[05 November, 2008]

and a Fuck You, too, California.

"Today Americans have grudgingly taken a giant leap forward," [NBC Nightly News anchor] continued. "And all it took was severe economic downturn, a bloody and unjust war, terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan, nearly 2,000 deaths in New Orleans, and more than three centuries of frequently violent racial turmoil."

I was anxious all day yesterday. I could barely sit still in class, and couldn't wait to get out and race to the polls. This was my second time voting in this country, after the primaries, and all my suppressed anger and feelings of powerlessness from the last 8 years had to be unleashed. I just simply couldn't stand on the sidelines anymore. The field had to be stormed.

Energized by the enthusiasm of young Berkeleyans voting around me, I pressured J to go out for some good ol' American food that night. As we walked in the warm hopeful night to a nearby pub, I reminisced about the previous two elections that I had witnessed in the US.

There was a highly distinct and memorable moment, the first time around, when I found myself in a room with other high school kids from the school's Christian club, all exalting G-Dub. I had only been a naive European immigrant until then, cradled in the safely Democratic haven of Ann Arbor. I did not believe what I was hearing, which was different from anything I had heard from my people up to that point. I sat there in that room with my jaw dropped, for the first time making the stereotyped connection between Christian and Republican.

The second time, I lived in France and cried all Wednesday after election. Cried, literally. It was hard coming back that year.

Now, J and I joined the passionate crowds at the bar, and held our breaths as we watched blue sweep across the country on the tv screen. With each state electoral win, people went wild. And as the West Coast polls closed and presented the winner, the whole bar, the whole city, the whole Bay Area erupted in an ecstatic emotional uproar. It felt a little like New Year's (the cheering, the hugs, the champagne), but it felt good to be part of the movement. To be part of a great change for this country and quite possibly the world. All night, we heard cars honking and people partying. And yes, it was a good night for celebration.


Later that night, as I stayed (involuntarily) awake until 4am, incessantly checking local ballot results, I felt as if I had been swept into some mad nightmarish dance. One step forward, two steps back. Twirl, and dip. It seemed impossible that after all this commotion about progress and equality, California could pass a ban on gay marriage. All this talk about looking beyond our differences, and here we are denying citizens their fundamental rights.

After a few hours of sleep, the gloom and hurt from this still overshadowed the general excitement of the election. Which is too bad, because I really wanted to join others in feeling like the important and positive components of history that we were. But how could I, when now the families of my friends have been broken. When now my professors have to turn to their kids and explain to them why their two dads have to settle for a deceptive second-class civil union. Sorry, everyone, there will not be a marriage. You may go home now, but thanks for the thought.

I took off my wedding ring for now. I haven't decided how long I'll keep this up, but it just feels wrong to parade this blatant symbol of heterosexual privilege. The emptiness on my finger is a noticeable reminder of the bitter-sweet taste of this time.

2 sighs or salutations:

Anonymous | 09 November, 2008

Argh, I posted a longish comment, but didn't work :P

Anyway, just wanted to let you know I understand your frustration. I feel the same way. I think it's awesome the way you decided to express your disapproval of the "vote". I think it's bull that you can vote to take away the rights of a people :( I'm thankful to be lucky enough to be able to have married the person I love, but I don't think it's right that I can do that because he happened to be male. Why do other people have the right to tell other's who they can love? Grr..


daria. | 09 November, 2008

it is unfair indeed.

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