I wish the unleavened happiness had lasted more than the hour between realizing that Obama had won (and listening to his speech!) and discovering that Prop 8 (the anti-gay marriage initiative) had passed. That travesty was the triumph of bigotry over kindness and fairness, and proved that there are far too many people who either do not respect or do not understand the separation of church and state. In my local area, we've had a huge influx of Ukrainian evangelicals who really don't understand that principle— having finally achieved their own religious freedom, they expect the state to bully others according to those religious ideals. The few who do truly understand that distinction? It gives me hope.
The number of "Yes on Prop 8" lies that have flown by in the last few weeks have been sickening— a last-ditch fear-based campaign of "The homos are going to indoctrinate your children," despite the opt-out education laws that are in place for more than just this reason. One man was quoted in the paper as saying, "I didn't want my church to be forced to marry people against its will." Buddy... your church CANNOT be forced to do that— the flip side of separation of church and state guarantees it. You keep your religion out of the state, and the state keeps itself out of your religion. That's the whole idea.
All right, back to the squee. I was disturbed by the anti-Obama booing during McCain's acceptance speech, but moved and impressed by the man himself. He was gracious, firm, and honorable, and that is the John McCain I'd hoped would take the Republican primary from George W. Bush so many years ago. I listened to Obama's speech with teary-eyes, and the recounting of the 106-year-old woman and the changes she's seen really brought home how far we have come as a nation. Moreover, the emphasis on how important it is to think of ourselves as unified in goals rather than separate in backgrounds is something that has been long in coming for this country as a whole.
Lauren stayed up late to watch Obama's speech. I had to explain to her that Jesse Jackson was not just some man crying in the audience, and what this election meant to him in particular as a man who had walked by Martin Luther King's side and was present when Dr. King was killed for the audacity of saying that people of color deserved the same rights as everyone else.
When I was eleven, as she is now, I thought a black president might happen sooner rather than later. I was born in 1963, and the changes that had already happened in my lifetime were so huge that there was no way to know how the pace would hold up. As I got older, it seemed that it might never happen (especially when Colin Powell didn't run for President, as many of us had hoped).
Yesterday, the unexpected happen, and I am so glad to have been here to witness it.
And that the rest of the world cares so much, and is proud of American for the choice we made yesterday, is more moving than I can possibly express.