08 November 2008

We Did It! (Mostly)

Obama won! And the Dems now have majorities in the Senate (albeit not Filibuster proof), House, and US Governorships! I'm really happy and so are the folks here in France (at least 85% of them) as you can see below. On Wednesday morning I went around the office toasting Obama with a bottle of Cidre Brut (hard cider). Then in the afternoon the lab head broke out the Champagne for another toast with guests.

And Prop 2 passed in California - which makes me truly happy and will improve the lives of millions of farm animal. After spending most of my life being mocked for my belief that animal suffering is an important and valid concern, Americans finally seem to be coming around to the idea (the French though treat vegetarians the way Americans did 20 years ago).

I got almost everything out of this election that I wanted. Although I guess it's a law of the universe you can't get everything you want. Still it really stinks that a bunch of bigotry against gays, dressed up as ballot measures, passed in several states - the most prominent of which was California's Prop 8. The whole thing makes me sad and angry. It's also quite fascinating to me that the Mormon church LDS has put so much effort into defending "traditional marriage" - given that they are a group that had to flee the US, in part, because their marriage arrangements were rejected by greater US society!

I believe in equality - if two given people (say Joe and Mary) have the right to join in a union to live their lives together, gaining both societal recognition, and a variety of benefits big and small in doing so - I see no reason why the legality of that union should be based on one particular combination of sexual genetalia. I'm no lawyer, but it definitely has the stink of an "equal rights" violation - I mean have a century after the civil rights movement we've still effectively got separate water fountains (which is what I'd call a civil union) - that is when gays even get a water fountain in my analogy.

It also gets my goat that so many anti-gay advocates (particularly the evangelicals) make this seem like a linguistic concern 'we are fighting against the re-definition of marriage from time immemorial as the union between one man and one woman' or some other such intellectually dishonest tripe. Have you read the Bible lately? How many wives did Jacob have? It wasn't "one man and one woman". But really if it's just a language issue, let's throw legal marriage out the window and have everyone get civil unions. Then marriages (which seem in this view to be a religious or quasi-religious institution) can stay where they belong in a society with a church-state separation (namely in church, synagogue, or mosque) and civil benefits, rights, etc. can be guided by a completely secular institution. But that probably won't ever happen.

Also I was a bit sad that my friend Roy Simon lost his bid to unseat Republican State Senator Skelos, the third most senior Republican in State government. Have to say, I'm a natural skeptic - Roy was running a seriously uphill battle - but I really admire him for doing it!

So in sum, I'm terribly excited to see what Obama and the D-crats do in the next couple of years. Hopefully it will be magic that will make everything better - but more realistically they'll just stop screwing things up and institute some mild improvements. Either way, I'll be happier and sleep easier knowing our country is out of hands proven to be incompetent and into ones that think "reality-based decision making" is a valid way of governing! This is still just the beginning of the fight to improve things (like in Obama's speach - 'continually striving to perfect our union'), but I'm feeling hopeful - like it actually might be a begining. I guess we'll see where things go.

1 comment:

  1. One clarification: although I wrote that the French have a similar attitude towards vegetarianism as that I encountered in the States when I was a kid, they do treat their agricultural animals quite a bit better (for the most part) than has been the standard in the US.