Tonight, I'd planned to reflect on everything that just happened, to somehow try to make sense of this for myself. Perhaps to even convince myself that things aren't as bad as they seem. Starting off with the thought that maybe Bush won't be as bad in his second term. The thing is, every time I thought about, I just realized that things are going to get a lot worse for us before they get better.
I started by reading what I wrote last night. I thought I'd think it was harsh. But even now as I read it, I still feel the same way as I did then, except now I'm also very worried and concerned for our futures.
A largely defining issue for this election was the so-called "culture war." Gay rights were a huge part of itthe Bush campaign made sure of that. We all know about the inflammatory, anti-gay flyers they mailed out in numerous swing states; the Federal Marriage Amendment Bush championed; the anti-gay legislation the Bush campaign made sure was on the ballot in 11 states (all passed, by the way). They ran this campaign on our backs, and they wonoverwhelmingly so. This vote went beyond embarrassing our country above what Bush had already succeeded in doing around the world. It went beyond rewarding Bush's dangerously irresponsible and unprecedented deficit. It went beyond his diplomatic failures and beyond his violations of numerous treaties (including the Geneva Convention). It's sent our country hurdling back in the wrong direction in timein a direction of intolerance, and bigotry of epic proprtions. The genie of intolerance and homophobia was unleashed from its bottle and fueled by their campaign. No, Kerry was no leader on this front either, but the Bush campaign must have made Fred Phelps (of godhatesfags fame) proud, while they all wrapped themselves in our flag.
That sickens me. It sickens me that the non-thinking, bible-thumping, uneducated, religious fundamentalist masses are deciding our futures for us. What saddens me, however, is that over 20% of us are perfectly okay with that. As evidenced in this article on TheAdvocate.com:
As in 2000, more than 20% of gays vote for Bush
In a stunning development from Tuesday's election, George W. Bush did not lose much support from gay Americansdespite his hard right turn during this election year, his vocal support for the antigay Federal Marriage Amendment, and Republicans' successful passage of anti-gay marriage ballot amendments in 11 states.
For many gay rights groups, the data are proof that Bush senior political adviser Karl Rove's plan to energize antigay Christian voters with the president's vocal opposition to same-sex marriage worked. Republican strategists had long estimated that 4 million evangelical Christians did not vote in 2000. Perhaps coincidentally, the president's margin of victory in the popular vote was approximately 4 million votes.
For the overall electorate, same-sex marriage was evidently a defining issue. Moral values--heavily emphasized by the president--edged out terrorism and the economy as the top issue in many areas of the country. Three fourths of white voters who described themselves as born-again Christians or evangelicals supported Bush. Those white evangelicals--a crucial voting bloc for the president--represented about a fifth of all voters. Their top issue was moral values. (Full article)
I was disgusted by the direction this country had taken, but I was utterly appalled when I read that.
I don't know how any gay man or woman can reconcile within him or herself that this is somehow all right. I don't fully comprehend the amount of self loathing one must experience in order to be able to sleep at night knowing what, as a member of that 20+%, he did to each and every one of his friends yesterday. I truly don't. I honestly wish I could understand. Perhaps then I could begin to let go of some of this anger and betrayal I feel so much of right now.
Understand, I'm in no way saying that gay people should vote one way. I remained a registered Republican largely out of that belief, but there are some issues where it just seems unconscionable to vote one way or the other. California's Prop 22, years ago put up by the late hateful California State Senator Pete Knight was one such vote, and this election was another. Regardless of the issues, it IS relevant that this man ran his campaign against us. I just honestly, truthfully do not understand it. In this election, those 20+% sided with the enemy against themselves and their friends. They sided with the uneducated, religious fundamentalist massesthe same bullies who called us "faggots" on the school playground and still do as adults. The Bush campaign came just short of using that word, but not by a whole lot.
Nonetheless, this fundamentalist cabal is in charge right now. They run this administration, they still control the Republican Party (a party most true conservatives hardly recognize anymore). And that party controls Congress. They also hold a majority of the state governorships, but I think many of them may be less fundamentalist and more moderate (we can hope). But, this is bad. This is really bad. I truly fear things will get much worse before they're going to get better for us. Our only layers of protection are the states (largely depending on the color of your state, mind you). I'm glad I live in a socially liberal blue state, but not all of us are so lucky. The other is the judicial branch (you know those "activist" judges Bush spoke so fondly ofthe ones protecting us). Now that's even in jeopardy with Bush likely to get to appoint a Supreme Court Justiceyou know, the minorly important entity that recently gave gay Texas residents the right to sleep with their partners in the privacy of their own bedroom when the people, the police, and the state legislature still refused.
We've heard of rumblings that there will be civil war within the Republican Party to oust the fundies. I hope to "God" there will be. Right now, I just feel kind of paralyzed and helpless. I'm not sure how it's fair that we have to pay the same taxes yet get less rights.
For starters though, I'd like to see someone build a large, searchable online database that documents gay friendly companies and those that do not offer domestic partnership benefits. Likewise it should document companies that financially support anti-gay candidates candidates. HRC would be a great organization to do it. We would need to follow it, and vote resolutely with our wallets. Marketers know what affluent and dicretionary spenders we are. It's time we up the ante and make it known to all of us who are our friends and who support our enemies. I think it could possibly make a differencewell at least maybe to the < 80% of us who seemed to care this time. Maybe one day, the other 20+% will wise up and join us in this fight as well.