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But it didn't happen. Packed into a restaurant festooned with streamers, balloons, and two-dollar beer specials, I found myself eating a burrito at ten o'clock when the election was called in favor of Barrack Obama. Everyone cheered, strangers were hugged, and I felt a distant feeling of optimism creep back into my life.
"Hope" became so synonymous with Obama's campaign because the word seemed to so perfectly encapsulate what the prospect of his presidency meant to so many people. True, a politician is a politician and Obama still needs to prove himself and follow through with his policy rhetoric, but for the first time since I started paying attention to politics the presidential election wasn't about choosing the lesser of two evils. In fact, in a contrast that became more and more stark as the campaigns rolled on, the first Tuesday of last month seemed to be a contest between good and evil. This time I went into the voting booth and checked the box next to a name I actually believed in. It was surreal. Instead of feeling sullied by the act of settling, I felt good about my choice. Voting for something, rather than against something, is a unique experience. The celebration on November 4th was deserved and, frankly, it was good. It was amazing to feel the charge in the air and possibly the most important thing in the world - hope - return to so many people.
The sense of elation unfortunately didn't last long. The first thing I did upon waking the following morning was to go online and check the results of California's Proposition 8 voter initiative, which I wrote about before the election. I was heartbroken to see that it had passed, overturning the recent California Supreme Court decision that a ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. When I went to sleep the night before, anything had seemed possible. In the harsh light of November 5th, along with the physical pain of my alcohol-induced hangover, I felt the mental anguish that accompanied the return of my previous negative perspective on life. The passing of Proposition 8 proved that I was wrong to believe that things were changing. People in my country are still as hateful, spiteful, and petty as they always have been.
For a significant segment of the population, this election's buzzword, "hope," was indelibly intertwined with the word "marriage." Having already been through the ringer on the topic numerous times, gays in California finally had cause to celebrate and consider the matter closed last May when the courts overturned a previous law that had attempted to permanently ban members of the same sex from getting married. But of course on cue a throng of judgmental assholes took it upon themselves to circumvent the California Supreme Court. A ballet initiative was proposed, signatures were gathered, and once again, the heated topic of gay marriage reared its ugly head. Except this time, like some sordid drama from an inverted world, a minority was fighting to save a civil right that they had been granted.
I am aware that I live in a democracy, which is a political system designed to best express the majority opinion of a large population. However, this is one instance where the will of the majority should not matter when pitted against the broader guarantees of the United States Constitution. Voters in California passed a despicable piece of legislation that quite literally legalizes the persecution a minority. Traditionalists can spare me their high-minded Bible thumping and sham family values speeches; what Proposition 8 came down to was hate and oppression. In the face of it we should all ask ourselves which is more courageous - casting an anonymous ballot in a private booth or fighting vocally for the right to make public record an ostracized lifestyle?
I sincerely hope that those Californians who voted in favor of Proposition 8 on account of their religious convictions felt extra smug when they went to sleep that night next to their husbands and wives. I hope they felt like their God was looking down on them from his cloud palace, proud for their defense of a bullshit version of some creator's will. I also hope that when they die their God is indeed compassionate, yet also vengeful, sending the millions of persecuted homosexuals into some magnificent and eternal paradise while subsequently casting those glass-housed stone throwers into an eternity of displeasure for their follies of usurping His authority in judgment of "sinners" and misrepresenting His name. For those maintaining that there are no consequences after death, in lieu of everlasting punishment there will be the pending tsunami of satisfaction that comes with a big, collective "fuck you" to all the crucifix junkies when, in the near future, gays are irrevocably granted the right to marry. SEE ALSO: www.noonprop8.com
SEE ALSO: www.whatisprop8.com
An aspiring global adventurer who cut his teeth on the sandy beaches and dirty bitches of Southern California, Kevin Alfoldy now spends his non-vacation days in Brooklyn, New York, where he occasionally finds the time to rub the crust out of his eyes long enough to contribute reviews and feature articles for LAS. A longtime staff member, Kevin also captains the tattered, often half-sunk raft of EPmd, our irregular column of EP reviews.
See other articles by Kevin Alfoldy.
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