This year I was thankful to be able to be genuinely excited to vote. Not only because we were nearly certain about the outcome of last nights presidential race before the polls even opened, but because I was truly inspired. This time it felt different, it felt like a change in history, a change in the direction of our nation's policies instead of simply a changing of the guard. I am glad that John McCain wasn't elected, but I am so much more excited that Barack Obama was. I hope with every ounce of my history geek soul that he will fulfill his potential and lead this country back to the greatness that it once had. I love to hear him speak, I love the way he is honest with us, the way he tells us straight out that we have to change, that government can't do it all for us.
Unfortunately, my joy at the results of the presidential election was tempered by my disappointment at the results of the state ballot propositions. It amazed me that Americans could rise above their bigotry when it came to electing an African American to the presidency, but then in the same evening, could ban gay marriage in two states and adoption by gay couples in another. What is it about homosexuality that scares people so badly? It's ridiculous. Marriage hasn't been a purely religious sacrament in a very long time. When I marry, it won't be a Christian marriage, but a secular one, with a myriad of secular benefits to accompany it. If I can openly say I don't believe in god and still be "married", if a murderer, a "sinner" can be "married", and we can still get the same recognition under the law as a couple who live by the word of the Bible and see marriage as a sacrament, then why can't homosexuals share those rights? Why does my disbelief not offend as greatly as homosexuality? I openly admit that mine is a choice, there's is not. If my marriage would do nothing to break down the sanctity of marriage, if divorce is legal and by definition breaks the sanctity of marriage, then how on earth can anyone say that homosexual marriage would harm the nature of heterosexual marriage? Why can't we allow each relationship to stand on it's own integrity and stop judging one another? Isn't that the central message of Christianity, to love one another and leave the judgement to god? It makes me sick and sad that we can't move forward in one area without moving backward in another.
On the brighter side, I was happy to see that the end run around abortion rights that would define human life as beginning at fertilization was defeated in Colorado and the attempt to bring back the abortion bans in South Dakota was also defeated. I was also happy to see that the country is still making positive strides toward the legalization of marijuana, with the approval of medical marijuana in Michigan and decriminalization in Massachusetts. Not that I'm naive enough to think that pot does no harm, I've seen its ill effects firsthand. I just don't think that people should be criminals for something that's a personal problem. If it were treated like alcohol and made a crime only when it's use posed a treat to others, we would have a new, highly profitable, highly taxable American industry, rather than a drain on our tax dollars when we have to pay to try and house prisoners who are found guilty of simple possession.
Okay, enough of the political stuff. On to the change we hope for.