The election is over and the progress our country has – and has not – made is evident in the numbers.
We, as a nation, elected a black man. We, as voters, screamed our disappointment in the current administration. We organized and mobilized and donated our time. We got involved and became informed, and participated in the democratic process in droves.
And we, as Americans, voted to ban gay marriage in three states.
Worse than that. We voted to deny rights to same-sex couples in states where “gay marriage” is already illegal. Because apparently, in places like Florida, not allowing gay marriage is just not enough. We need to strip away their rights and their dignity until it is painfully clear that They are not Like Us.
There can be no more doubt that our nation has elected its next form of legal discrimination. We’ve moved on from simple racial bigotry and picked up the morally indignant banner of homophobia.
How can this be? How can we so easily exchange one form of hatred for another? Are we completely incapable of embracing the idea of tolerance in its entirety?
We’re better than this.
I have proof now that we are capable of growing up as a society. I have seen with my own eyes that tolerance and acceptance and equality can take root in even the most unlikely of fields. It is possible to push past prejudice.
But can we do it in less than 50 years?
And where do we start?
I keep looking back to the Civil Rights movement of the 60s for some kind of answers or guidance. It took sacrifice from the people who were being oppressed, as well as the people who were not. White people who could afford to look the other way had to be willing to stand up and say “No!” It wasn’t enough for blacks to push into white society and real equality. Someone had to be on the other side helping to pull them along.
I presume it will take that same kind of selfless sacrifice now from straight people. Straight men and women, whether they’re married or single, who insist that their rights are not threatened by extending them to gay men and women.
This is a civil rights issue. This is just as deplorable as segregation and church bombings and police fire hoses turned on children in the South. This? Must. End.
And if there’s anything I’ve learned from the Obama campaign, it’s that we can make a difference.
I’m just looking for the first step…