... or better, Delirium and Humiliation.
It is weird to be possessed by two such profoundly opposite emotions.
It is hard to imagine the release of joy that I felt ... and I know that I am only one of millions of people in this country jousting with the same emotions ... when the media declared that Obama had won. I teared up again and again ... even old Jesse Jackson, the radical turned ambulance chaser, made me weep when I saw his genuine tears. For weeks as the election approached ... again like so many people ... my gut wrenched with the fear that somehow the 'publicans would pull it off, cheat, stick the world with that ludicrously superannuated troglodyte. So the joy of the moment was both the release from the fear and the genuine basking in this incredible turn of events. Incredible ... who can believe it.
Those scenes from the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Wow.
Obama has grown as we watched him. He weathered everything thrown up by events. He manufactured a Presidential stance, and he demonstrated a thoughtfulness and intelligence that we suspected but could not prove. I like to laugh at the lunacy of a 21-month political campaign ... no other Western democracy needs more than 5% of that to elect a leader ... but the American presidency is a kind of temporary monarchy. So the long torment of the campaign seems configured to prove that this is one we want to reign. When "folks" picked dubya, it was because they caved to their ignorance, they caved to the notion that the person who should lead us should be someone we would enjoy at a BBQ. See what that got us.
Obama proved he is reflective and that he is an orator. We shall see, of course, the translation of that into practice. But this moment, this interlude, is devoted to riding the joy that after 8 years of hellish mis-government, what I like to call one-party-no-government rule, we have a shot with a figure who is of the next generation not the one previous to the present.
Besides, we won.
But, then again, we didn't win.
Because amidst all the euphoria, we fags and dykes were disinvited from the the party.
There is, I admit, a certain humiliation in it. The sexual loathing that christers and mohamotens and other religious bigots enjoy is based on the threat of public shaming. And that shaming is a kind of stripping someone naked ... making the malefactor stand ashamed in front of his would-be peers if only he were not so diseased, so sick, so sinful. The Prop 8 campaign was a shaming. And they got away with it.
But that emotion is thin and only a rumor beneath the outrage and the pride. The pride ... the bigots have no idea of the courage that is required to be openly gay in a world in which we are reviled, in which we are murdered and imprisoned, in which ancient scriptures are misread to give comfort to bigots no bigger than the clots of crap under my shoes. The outrage that we live in a society in which a vote upon liberty is allowed. Imagine the outrage if someone proposed a state constitutional amendment that restored slavery or sent wogs back to their camps. We are the wogs now, we are the niggers, we are the ones who can be openly hated.
Make no mistake ... it is rank hatred that voted for Proposition 8. Hatred. The hatred that has burned us alive at the stake or sent us to hang in Iran or sent us to prisons or to the hands of murderers. Notwithstanding the fact that we garnered 48% of the vote ... something unimaginable when I first entered the gay movement in 1972 ... I still fear that the day may come when we are the scapegoats, the new Jews, the niggers. That is what the bigots have in store for us.
But on a better note ... today at a corner at MRU (the major research university where I toil for wages), a corner that they call the corner of death because of the reckless manner in which bicycles careen from blind corners, there was a protest against the bigots ... and every single person who voted for 8 is a bigot who should lie awake ashamed at their consuming hatred. At one point, the speaker asked for a cheer from "our straight supporters", and the vast majority of those present cheered. As a cranky olding gay man, I acknowledge you, our friends, who have stood for us. Yes. Perhaps we too shall overcome some day. And if we overcome, it will be together, gay and straight, in favor of a world where love comes first and foremost.
I just took a moment to watch again from beginning to end Obama's victory speech. His eloquence, his humanism, his ethic of work and commitment ... it is moving, soulfully moving. Take a moment and hear it again.
And ask this ... why are we left out? How much longer are we left out?
And ask this too: is this the new dawn? Can we make things different? Can we seize this moment?
And say this ... yes, we can! Yes, we can!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
... or better, Delirium and Humiliation.