I've been trying to think of what to say next since the election. I haven't figured it out yet but I'm posting today anyway because I just can't leave that picture at the top of the page forever.
I'm deeply happy about the presidential election. I remember the sense of joy and possibility of the first months of the Clinton administration (I'm not really that old, I was just a political nerd as an adolescent) and I think that, coming after the Bush administration, 2009 is going to be some kind of something for us as a political nation. I'm looking forward to it.
And, of course, I'm incredibly disappointed that the gay civil rights movement was handed a series of eviscerating defeats. To lose on marriage in California, Arizona, and Florida, and even more hurtfully on fostering & adoption in Arkansas, during a year of progressive change and hope is demoralizing. There's been a wealth of thoughtful writing about this in our beautiful little corner of the blogosphere. Honey captured my feelings particularly eloquently: "I am left with a feeling more of being impressed than proud, fascinated than inspired, an outsider to the excitement shared by so many of the people around me."
I'm not surprised by this feeling in myself; it's as familiar as rain. The world of people who might vote for Obama and against us does not strike me as foreign; it's the limits of liberal tolerance, the sense that gay rights are granted by a straight noblesse oblige, and that we can damn well play by their rules and at their pace if we want to be granted anything at all. I was raised to think that gay people, while inherently icky, should be tolerated as human beings--as long as they didn't flaunt themselves. (Straight PDA was also regarded dubiously but only in extreme cases.) Even now only one family member has contacted me after the election out of all that I made the case against Prop. 8 to; and even he said that, after all, gay civil rights might have to wait until we'd figured out 'survival' (the economy, the environment). Linaria said it well in a comment at Sugarbutch: "There are the people who actively oppose gay marriage, and there are the people who believe it’s a “special interest issue,” and those two categories encompass everyone who is not gay in this country..." I would expand her remark beyond the marriage issue, and suggest that it applies to the whole spectrum of legal and social discrimination and violence practiced against LGBT folks. Most people I know think the right thing, on a superficial level at least, but there's only so dirty they want to get their hands. There is a hard limit to their tolerance and we're walking right into it at the moment. No wonder it hurts.