Me, I’m elated by Barack Obama’s win. I wasn’t one to be dazzled by every aspect of the man’s style and certainly not all his stances, but in the last months I came to feel he has the makings to be the best President this country has ever seen—and the nadir George Bush reached in the last eight years makes Obama’s promise shine all the brighter.
The Bush Administration have brought the country low—bankrupt, globally despised, torn between two wars, baselessly arrogant, fearful (no, terrorized … and by its own government!), stripped of essential civil liberties, and contemptuous of the poor, the aged, and the ill.
Whether I’m right or wrong about Obama right now, he needs to be great just to offset the mess we’re all in. More to the point, it is the American people, as a whole, who need to exhibit greatness, for no elected official, however novel or charismatic, can do the work of rebuilding the nation’s character.
My hopes, such as they are, are wrapped on the new President’s being everything I think he can be.
Still, for me, though, the great disappointment—in the midst of my current high—is that California appears to have passed Proposition 8, negating the court’s decision earlier this year permitting lesbians and gay men to marry whom they please. Arizona and Florida have passed similar measures, either banning or reinforcing an existing law banning same-sex marriage. Arkansas voters decided to ban gays from being able to adopt children.
As speaker after speaker recalls Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream at what one hopes can be the dawn of a better America this morning, we must face the truth that electing a mixed-race President is a gigantic step forward, indeed, but pushing others back down at the same moment reveals that America has yet preserved its ugly side—in its homophobia and religious fear and bigotry.