Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Well, the election is over...

And now, we'll find out that the government is still broken, Americans are still in debt, big corporations still run the world, people are still suffering and being exploited, and the president can't really do anything about most of it.

Don't get me wrong - I'm very glad Obama was elected - but an election always seems to be far more important than it really is. Congress is still the same weird inefficient mess, lobby interests are still far too important, the voice of the people still ignored. People are still stupid and ignorant and biased. Obama likely won't be able to pass most of the legislation that he really wants to, and four years from now, the US will still be in about the same place it is now. I hope it will be better, but that remains to be seen.

It's just another election.

A couple of important things happened, though. One is very bad, and the other very good. Hopefully, the good outweighs the bad:

The bad: California's Proposition 8. It failed. The effects from this will last far, far longer than almost anything else in this election. It's just incredibly depressing. I still can't believe it passed - in fact, my conservative parents were surprised it passed! The message is clear. If California can't defeat a marriage amendment, nobody can. I'm guessing Massachusetts and Connecticut will both pass amendments as soon as they can. (Side note: I have this theory on ballot measures. It seems like it is much easier to pass them than to defeat them, almost as if a certain number of people just vote 'yes' without actually reading it first! I think that some LGBT rights organization should get an amendment started somewhere that allows gay marriage - it just might work! I have no real evidence to support this, though!)

The good: We just elected the first Black president! Irrespective of any policies, legislation, judiciary appointments, or other actions that Obama and the new Congress might make, this fact alone will have a wonderful effect. I can't count the number of times that I heard someone say how "terrified" they were of Obama being President. When pressed, they would always say that they thought that Obama was a socialist. That wasn't it, of course. Most people don't have an irrational fear of socialists - and Obama isn't any more socialist than other Democrats (or Republicans, for that matter!) anyway. Heck, Teddy Roosevelt was a socialist! No, people are scared of Obama because he's Black, pure and simple. And I'm excited about the effect that having a Black president will have on the country, on rights for people of color, for women, for any marginalized group.

Bigoted people will see that they were fools. People with latent and subconscious racism or sexism will be pushed toward a better viewpoint. Everyone will realize that the country is better when it's not just being run by White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestants. And most importantly, when people say, "In America, anyone can try to accomplish whatever they want. Anyone can be elected President.", it will not just be an expression, a legal technicality.

It is now the truth.

(Crossposted at Constant Thoughts)

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