Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why Tonight's Election Matter's To Me

I'm posting this at work because we're slow (hopefully because people are voting!), and of course as of the time of this post, I have no idea who will win this election. If you know me though, you can probably guess who I've voted for. I don't normally post about politics on this blog. In fact, I'm terrified of posting about politics on this blog because I don't like confrontation and people often get confrontational when politics get talked about. I want to preface this post by saying I'm not trying to offend anyone and I completely respect your political opinion and one of the things I cherish in this country is our individual rights to vote.

I'm not in love with our President, Barack Obama. I think he's an excellent man with great morals and great values, but do I think he's been the most effective president ever? No, I wouldn't say that. But do I think he's been one of the biggest impetus' for change this country has had in a really long time? Absolutely. Now he hasn't been able to change much in his four years, but he's brought up some hot button issues that no one wanted to talk about for awhile and I think that's why this country has become so divided with this election. We're talking about things that we didn't want to talk about for so long.

I'm writing this post because I came out within the last four years and it's one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I'm able to live as me. I can tell you that living in the proverbial closet was miserable for the first 29 years of life. Things have changed in this country in the last four years though. More than anything, I've had great friends support me, but another big factor in me taking the jump, the leap of faith if you will, was realizing that I'm now living in a society where it's generally more acceptable than not to be me. And I honestly do have to thank my president for a lot of that.

I still remember his acceptance speech from 2008 and I got teary eyed. I think I would have even if I hadn't voted for him. There was an air of change and forward motion for people who haven't been able to move forward in a long time. Things were hopeful. I still feel a lot of that hope, but I think Obama has realized that it sometimes takes more than just hope when you're president to get things done. I think that's where we often say "he failed." But I don't think he did because he keeps trying. And that's what I do like about the man.

I was never more proud of a president than the day that he came out in support of gay marriage. Honestly, I don't know that I'll ever want to get married. But I may want to...or I may just be happy with a long term, permanent relationship without the label of "marriage" on it. But I like to know that I have the right to marry someone. When I came out to my mom, I told her that I never chose this. That up until now, I never would've chose this for myself and I can't imagine anyone wanting to be gay. It's not an easy life to live. What I'm trying to say here is that saying that you can't be married because of something you have no choice over...saying you can't marry the person YOU LOVE because someone else doesn't agree with it....It's hurtful. And still, I do respect people who do have that opinion. Hell, there are people I've known who I thought should never get married but did anyway! But I didn't do anything to stop them from being able to get married. It's your right as a human being and it makes the lgbt community feel less human for not having that right.

I decided to right this post because I'm terrified right now of how this election will play out. I have all these thoughts running through my head that all of the progress that has been made could just be cancelled out and then thrown backwards if the election goes a certain way. Not just for lgbt Americans, but for women, for people with disabilities, for low income families....so many people. I never saw how much these issues, these POLITICAL issues that shouldn't be political affect people until I started working in mental health. And now I see it every day in every aspect. I just hope that no matter how the election turns out, no matter who our president is, we continue to move FORWARD as a country, not backwards. That's what's important to me. Not who the president is...but how we move as a country.

This from the HRC's website:
In Maine, voters are being asked for the first time in the country to affirmatively pass marriage for gays and lesbians at the ballot box. Voters in Maryland and Washington are being asked to affirm marriage equality laws that were passed by the state legislatures. In Minnesota, voters will consider a constitutional amendment to ban gay and lesbian couples from marriage.
I really hope we move forward, not backwards...and I'll shut up now...and I'll hit publish and hope that I haven't offended anyone. This wasn't my intention. Just needed to get some thoughts out.


Vasilly said...

Yes, Chris! I was so happy and surprised that the President came out in favor of gay marriage. Sometimes I wonder about the issues that Americans don't like to talk about. It seems like we sometimes wait for something to happen before we talk about the issues in mainstream media. I pray that we're not leaving these issues to our children in 20 years. It's ridiculous. It's time for us to move forward on making things better for all of us with all of us pitching in.

Becky said...

This was so well put Chris, and so thoughtful. I agree with you on all fronts and just hope that we look towards allowing people choice--and hope for all.

Having said that, I vote in a state that generally negates my vote. I still did it though so my voice could be heard! :)

(BTW, I was pretty scared to even post this comment, so I totally get your fear to write anything political!)

Amy said...

aw this is a lovely post.

I have to admit the economy hasn't been good for me personally during most of Obama's term, but I still voted for him for a lot of these same issues.

Chris said...

Vasilly, I'm SO with you...I'm really happy with the results tonight, but regardless of what would've happened, I think it's time for us to start dealing with these issues in our country that have been swept under the rug. We can't just let these things continue to fall onto the next generation. I really hope we keep going forward!

Becky, Thanks! I really was nervous about posting this, lol. I'm sorry that your voice often doesn't get heard :( Mine is the same here in my state, but I vote anyway! You just never know! But yes, Choice and Hope!! Two of the most important words!!

Amy, I'm so sorry you've been hit so hard by the economy :( I've been lucky enough to not have had such a bad hit here but I know so many people have. I hope this next term really focuses on building the economy and getting this country back where it needs to be in every sense of the word!! Thanks for the sweet words :)

Cath said...

Hear that? It's the rest of the world breathing a huge sigh of relief this morning. I have never been so scared of the outcome of an American election before, and I'm 59 so I've seen a few. Even George W. Bush didn't scare me the way Romney does. Excellent post, Chris, well said on all counts.

DesLily said...

I agree with Cath. I am not for "everything" Obama wants to do but Romney scared the hell out of me! In all honesty I don't think any other president could have done any better than Obama during the last 4 yrs considering what he walked into. We may not be out of "danger" but he did stop it getting any worse. We were diving so hard and fast I doubt anyone could have done any better.
Now things are turning around so hopefully we will see more progress.. however Obama is still fighting for every breath with people like "the speaker of the house".

Bookfool said...

Awesome post, Chris. I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head as to why Obama has not been a knock-out president but still is the right man for the job (in my humble opinion) and why this election has been so much more vile than most. You're right -- hot-button issues have been laid on the table in a way they haven't before.

I would have been pacing and making myself crazy, last night, if not for a marathon of Downton Abbey reruns. I streamed them one after another, just to keep my mind off the little map that was turning red, red, red and then blue, red, blue, blue. Argh, it was sheer torture! I only peeked between episodes and that was bad enough! I think Americans made a very strong statement about the importance of moving forward rather than taking a leap back in time. Loved the tweet I saw, last night, about someone hoping Obama would win "so we won't have to party like it's 1952." Exactly.

We still have a long way to go, though. I don't understand why a lot of my Christian friends think a Republican president somehow equates to a more moral civilization. I just don't get that. Morality begins at home, not in the ballot box, and Jesus was all about love.

Off my soapbox.

Bookfool said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

I'm coming to this post many days after the election, but I wanted to say this:

In 2008, I actually preferred Clinton to Obama in the primaries, because she knew what she was talking about with regards to health care, and having worked in the health care industry for years, I could tell that she was the ONLY candidate who knew what she was talking about. But she lost, and I definitely voted Obama over McCain/Palin. I was hoping he would win, but the big thing for me during that election season was defeating Prop 8 in California. I was very politically active on that online. I fought and fought against it. And then, it won, and gay marraige was shut down in California. It felt like being gutted. There was, on one hand, victory for the country, but the massive defeat in CA made that day a day of mourning.

This past Tuesday, I was so nervous when I went to watch the elections. Then slowly, one by one, everything came out right. It couldn't have been more different than in 2008. Not only did our president get re-elected, but three states passed or confirmed gay marraige laws, and one state refused to put a constitutional ban on it. All the rape-idiots got kicked out. Locally, we had a lot of good races that were won by the better people, and we passed a reform to pre-K here that was really important. As the results rolled in one by one, my heart lifted so much! I have been fighting for gay marraige since I was 14 years old, and I honestly never thought I'd live to see it legalized in our country, in any state. I thought that was a hundred years down the road. And then look at how much has happened in the last 20 years. It's been almost that long that I've been fighting for this, and I am so proud of my country right now.

Bellezza said...

Chris, I really appreciate your honesty in this post, and most of all your courage.