Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Elections: Report from the Ground (and Why It May Be Time for Me to Throw in the Towel As a Blogger)

So here's what's happening in my state following Tuesday's elections:

In short: Does the Tuesday election sweep by Republicans amount to a negative influence on whether the [Arkansas] Supreme Court will uphold Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's invalidation of the ban on same-sex marriage? I think you have to answer yes.

Three of the states that have benefitted the most from Obamacare and from Medicaid expansion voted last night for the people who want to take those gains away.


Last night's election results went about as poorly as could be imagined for proponents of the private option — the state's unique version of Medicaid expansion which uses Medicaid funds to purchase health insurance for low-income Arkansans. 

Let me break all of this down by speaking in very personal terms: 

1. When Steve and I (and many other same sex couples) married in May after Judge Piazza declared the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, one immediate result of what happened was that the state university system — Steve's employer — sent out an announcement that all legally married same-sex spouses of employees of the state university system would be eligible for healthcare benefits through their spouse.

And then within a day or so, the state Supremes clamped a stay on same-sex marriages, which has not been lifted (they were clearly waiting until after the November elections to address the issue, and also, one suspects, anticipating the outcome of those elections as a mandate to keep the ban on same-sex marriage in place). And the offer of healthcare benefits was then taken off the table.

2. Fortunately, I had gotten healthcare coverage for the first time in a number of years through the Affordable Care Act. For part of a one year, I have been able to take care of long-deferred medical tests and to obtain long-deferred medical treatment. Though we do not live near the poverty line, and are grateful for the abundance we have, I do not have a full-time job and we simply cannot afford to buy healthcare coverage for me. We can't do that and pay all our other bills each month, though we live very modestly in comparison to many other people.

3. I may now, in very short order, face having the healthcare coverage I had finally received this year yanked from my hands, with no option to claim benefits through the healthcare plan of my spouse, who may not even be legally recognized as my spouse in our own state not very far down the road.

4. Our marriage — the legal rights we may enjoy as a legally married couple — has been in limbo from the moment the state Supremes placed a stay on same-sex marriage. It is now in outright jeopardy.

The upshot: millions of my fellow citizens, a large percentage of them people claiming to be committed Christians, have been perfectly willing to elect a batch of political leaders at the state and national level who are committed to making the lives of people like Steve and me as miserable as possible. As we approach our mid-60s . . . . Having worked hard all of our lives, but having very little security to show for the hard work, due to the tumult created for our lives by raw prejudice . . . . 

Over and over again for years . . . . 

More upshot: I'm very tired, folks. I'm bone-tired. I'm approaching the age of 65 feeling that my life has been worth very little in the eyes of those who count, and continues to be worth little. A life misspent . . . . The repeated signal given to me is that what I think, the words I speak, who I am, count for very little either in the social world I inhabit or the church that is supposedly my loving family.

I'm weary. I'm weary to the marrow of my soul. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure that what I've tried to do on this blog for some time now — to claim a voice, and in that way, I had hoped, to give voice to others who are, like me, voiceless in our social world and in many of our churches — has had any real effect on anyone at all. 

Perhaps it's time for me to throw in the towel and say that I've done my bit, and let someone else down the road pick up this work — if it's worth doing. This is where I am right now.

P.S. Have you seen what the 6th Circuit Court has just done immediately after Tuesday's elections and the "mandate" conservative judiciaries will now increasingly claim to have received from those elections? The news is not good.

I find the graphic at multiple blog sites, with no clear indication of its origin. If anyone has this information, I would appreciate it.

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