05 November, 2008

the morning after

let me say first: hooray! it's done! america has moved forward into something entirely uncharted. a man by his name and skin, if he never does anything again, has by simply being there and winning, lifted a tremendous weight off of our country. i am proud of us for that. deeply proud.

yes, we paid $600 million dollars for him, but we also paid with our loss of standing in the world, the erosion of our economy, and we have paid most dearlywith 4190 lives lost and 30,764 wounded.

here's something i wrote on september 25 in my journal, a black book with a picture of sarah palin in a stars and stripes bikini holding a rifle pasted on the cover. the occasion was a drive through the independence pass, on the way to aspen colorado.

when i travel america, the west, these mountains and huge sky, the sheer diversity of this country- flat peaked brown black white and every color person- i can say, i love america. i love this country. i am proud to be of this land- shaped by the forces of heat and rocks cooled. lichens and aspens in the most unlikely of places. i am proud of this land. and yet the other america- with its flag and armies and flat screens to improve your self-esteem, its markets crushed in speculation and panic- i cannot line up shoulder to shoulder with that. i could never understand how this america could move against another person, ever. what people who dare call themselves a country are those that would do that? would represent that? that's not my land. that is my continental divide.

that day i was literally and figuratively standing on the geographic split of this country. and this morning, i , like many many other americans, feel a sense of healing with that. i really do.

but i would not be true to myself if i didnt also express a few other thoughts. firstly, as michelle shocked says, with a new president, we are just getting a new CEO for USA, INC. another friend put it like this, we are changing the hood ornament on the car. they are both right. and though i am crying sincere tears when the "first family of the united states" is introduced and a beautiful black man and his righteous wife and their daughters come out onto a stage and greet hundreds of thousands of americans, i am also deeply suspicious of the hold that power has and how it clings. represent me, barack, yes. but show me that you are more than this symbol- with all your power, your history, your hope for the future- show me that you can also fundamentally shake up the corporation- add responsibility, fairness, and subtlety to what's usually drawn in the broadest of strokes.

speaking of broad strokes, my abiding feeling today, as this day becomes clearer and last night recedes, is of a profound sadness, disappointment, and disjunction with this new feeling of hope. california's proposition 8 looks to pass, banning gay marriage and writing bigotry and hatred into the constitution of the world's 8th largest economy.

how can people do this? by all exit polls, it looks like the same people that rightly carried barack obama to victory, also used their history-making vote to wrongly legislate the definition of a business arrangement into a fear-based, hypocritical and regressive definition of love. it makes my heart hurt to see this. just as we are symbolically moving past one kind of hatred, we re-inforce another. is there really no conscience that cant see the contradiction?

somewhat related, here's an interview i did last week for the UKwebsite, lesbilicious.com.