As I listened to NPR this morning, I heard Representative Lewis’s acceptance speech, where he talked about Obama’s win, rather than his own, and Jesse Jackson’s reaction as well. I teared up a little, thinking about how monumental this election is being seen as. I wonder what the effects will be. I think it’s a healing election in some ways, but I also wonder whether it will mask over racism in this country. A proposition banning affirmative action passed in Nebraska.
I was happy to see that the bill defining life as beginning at conception failed in Colorado, and that the bill requiring minors to get parental consent will probably fail in California. It is good to see that the country isn’t getting as conservative as I sometimes fear.
However, a few states banned gay marriage, and it looks like California might be among them. It’s still too early to tell, but it looks like Proposition 8 might pass.
I’m worried about the confluence of these events: homophobic propositions passing while the country elects a black man. I’m worried because I am worried with how this will be read by mainstream white gay and lesbian activism, which has already, for decades, said that homophobia and heterosexism is the last great oppression, which ignores the continued racism, sexism, classism, and ableism in this country. That someone could claim that gays are the last oppressed class seems ridiculous given the feminization of poverty in this country, the constant assault on a woman’s right to choose, the subtle racism faced by non-white folk, the many ways in which able-bodiedness is made normal, invisible, and a qualification for participation in so many arenas.
It will be interesting to see the effects of this election as the years unfold. I’m happy to have the hoopla behind us after two long years of campaigns.
John McCain’s concession speech was actually quite good, I thought.