".

Crush du Jour: David Alan Basche


Alex C. said...

We are soooooooooooo disappointed about Prop. 8 in CA. I just wrote an entry about it. :-(


A Lewis said...

A deliciously yummy day for Obama...and a horrible disgusting day for CA, AZ, and FL.

Anonymous said...

I hope to the gods you are right and he can help. He's like the Wizard of Oz, I hope he's got human decency in his bag.

mistress maddie said...

Very nice post Mark. I to was disappointed over the same things that you were,but we win some and lose some. Baby steps,at least Obama won and hopefuly he WILL bring that change for our GLBT group.

RAD said...

Barack Obama was the only person to demonstrate an ability lead our country toward the change we all recognize is necessary--isnt this the honset truth! So sad about the props too... :-(

cb said...

Well, since we've already had gay presidents, we can always claim that we got there first.

Bugsy said...

We've got to remain persistent, confident, and hopeful. We will prevail!

Anonymous said...

I think Prop 8 is going to be the galvanizing event we gay people need.

I was amazed by the rallies all over the country demanding marriage equality and the end to H8.

I'm more encouraged by the move to strip the Mormon church of its tax exempt status.