Where were we? Oh, that’s right—there was that election thing.
It’s fair to say that I’m ecstatic about the results—President Obama re-elected, Democrats increased their majority in the US Senate and their numbers in the US House of Representatives (and would have control of the House were it not for Republican gerrymandering), the looniest Republicans defeated (except for Michele Bachmann who barely held on to her seat in a Republican-leaning district), and, of course, marriage equality won in three states, avoided a constitutional ban in a fourth and an Iowa judge who brought marriage equality to that state kept his seat, despite the rightwing frenzy to defeat him.
The election results almost could not have been better.
And yet, in the weeks leading up to the election, and the last days in particular, I was worried that may not have been the case. Republicans had spent large on voter suppression efforts to keep Democrats from voting, and they had a LOT of money on their side. But what neither they nor I counted on was the determination of American voters to deal to the Republicans.
It was only at the moment that Barack Obama was declared the winner of the election that I realised how much stress and anxiety I’d been under, because at that moment I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The election was held last Wednesday New Zealand time, and I really don’t remember much of the first three days of last week.
Like a lot of people, over the past week I’ve had time to reflect on the election (you should see my clipping file, with dozens of articles from the left, right and centre, all picking apart the results). I’ll talk about what needs to happen in future posts, but for right now, I wanted to highlight just one thing that was especially significant to me: Kids.
Specifically, LGBT kids.
All across the USA, no matter where they live, LGBT kids saw states approve marriage equality at the ballot box for the first time. Never mind how offensive the idea of putting minority rights to a vote is, the important thing is simple and obvious: The good guys won! Record numbers of LGBT candidates were elected to state legislatures and to the US Congress. In fact, for the first time, young LGBT people can dare to dream that one day, they, too, might be elected a US Senator (or even something higher…), and it could actually come true. Like never before in my lifetime, these kids have been given a glimpse of a world in which they are respected and valued, and in which diversity itself is seen as a good thing.
Ensuring it stays that way will be our challenge, and how we can do that will be my focus in future posts. But for right now, I am just so damn happy about the election results that I can’t even express how much. So, I’d best just stop here—for now.