No, We Haven’t


THE CENTER OF WORLD CHAOS, FL — Since the fall of 2000, when the mailman and I discovered our common sympathies, we have taken every opportunity when our paths crossed to complain about the folly, evil, ineptitude, greed and nastiness of those running our country, and those allowing that to happen. As this included all nationally elected officials and their appointees and supporters as well as most voters and the rest of us who neglected to launch an effective revolt when the Supreme Court appointed our president in 2000, we had a lot to complain about.

The other day when we met, we bumped fists, in the proud tradition, he pointed out of our first-lady elect, Michelle Obama. We then lapsed into the giddiness that has gripped virtually everyone I’ve spoken to since Tuesday night, pausing only to affirm, that it really happened, it’s all true, we’re not imagining or dreaming this, that most of America really did elect the best candidate for the job of president, not swayed by prejudice or politics or by distrust, distaste or disrespect for one another.

We needed to pause and persuade ourselves again that this was real, because for most of our lifetimes now — for those who saw the promises of the sixties become the compromises of the 70s, the exploitations of the 80s, who saw renewed hope in the 90s, only to have our government stolen at the turn of the new century, we have been unable to make sense of reality.

Now, I thought, as I brought the mail into the house, still laughing at something the mailman said about one of Sarah Palin’s kids, we aren’t malcontents anymore.

In reality though, as the disbelieving joy of the last week becomes part of the fabric of life, that doesn’t seem like a good thing.

On the same day America proved its enlightenment and acceptance of diversity by electing Barack Obama president, three states passed laws banning same sex marriage and institutionalizing intolerance. The laws served no articulable purpose, except to foster division, and yet outcry against them was muted in the uproar of the greater cause of getting a new president who is not dangerous to us all. Both — fighting to get Obama elected and fighting amendment 2 here in Florida were worthy causes, and the first was a priority. But as long as we need to make choices of that nature, sacrificing human rights for victory, those choices will add up, like straws of hay, until one day one straw will tip the balance and our ability to look out for our greater good will be lost again.



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