Early Thoughts.

There will be weeks to digest all of this, but here are my thoughts this morning.

Call it the Bradley Effect, or whatever you want to call it, but the voter suppression efforts in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia had an effect. I think we all know Obama would have won North Carolina by now if everyone who voted got their vote count, and I suspect the same in Georgia.

Thankfully, the cancerous wart on our country that is the South has had its power destroyed, at least for now. Florida and Virginia have become popularly dominated by “Real Americans” (as opposed to “Real Confederates”), and great inroads to that effect have been worked in North Carolina. 

But Obama would have won without these places. The gentle folks of the upper Mid-West, along with the blue coasts did this. Obama would have won 290 EVs with no southern states and no Mountain West states. The Mountain West, and its less gentle, more gritty folk, have turned on corporatism. Together with the other regions, this Real America has neutered the Real Confederacy. Nevermind the presidential map—Montana and Arizona are joining that trend. 

Only the Mormon triangle and the prairie states hang on, but only because of their religion. If Obama can deal them in to prosperity and call a temporary truce in the culture wars, he could probably win 40 states next time, maybe even Texas.

Speaking of the culture wars, I know that justice delayed is justice denied. But justice denied is not a permanent state of affairs. The Civil Rights movement peaked 40+ years ago, and we are just now having a black president. There have been 44 presidents. In a country with a roughly 12% black population, we should have had 2 or 3 by now, all things being equal.

Women’s suffrage came 100 years ago, beating de facto suffrage for blacks by 50 years, and was about 50 years ahead of de jure black suffrage. So, now I turn to America’s last two hot battles in the culture wars.

Everybody’s favorite abortion ban test state, South Dakota, has rejected another Roe test law. So did California. With Obama’s election, the Supreme Court can be remade to ensure Roe/Casey stand for another generation. It appears that the Battle of the Bulge has been fought in this one, and the Allies are marching on Berlin.

But in the struggle for gay rights, we lost yesterday. We lost in the heart of blue America by a decent margin. Yeah, bans passed in Arizona and Florida as well. A gay *adoption* ban passed in Arkansas.  The latter are not surprising; the former is crushing.

California has long been the source of progressivism in this country. In the darkest of the Bush years, California worked on its own to foster at least civil unions, control carbon emissions, do stem cell research, and has had its own tougher clean air standards since the 1970s. For gay rights to lose here is crushing. Of course hippy-dippy California is ruled by big-moneyed special interests and their ballot initiatives. And those ballot initiatives have produced some of the most regressive laws in the nation, including Proposition 13 which strangles property taxes to the point that revenue must come from more regressive taxation, which has turned California’s public schools from 1st to 47th and has put the originally free University of California out of reach for most of California’s high school graduates. Before the Courts came around, Prop 187 effectively turned teachers into INS agents. Now Prop 8 will join them in infamy.

Especially since the margin came from first-time black voters turning out for Obama. One of the greatest tragedies of humanity is the failure to see the struggles of others in your own. Consolidating gains instead of universalizing them is the default human way. 

So, I must ask: when do we let gays into the big house?

Soon. The fact that this is a “front burner” issue—and I think it will overtake abortion now (it’s much easier to hate tangible gays than a practice) as the defining belief of the Christian Nationalist Right—means that they see public opinion moving. 

But if the time between MLK and Obama is the measuring stick, it may be a while.

Oh, and one other thing: we have no gay heroes. There are some actors. There are some back-bench politicians. But there is no Jackie Robinson, no Martin Luther King, no Jesse Jackson. Not yet. That leader is what it’s going to take to get people’s thinking changed.

So, while I’m disgusted by that, I cannot be sad. Because we have seen that in the face of a lawless government, that we did not let the water heat up until we were slowly boiled. We jumped out of the pot. No other post-revolutionary country has done that non-violently once. Few countries withstand an era like this non-violently.

So, somewhere deep in our national soul, despite the poison fed us to perpetuate our 9/11 PTSD, we found a way to jump out of the fascist boil. So, for gays that day will come—it’s in our soul. It’s just not going to be tomorrow.