Friday, November 7, 2008

This must be what Hope feels like

I haven’t written about Obama’s victory because I have been in a state of shock and bliss these last few days. Every time Obama won a state, Chris and I cried. When it was announced that he finally won the presidency, we wept like babies and have barely stopped. I have cried almost every time I think about it since then. The day after the election, I was walking through the Cal State LA campus after turning in my comp exam (my last chore for my Masters degree-yay!), and everyone was in such a good mood. Everywhere I looked, people were smiling, laughing and happily greeting each other. I have never seen the campus look like that before. I was feeling so optimistic (an emotion that is very unusual for me), I was almost skipping. I felt this strange feeling inside; it was like an utter lack of anxiety (which is my usual state). Suddenly, it occurred to me: this must be what hope feels like.

Growing up in a small town in Georgia, I know racism. There is a nasty poison that has been swallowed by some white people in the South-that every single thing they don’t have or any opportunity they never got was because a black person took it away from them. I’m not sure where this idea came from since every president up until now has been a white male, and Fortune 500 companies aren’t exactly lacking white faces. The Man is white, or at least he was until last Tuesday. But, many whom you would consider otherwise good people have such a dislike and distrust of black people, other people of color (although in the South there aren’t that many) and foreigners. One of the reasons I moved from Georgia to Los Angeles is because I have always felt out of place with the attitudes of the South (including my family).

When Obama won, I got an email from my daddy (who I have fought with about Obama every time I have talked to lately) and the subject line read: God help us all! He wrote “I know we need change, but a Black president-that’s going too far! You are all wrong.” I guess he means the 52 million Americans that voted for Obama. On the phone the next day he said, “I’m so damn tired of hearing about Martin Luther King. Those blacks are really milking this for all it’s worth.” Yeah. For 2 whole days, too. Um, haven’t we white people been milking it for 400-500 years?

On a sad note, I was very unhappy that Prop 8, the ban on gay marriage, passed in California. I am ashamed of my California brothers and sisters. A large number of minorities that voted for Obama (70% black and 53% Hispanic) voted for the ban. Minorities (and all women) need to recognize that this is the same discrimination that they have suffered. Discrimination is discrimination. Being gay is not a choice (and even if it were, that is no excuse for not having equal rights).

And I am sick of hearing that the Bible says being gay is wrong. It is 2008 in America. “Because the Bible says so” is no longer an acceptable reason to pass a law that affects people’s lives. You believe in the Bible. I don’t. You don’t get to pass laws about my life based on your faerie tales. If you don’t mind having no separation between church and state, move to Iran. The founding fathers were not hard-core Christians, some were even Atheists, and they did not construct a Christian nation. Freedom of religion. My religion says gay people are ok. I am always so amazed at how a godless secular heathen like me is way more loving to my fellow man than most Christians I have met. What would Jesus do? He would love everyone-the black president and gay people who want to marry the person they love.

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