This election cycle made me depressed every time I encountered evidence of its existence, so I pretty much avoided any contact with it until election night, but was then wonderfully surprised that marriage equality passed in all four states in which it was a ballot measure, after thirty losses in a row until now.
Social conservatism is rapidly becoming obsolete. I am only curious to see whether the Republicans realize this and morph into a true fiscally conservative/socially liberal party before Democrats are forced to confront the economic reality of their spending desires* and morph into that party themselves.**
Anyway, fiscal policy isn't what I intended to rant about. Back to marriage equality.
When Obama came out in favor of marriage equality, I was dismayed by his reasoning. He has been phenomenally terrible for civil rights***, and that was a perfect opportunity to show that he hadn't forgotten about them. But no. Rather than "This country was founded on the principle of an equal right to the pursuit of happiness for all citizens, whether we agree with those decisions or not. It is constitutionally unAmerican to silence those who outrage us; it is equally unAmerican to deny civil rights to those whose preferences we don't understand. I know wonderful homosexual parents of my daughters' friends. But whether or not they are wonderful is entirely irrelevant to whether or not they should have the same rights as the rest of us." we got "Now that I've gotten to know some homosexual people and observed that my daughter's don't think it's strange at all that their friends have two moms or two dads, I've come around to the idea of marriage equality." How pansy-ass is that??
(Is it possible that he's just hesitant to make such an argument because he's black and doesn't want to identify too closely with the black civil rights movement? I would hope to god that it goes the other way. I optimistically cling to the hope that he was in favor of marriage equality all along but took the politically
cowardly safe road, and had to come up with a coherent narrative to justify the switch. He obviously couldn't say he suddenly realized the logic of civil rights two years ago...)
Anyway. I've been very optimistic for a long time that the country is past the point of return on gay rights, and that it's just a waiting game, so when I heard those comments, I was more annoyed by the logic than hopeful about the impact it would have. But if that logic, however flawed, somehow served to sway voters in the four states who Tuesday affirmed their respect for all partnerships, then that is wonderful, and it's worth it for the thousands of lives that are drastically improved as a result.
Congratulations to Maine, Maryland, Washington, and (any day now...) Minnesota.
*Not that the Republicans are much better at facing economic reality. But at least they give it more lip service..?
**As unlikely as the former sounds, I think the latter is actually less likely, simply because Democrats will solve the fiscal issue by morphing into an astronomical tax rate, European style welfare state, rather than to scale back their entitlement fantasies or learn how to make tough, cost-effective choices...
***and even worse, while Bush got the whole civil-rights-trampling bandwagon rolling in the first place, at least liberals spent 8 years of his presidency in outrage over it. Who's yelling now?