National Commentary

Anything But Straight: The Big Day




I was up early to vote in Brooklyn Heights, and stood in a long line to cast my ballot.

The Republican ticket never seemed to understand that hoards of real voters live in the “fake America.” For months, they ridiculed the urban as unpatriotic supporters of an exotic “Muslim” in a terrorist turban. Insulted by the slights, the city slickers were out in force to showcase their might.

By the time you read this column, the results will be in (unless my home state of Florida screws up another election). The victors will drink Champagne, while the losers will simply be in pain. In the case of gay people, it could be outright ecstasy, agony or somewhere in between. More than any year I can remember, there is a razor thin line between feelings of exhilaration and desperation.

For example, what if Obama wins and the Democrats expand their majority in Congress – yet we lose the freedom to marry in California, Florida and Arizona? While my friends may cheer the rise of the Democrats, it will be difficult to fully enjoy the celebration if our marriages are subject to cancellation. Such bittersweet results will have us torn betwixt public affirmation of our politics and devastating defeat in our private lives.

No matter what happens in Florida, Arizona and in California with Proposition 8, the entire process is a travesty. What kind of nation let’s a majority of citizens vote on the most basic rights of a minority? Perhaps, we should drive this point home in the next election cycle by sponsoring ballot initiatives that ban Mormon marriage or Evangelical marriage. We could air millions of dollars of ads discussing polygamy or snake handling in churches. I think these bullies would be shocked to learn that they are not much more popular than we are in a beauty contest of belittlement.

What disgusts me is that $70 million has been spent on the California marriage battle. It is a fight that, in the end, will not impact a single heterosexual marriage, and this is proven by the fact gay people have already been marrying in California for five months – and the world has not ended.

When one thinks of all the orphans that could have been fed with the money used to attack gay families, it is hard to consider our opponents real Christians. Their priorities are so misplaced and skewed that it is appalling. The only things they genuinely seem to worship are political power and discrimination.

Indeed, Evangelicals need to revaluate their role in politics. Nothing has done more to sully their reputations and turn people off to their movement. For starters, it is difficult to admire a group that has willfully chosen Dan Quayle, George W. Bush and Sarah Palin as their political heroes. Shouldn’t they take a minute for reflection and ask why they are so enthusiastic about such fools and tools?

With the election results only hours away I listened to Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits. I wistfully played “Don’t Stop,” to remind myself of the disappointing Clinton years that were squandered by an undisciplined president and a vindictive Republican Congress.

It is my hope that Obama can revive the unrealized idealism of the Clinton era. If anyone can do it, it is probably this charismatic, yet phlegmatic, figure that can fill stadiums. However, we must not forget that above all Obama is a politician. It is telling that the beginning lyrics of the next song on the Fleetwood Mac CD are “Loving you isn’t the right thing to do,” with the chorus – “you can go your own way.” In victory, Obama will indeed blaze his own trail and we may not always like where he goes. This is why we can’t rest at the grass roots level, even if Obama presides over a Democratic Congress.

McCain, win or lose, has severely damaged his reputation. His campaign has been so polarizing that I don’t see how he glues back this Humpty Dumpty with a Democratic Congress if he wins. Is he going to send his pit bull Palin to the Senate to mend fences?

The same can be said for Elizabeth Dole. Her ad accusing her opponent Kay Hagen of accepting “Godless money” because she spoke to an Atheist groups was disgusting. I think if I were in the same room as Dole, I’d need to immediately bathe to wash away the stench.

By now, you likely know if three states have chosen decency over discrimination. You know if we have turned towards the future or retreated to the past. If we have voted our fears, I truly fear for the future of this nation. Four years of Palin and McCain is terrifying – and that’s no urban legend.

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