A Happy Election Day, At Last

I don’t know why I like Election Day so much.  It always lets me down.

In 2008, the passage of Prop 8 pretty much ruined whatever excitement I had about Obama winning the presidency.

In 2004, I was so angry with the results, I wrote this.

Let’s not even talk about 2000.

Still, something about the interactive maps, the endless statistics being churned out and the pageantry of democracy always brings out my inner patriot.

I try not to take the results personally.  After all, who wants to be one of those jerks who’s proud to be an American only when things go their way?  That’s not the point of democracy.  We all vote, not just you, so if you don’t like the outcome, well, you had your shot.  That’s what I tell myself, at least: Don’t take it personally.  It’s not about you.

Still, for all of my voting adulthood, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this country.  I love it; it hates me.  At least, that’s what I always seem to come away with after Election Day.

The first time I was old enough to vote for president was 1992.  Bill Clinton won, and he supported letting gays and lesbians serve openly in the military.  I should’ve been ecstatic.  But the same night I was celebrating his victory, Colorado’s viciously homophobic Amendment 2 passed and let me know where I stood in society.  We all know how the gays in the military thing turned out, too.

It was such a relief this year that neither candidate talked much about gay rights.  The president was on record as a supporter of gay marriage.  I just want to type that again: the president was on record as a supporter of gay marriage.  And his opponent barely brought it up.  Occasionally some old video would surface where Romney would show his disgust about gay parents or something like that, but for whatever reason, the new Romney was mostly keeping his bigotry on mute.

Still, my guard was up.  Something would spoil this.  It always did.  With four states voting on gay marriage issues on Tuesday, there would be plenty of opportunities for a punch in the gut.

Then, minute by minute, the news kept getting better.

Barack Obama Re-elected.

First Openly Lesbian Senator Wins Election in Wisconsin

Openly Gay Candidate Wins Congressional Race in New York

Openly Gay Candidate Wins Congressional Race in California

Maine Approves Same-Sex Marriage

Maryland Approves Same-Sex Marriage

Washington Approves Same-Sex Marriage

Minnesota Shoots Down Amendment That Would’ve Banned Same-Sex Marriage

Four ballot measures, four victories.  In one day, four states agreed that gay people are as good as anyone else and deserve the same rights.

This was only 4 years after Proposition 8.  9 years after the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws.  13 years after Maryland got rid of its sodomy law.  It was 20 years exactly after Colorado’s Amendment 2, and I couldn’t help thinking back to that election.

In 1992, I was in college — and in the closet.  The end of college was looming, but the end of my fear and self-loathing was nowhere in sight.  Today, I’m totally open about who I am.  I even write a blog about it.  I have children with my partner, and I have the right to marry him in more places than ever.

This Election Day, there was no down side.  Voters embraced gay rights and gay candidates like never before.  As the statistics poured in, I could geek out and enjoy the night without feeling like I was crashing someone else’s party.

So I’ve decided to take the election results personally again.  And I want to say thanks.  Thanks to the people who voted for equality yesterday and to the people who believe in it in their hearts.  Thanks from me and thanks from that scared kid from 1992, who never thought he’d see this day.

Thanks, America.  I’ve always loved you.  It’s nice to know the feeling is mutual.

34 comments on “A Happy Election Day, At Last

  1. I’m Canadian but have a lot of American friends and I was just as involved as most of them were in retweeting/reposting things that might make other people think before they voted. My Twitter feed was full of happiness last night about all the things you mentioned above – plus the defeat of the loudest of the candidates who talked nonsense about rape and women’s rights.

    Congratulations to the US and I’m glad you’re feeling better about your elections now.

  2. Thanks for continuously posting thoughtful, sometimes nearly-tear-inducing posts. It’s always a pleasure to read them, and in particular this one with the line “I could geek out and enjoy the night without feeling like I was crashing someone else’s party” really hit home. That really summed up my feelings about this election in general, and many previous ones, as well.

    Thanks.

  3. I do not like all the hoopla during the election year…..I had more annoying strangers at my door with a clip board knocking during dinner hour….I had more pre-recorded celebrity phone calls endorsing Any candidate running for office ANYwhere during breakfast , lunch, and dinner… with all the media coverage; did these candidates actually think J.Q. public was blind that it was an election year…

    Right now I don’t want to be around through another election year….I do not want to be accosted on my way out of the house to walk the dog, by “polling” folks, and jump to the phone every half hour thinking that the caller ID could possibly be from one of my kids or a family member whose phone doesn’t work & could need something important..

    I’m thinking of retiring in Italy….at least when I get calls I won’t be able to understand them….

    Mommyman I love your post..as always.

    • “At least when I get calls I won’t be able to understand them” – ha!

      Maybe we’ll get a break from all the ads now that they had so little effect in this election. There’s always hope.

  4. I got a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye reading this. You put into words how I felt. I never thought I would see this day either. We need to celebrate these victories that free all US citizens . Thanks and keep sharing your life stories.

  5. I paid closer attention to your elections than previously because my son is living in the States right now and thinking of pursuing his doctorate at one of your fine institutions. That being said, the idea of a Romney led government scared the bejezus out of me so when all was said and done, all I could say was whew….the other victories were unknown to me but reading them in your post warmed my heart a little. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Two funny things (well, novel anyway, to me): 1. I wrote about that same issue with Trump last night. I could be wrong, but I think he ought to be arrested for attempting to incite an overthrow of the government. My boyfriend, the attorney of the family (please don’t hate him for it; he’s also a musician, so that makes it okay), who seems to be a member of every political site on the net also appears to be a member of “The Hill.” When I went to check out your link to the Trump blog post, there was his screen name. I guess it’s funnier when you know that I have accidentally posted as him before on one of these sites and got him in big trouble. :-/

    Anyway, congratulations from my family to yours! I would have to concur with what you and Brian have said, this was the best election of our lives thus far. It’s a good feeling.

    • Wow, I’m tired. Forgive the typos and poor grammar. And there really were two things there. I swear. Running on election day lack of sleep. . . zzzzzz

      • tee hee. . . Yes, he’s been ecstatic, and VERY musical this week. :) I put the image in his head of Mittens and Ann R. holding each other and dramatically singing “Didn’t We Almost Have it All?” It was too much for him. He keeps playing it on the keyboard in the living room and then breaking into giggles. :)

  7. The election made me proud, it made me feel like I’m actually a part of the country. The first time I voted for president was 2000, so you can see how my feelings on the whole democratic process were a bit battered. 2008 was good, I was happy, but this time? Suddenly I see equality! Equality for gays! Equality for women! (Take that, rape apologists!) Even some religious equality with Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu in Congress! There was even something satisfying about Bill O’Reilly coming out and basically admitting to being a racist- because if he’s willing to take down the curtain and say that horrible, despicable thing out loud, part of me hopes that he sees his time and the time of other bigots like him is over, gone and better off buried.

    With every year that goes by, the homophobes, the misogynists, the bigots, the people who believe they are better than the rest of us just based on the way they were born, they’re giving up or dying off. Every year, it’s easier for me to be queer, to be Jewish, to be a woman. Every year it’s going to be easier for you to relax as you raise your family. That’s an America I can be proud of.

    • Well said. It’s only getting better. I’d like to think this election was a wake-up call to the exclusionist elements of the right wing — you can’t win while demonizing immigrants, gays, poor people, women or any group. All our votes count the same, and if you want to win, you have to represent the whole country, not just 47% or so.

  8. You’re welcome :) I’m proud that my state approved gay marriage. (WA) Early in the evening when the results were starting to show, it was behind and I was horrified. But then then the numbers slowly started to reflect the end result. It did make me feel good about voting.

  9. After the months of hateful and hurtful campaigning, the results were a pleasant surprise. Of course, in my state, the results are always dim. But at least my local district shines.

  10. Not long ago when I was in the Navy, serving under Bush, I was told to tell a female that I was a supervisor of that she was expressing herself too much and the military’s policy against gays was ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. She was wearing a rainbow necklace and matching bracelet and my supervisor took it as a representation of gay pride. At first I didn’t want to tell her anything, because I’m a huge supporter in human and equal rights. But him being my superior, I had no choice but to follow orders. First, I told my supervisor that she should be free to express herself, that it isn’t right for me to tell her anything, that I even take offensive to what he said. I felt awkward having to tell the female to remove her jewelry and take down pictures of the women she posted on her walls in her room in the dorm. I apologized to her, explaining the military’s policy. She told me she understood and did as I asked. I believe Obama has changed that now, gays are allowed to serve openly in the military.

    I cheered loudly and literally cried on Election Day. After seeing Obama win, I then saw changes being made for equality. The first openly lesbian Senator elected!! :-) 3 states approve same sex marriage!! :-) I live in Arkansas, we didn’t have anything on the ballot to vote for on equality, but I would be quick to vote in support of it.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment. :-)

    • Thanks, Jenna. Sorry you had to go through that experience in the Navy. It’s nice to know that with the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, that won’t happen anymore.

      I still remember in 2008, at the same time Prop 8 passed, Arkansas voters approved a ban on gay couples adopting. I believe it’s since been overturned, but clearly, Arkansas has a ways to go. Thanks for being a voice of reason there. Let’s hope your neighbors start listening to you. :)

  11. It’s awkward when you turn 18 and you get to vote for the first time and your father is telling you to vote Republican. It’s even worse when he knows that you’re openly gay.

    All in all though, Tuesday was an awesome night, so proud of my state for electing Tammy Baldwin.

  12. When I read your words ” In one day, four states agreed that gay people are as good as anyone else and deserve the same rights.” I cried. Every time I see someone make some bigoted comment about how marriage was intended for a man and a woman I feel my stomach ball up. I cannot imagine how it must feel to be gay or lesbian and hear those words. Not many people will ever know what it feels like to be gay, to deal with discrimination every single day. I certainly cannot. I think we should all applaud you and so many like you who endure so much criticism, yet remain positive. To do that requires a very strong sense of self, much stronger than that of those who must spread hatred and discrimination in order to feel superior, or “right”. In my whole life I have only experienced hatred once – on a road trip, I had to go to a bathroom and I pulled over at a gas station off a two lane highway in podunk Idaho..which happened to be full of white supremacists just hanging out (hanging out at a gas station? really?)…at checkout the star of David I wear every day was noticed by the clerk who made some derogatory comment to the group sitting at the table ten feet away. I was shocked to hear the words that came from them. Feeling that kind of hatred once in my life is enough, more than enough. But I heard it by a bunch of idiots sitting in a gas station eating nitrate filled hot dogs (clearly their brain chemistry is off anyway). Hearing it on the news??? By elected officials?? That would devastate me. So my cheers to you, and what a celebration it must have been to see how the country is changing. I pray that by the time our children are grown (or sooner!!) this country will think of discriminating against gay marriage the way it thinks about segregated drinking fountains (how could we do that!?!?!).

    • Thanks so much for that story and for the empathy. To be honest, I feel like homophobia is so widespread and commonplace (and was even more so in the recent past) that many gay people like me simply take it for granted. All the more reason it’s good to hear from people like you who are offended by it. I think of that IKEA commercial from a few years ago that showed two men shopping for furniture together without making a big deal about it. It wasn’t even a political statement, but there was something so moving about it for me and I imagine many other people. Like someone was telling us, “We accept you for who you are, and we want you to come spend money here.” When homophobia is such a fact of life, it’s always nice to have someone go out of their way to be nice to you. So thanks.

  13. I actually live in Minnesota, and my cousin, who is also a good friend and a gay man, cried when the results came in. He was in the closet for much of his life as well, and even worse he stayed it in it to our family because his mother and brothers are huge homophobes. When he finally came out, one of his brothers disowned him and his mother didn’t speak to him for almost a year. He saw the vote as a vindication and a hope that the way our country views LGBT may finally be changing for the better. I’ve never seen him so excited. I was pretty excited too, as I was raised (my father is his uncle, but I was raised by my mother in a single parent house hold) to believe that just because I am straight doesn’t give me more a right to marry than any other person. I hope your state changes their laws someday so you and your partner can marry if you wish. (And yes, I’ve totally been stalking your page the last couple of days since I was introduced to it LOL)

    • Thanks for the comment. Glad to hear that your cousin felt the same way I did. It sucks that his mother and brothers haven’t been more accepting of him, but things are changing so fast lately, I hope they’ll see the light soon.

      Incidentally, we live in NY now, where we could get legally married… though we still haven’t.

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