Jeers, Cheers, and Tears

1992, the Tuesday night after the first Monday and November–Clinton was elected. And that was good news. But, on the same night, Coloradans voted to write it into the state constitution that housing and employment discrimination against gay people was A-OK. I was horrified. At the time, I lived in Colorado Springs, home of the hated-filled “Coloradans for Family Values” and the New Life (mega)Church, brainchild of Rev. Ted Haggard (who recently got outed and fired for having an ongoing homosexual affair, BTW). Honestly, the whole city had a creepy vibe, from the grocery store to the bar scene. I can’t quite describe it but it’s the kind of place where a guy broke into a local therapist’s office and carved crosses in her walls, and two of my lesbian friends and their two sons woke up to find that their house had been doused in gasoline overnight, and two of my gay friends lost their dog only to find him later on the edge of their rural property with his neck broken. You could sit at the one Bohemian haven in town (Poor Richard’s pizzeria) and still overhear some guy at the next table spouting off crazed rants about faggots and what he was gonna do to them and so on. You were safer being a “spic” in that town than being a queer. The state amendement was eventually overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. (Yes, it went all the way to the top. Hello, people! Legalized discriminaton? Wake up.) I lasted one year there before I ran for cover in nearby Bohemia-ville (Manitou Springs).

2000, the first Wednesday after the first Monday in November–I woke up, read the news, and became … concerned. That sort of concerned where you don’t know what’s coming but the fog rolls in and you can hear the violins sounding more ominous in the background.

2004, the first Wednesday after the first Monday in November–I woke up, read the news, became outraged. I was embarrassed to be American. I was angry at my fellow citizens. I was ranting in a raised voice about being surrounded by stupid people. I did this at work and in public where people know me. This is totally out of character for me. But I was so pissed off that I was ready to find myself a nice socialist country somewhere to pledge my allegiance to. This place no longer felt like home.

2006, the first Wednesday after the first Monday in November–I’m about so happy that I could cry. Yes, we are still fucking up on gay rights. (Coloradans voted yesterday against legal rights in domestic partnerships and put the definition of marriage as being between a male and a female into the friggin’ state constitution when this definition was already law anyway. One US House district re-elected the unctuous Marilyn Musgrave who runs on anti-gay rights as her central issue.) But we got ourselves the first Dem in the governor’s mansion in a while (who also happens to be the neighbor of some friends). And we elected more Dem’s than Rep’s to the House (just barely), and that means that Colorado (notoriously a red state) might actually be going blue. Ohio’s new governor is a Dem (and I think got some more Dems in the House too) and that bodes well for the 2008 election. Santorum is finally all washed up in PA and it was in a landslide! OH and PA will now both have Dem Secretaries of State presiding over the 2008 elections. So, no more electoral funny business. But now for the stuff that really gets me teary: South Dakota shot down the abortion ban. There’s gonna be our nation’s first female Speaker of the House, making her the highest ranking US female ever, in line for the presidency after only Bush and Cheney. And MA elected its first black governor. I couldn’t be more proud than if I were from that state. And MN elected its first black House Rep and the US’s first Muslim rep. It’s great to see us moving beyond the “protecting me and my kind” mindset.

And then there’s the whole generation of 18-24 year olds who faced 9/11, Iraq, and Katrina (and our failed handling of both) during their formative years. The media is calling them the “We” generation because they are showing themselves to be more humanitarian-oriented than the rest of us ever were. Early polls showed that these folks would be voting in record numbers. Young friends, I can’t wait until you take office.

Until then, folks, we’ve got two years. Let’s get cracking.

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2 thoughts on “Jeers, Cheers, and Tears

  1. I was thinking this morning… I think even the leaders of the red states know that these anti-gay-rights laws are just death rattles before the Dems get a federal law passed saying marriage is between two consenting adults. I’ve heard several right wingers, in spin-free moments, admit that they know gay rights are the next civil rights revolution and it’s going to happen one of these days, they just want to be on record as fighting it all the way.

    It’s an incredible feeling to look at the maps and see wide swaths of blue in every direction, when last time we looked there was only a crunchy blue coating on the coasts. The system worked. It shouldn’t have been allowed to get to the point it did before it worked, but at least we know it isn’t dead.

    It’s a good, good day.

  2. History has shown that human rights have never come from the states, only from the federal level, and even that’s been a bit iffy at times. It wasn’t until the mid-50’s that the SCOTUS affirmed that state governments had to abide by the 4th & 5th Ammendments to the Constitution.

    I’m convinced Gay Rights will not be recognized without massive civil disobedience.

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