Random election thoughts for ponderin'
Well, Obama won, setting off more nationwide tears than that Yeah Yeah Yeahs song "Maps." I'll admit, I cried too (Barack, they don't love you like I love you).
An African-American president—it's pretty amazing, and it's a good thing, and we all have reason to be psyched. It's a huge step forward, in so many ways.
I hate to be politically Grinch-y here but, well, there was still a lot of stuff to be concerned about on election eve, both in the results of some state ballot measures and in some of the media's/pundits'/politicians' handling of various issues. In short, yes, I am officially over the moon that Obama won, but if you are queer, and/or a woman, and/or a person of color, and/or concerned at all about social justice, the battle has just begun. To wit:
1) Bans on gay marriage passed in Arizona, California and Florida. A ban on adoptions by gay couples passed in Arkansas. Measures to end affirmative action passed in Colorado and Nebraska.
There are so many things that are messed up about these results, but the one that twists my melon is the literal backward movement they indicate. Many same-sex California couples are already married, as you probably well know, and the marital bait-and-switch is a retroactive attempt to stop something that's already occurred, or at least that already started. Similarly, I fear that a troubling tangential result of Obama's victory is that people will use it as evidence that racism doesn't exist, or at least an indication that people of color and white people now exist on a "level playing field," or that we live now in some sort of magically post-race society, when you know that just ain't true.
2) Case in point
Lest you doubt that race played no part in this election, or that the playing field isn't still listing like a tipsy sailor, CNN had a very interesting point: Some time after the CNN-ers called the election for Obama, election map guru John King showed us something very telling: He pulled up county by county maps from the 1996, 2004, and 2008 elections. In the 1996 results, there were large swaths of blue—Democratic voters—branching through the South. In 2004, there was less blue, but still a noticeable amount. The 2008 map? Almost solid red. I'm just sayin'.
3)Now that Hillary Clinton has stepped into her "stateswoman" role, it looks like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is destined to be the Republicans new designated "shrew" target. Even before the end of the night, Tom Delay was already predicting to MSNBC's Chris Matthews that Pelosi is bound to bully Obama around during his presidency and "run circles around him," as if he were some weakling and she were some out-of-control harpy. Of course, a bright spot was when Rachel Maddow calmly but firmly dismissed Delay's comment as "nonsense." Of course, on the other hand, does anyone else feel really uncomfortable seeing how much eye shadow MSNBC slathers on Maddows' eyelids?
4) Uh, no shout-out to Hillary during your victory speech, Barack? Not cool.
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