Wednesday, November 5, 2008
When I woke up today and stepped outside, I thought "Today marks the first day of the rest of America's life." Not that everything will suddenly be perfect, because that just isn't realistic, but with our country in shambles, I really think the Democrats are the only ones who can clean it all up. And now we control the presidency, the House, and the Senate. Things will get better.
Starting at around 7PM, we turned on the news, switching back-and-forth between CNN and MSNBC. I had my closest friends in my room, huddled around the TV and eagerly awaiting news anchors to call another state. When Obama's electoral votes hit 200, we all had a good feeling - and at around 11PM, when the polls closed in several more states, news stations began to announce that Barack Obama was the winner.
My friends and I jumped to our feet and started cheering. We all spilled out into the hallway (I live in a corridor-style dorm building) and began yelling and screaming, "Obama won!" Other people began entering the hallway, and a large group of people came stampeding down the hallway, yelling "Who has a TV?!" My roommate and I offered up our room, and all 15 or 20 of us huddled around the TV, watching CNN in shock.
Within minutes, hoots and hollers started coming from the hallway. For some reason, we all knew what our next move was. Although there was no formal celebratory event planned on my campus, every student somehow knew to gather in front of our Student Union Building. When we got there, there were 20 or 30 students... and within minutes, there were close to 300. 300 cheering, screaming, hugging, crying, celebrating people. People brought signs, costumes, lit torches, drums, cameras. Everyone huddled together, hugging strangers and reuniting with old friends. People danced, crowdsurfed, and chanted phrases like "Yes We Can!" I don't know how long the celebrations went on for, but when I left close to 1AM, they were still in full swing. I took tons of videos - I'll try to post them tomorrow. I'm going to try to hang onto them in hopes of showing them to my kids someday when they come to me and ask, "Where were you when Barack Obama was elected president?"
Still though, it's a bittersweet victory. The better candidate won, but so many other people lost - namely the Queer community.
In Arizona: the ban on same-sex marriage passed.
In Arkansas: the ban on same-sex couples adopting children passed.
In California: proposition 8, to ban same-sex marriage, passed.
In Florida: the ban on same-sex marriage passed.
I'm extremely disappointed. I was especially praying for Prop 8 to fail - could you imagine being told that you could finally get married, only to have that right snatched away a couple months later? It was a terrible defeat for same-sex couples in California, as well as same-sex couples everywhere. Prop 8, as well as the other propositions that trumped gay rights, were blows to face. These propositions are ways to tell GLBT people that they just aren't good enough to have rights. Heterosexual couples can marry and adopt, but you can't marry and adopt. You can sit here, but you can't sit here. You can drink from this water fountain, but you can't drink from this water fountain.
The good news? All anti-choice measures failed.
In California: proposition 4, to require parental consent to obtain abortions, failed.
In Colorado: the amendment to define a "person" from the moment of conception, failed.
In South Dakota: a total ban on abortion failed.
And even though we've made history by electing our first Black president, ironically the propositions to end affirmative action in Colorado and Nebraska passed. Just goes to show that we've taken important steps in eliminating racism and achieving equality, but we have an extremely long way to go.
Where were you when Barack Obama was elected president?