Tag Archives: election

Trump Supporters: This guy is walking away with love

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I’ve spent the day alone reflecting and emoting and trying to work through my bitterness about this historically stupid election. While I think it is important to be humble and gracious in defeat, this one is a little different. We could say that the “people have spoken” and in a sense, they have. Donald Trump won the electoral college. He lost the popular vote by a narrow margin. So… it is arguable exactly how the people have spoken. Regardless, the fact remains that half of America voted for a man who is unbelievably discriminatory and the ramifications of his victory will likely have significant effects for decades.

I won’t speculate on his economic, environmental, and foreign policies (The proof will be in the proverbial pudding on those, and we will now see, once again, what effect unintelligent policy will have in those areas)… Instead, I will focus on why this loss has devastated me personally, and what I intend to do with it…

My entire life I have watched and listened as my rights as a gay American citizen have been flippantly bandied about, as though my rights, my opportunities, my protections under the law are somehow secondary in importance to others. I have smiled uncomfortably during casual conversations wherein members of my own family laughed and gloated about the fact that they started a bar fight by randomly calling fellow patrons “faggots.” I have been gracious and laughed ala courtesy as off-color, unfunny jokes were made that are reductive and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. I have tried tirelessly to be likable and agreeable, often being overly kind, so as to win love and approval, and aspects of that I will never change.

You see, while it may be surprising to some, there is nothing inherently different about me. I like to think I am strong, but if you cause harm it will hurt. I like to think I am confident in my abilities, but my self-doubt and insecurity is oftentimes crippling. I go through life searching for happiness and fulfillment with my own unique set of strengths, weaknesses, and adversities, and I do the best I can with it. Just like everyone does. And I’ve had some pretty awesome victories, some pretty devastating defeats, and I’ve done the only thing I know to do throughout it all: The best I possibly can. Does this sound familiar? It should. It should sound familiar to every single person who will ever read this, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, political affiliation, etc. This is part of the elusive human condition that we are all trying to understand.

One thing, however, that will always separate me from others is when I see them engage in bigotry, violence, and destruction. Supporting a candidate who has made endless statements that are undeniably hateful, homophobic, transphobic, racist, sexist, xenophobic, cacomorphobic, is exactly that – bigoted, violent, and destructive. And I will no longer surround myself with those who find any of these things justifiable. Instead, I will be out in the world, offering as much love and support as I can, trying to make a good life for myself, and paying more taxes than Donald Trump.

I want to offer my sincerest condolences to all of those who were directly impacted by this mistake of an election, specifically my LGBTQIA family. Just remember, we are strong and we will get through this and make things right with love, not with fear. When they go low, we go high.

Election Night Was A Big Win for Marriage Equality

Voting booth with flagMake no mistake. Yesterday was a good day to be a Democrat or gay in this country. We still have the President who acknowledged, for the first time, the existence of American atheists as Americans. And as if that weren’t enough, we also saw major gains for marriage equality and gay rights in this country.

Marriage Equality

The biggest news is the four major victories in states where marriage equality was being put to voters: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. I live in the battleground of Minnesota, where curiously we weren’t voting to legalize same-sex marriage. We were voting not to ban it.

The principle proponents of the constitutional amendment to limit marriage to between one man and one woman, Minnesota for Marriage, was funded heavily by Catholics and evangelical Christians, with support from the Minnesota Family Council, the SPLC-certified hate group Family Research Council, and the National Organization for Marriage (not a hate group). This particular contest was being watched closely because Minnesota was the 32nd state to put one of these constitutional amendments to voters, and it has passed in all of the previous thirty-one due to the efforts of a man named Frank Schubert.

High-Stakes Election

In the other states, voters were actually deciding whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage. In Maine, they were re-considering Question 1 after rejecting it in 2009. In Maryland, they were being asked to vote for Question 6. And in Washington, voters were asked to approve Referendum 74.

On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning the results trickled in, and one by one each state approved same-sex marriage for its LGBT citizens. Meanwhile, those of us in Minnesota watched nervously as our preliminary precinct results started to come in. At first the pro-gay “vote no” side was ahead by several points. But as the evening dragged on that lead continued to shrink, until at one point both sides were tied.

Then, at 1:48 AM, after gradually watching our lead grow and shrink for several hours and those of us glued to the Minnesota Public Radio official election website biting our nails, campaign officials finally declared that the amendment had been struck down. Of course, same-sex marriage is still illegal in Minnesota. There are still 515 laws that discriminate against same-sex couples in this state. But thanks to a surprising shift in power, the once Republican-controlled legislature is now Democratic, and the ramifications are huge.

Vox Populi

The 2012 election marked a major victory for gay rights in this country. Not only were four battles won for same-sex marriage, with the way being cleared in Minnesota to at least begin to officially pursue marriage equality, but several gay politicians were also elected to prominent public offices.

In Wisconsin, Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay U.S. Senator. Her seat in the House will be taken by Democrat Mark Pochan, who is also openly gay. In New York, Sean Patrick Maloney defeated Congresswoman Nan Hayworth to become the first openly gay man elected to represent New York in Congress.

Colorado Democrat Jared Polis, a gay Jew, won a third term in the U.S. House, while California Democrat Mark Takano could be the first openly gay, Asian-American member of Congress.

It’s mind-boggling to think that just a few years ago it was political suicide to admit to being gay, and now here are five gay Americans who were elected by their fellow citizens to represent them at our highest levels of government.

“… a hedge or wall of separation…”

It was also a good night for the First Amendment, as reported by the Friendly Atheist. Amendment 8 (a.k.a., the Florida Religious Freedom Amendment) “would have allowed taxpayer money to go to religious schools and houses of worship.” Thankfully, that measure was struck down by a vote of 56/44. It’s a race we didn’t hear much about, which is another story altogether, but the separation of church and state was upheld.

But that’s not the only bullet we dodged tonight.

During his concession speech, Romney made the following statement: “We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family.”

I’ve been trying very hard not to comment on Romney’s Mormonism or the insane beliefs he must hold in order to actually be a Mormon. (Magic underwear, anyone?) But this shows us what kind of a president Romney would have likely been had he won the election last night. This is a man who, like George W. Bush and his father before him, would have considered Americans without religious beliefs or belief in God to be morally suspect. As George Bush, Sr. once famously quipped:

“I don’t know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God. I support the separation of church and state. I’m just not very high on atheists.” (Press conference, 1987)

Risky Business

As an atheist, it can sometimes be worrisome to know that all I have to believe in is other people. There is no God looking out for the outcome of any elections, or for any other human or non-human affairs. A nanny kills two children in New York City. 110 people were killed by hurricane Sandy.

Then there are nights like tonight when things seem to go well, and my faith in humanity is at least temporarily restored. Of course, there are and will be plenty of explanations for what happened tonight. Republicans did this to themselves. Romney was the candidate that the GOP settled for. Support for same-sex marriage and gay rights has been growing over the years. But I still like to think that this is a sign that Americans are getting smarter.

Or at least savvier.

Just the Beginning

But these victories shouldn’t be cause for us to get comfortable. If anything, this is just the start of the real fight for gay rights.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”