Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day's End

Day ends. I find a passage I read on AmericaBlog earlier today haunting me. It's an appeal for help from an Oklahoman who feels trapped in a red state that has just chosen to go redder.

I understand. I feel some of that same sense of entrapment. And, like the author of the comment, I feel it in a place in which I have deep historic ties and familial roots.

And I find, at day's end, that the sense of joy at what is a truly amazing sea-change in our cultural and political life is being outweighed by the burden of what took place in Arizona, California, Florida, and my own state with anti-gay initiatives yesterday.

One step forward for the nation, several steps backwards for some of us who are also citizens of this country, but whose personhood is demeaned and whose rights are denied. Who want to contribute, but whose contributions are hindered by lack of acceptance and inclusion.

Everywhere I turn today on various websites, I find the same mix of joy and grief among LGBT Americans. It makes the heart hurt. Particularly when we have worked hard alongside people who voted for the candidate we helped put into office, while voting against our rights. People who obviously do not see the agenda of change, the mandate for renewal of the nation, as we see it. It is painful to arrive at a victory that should bring joy, only to find that in the victory is also the sting of defeat for one's own minority community.

Here's what keeps echoing in my head as the day closes, from America Blog. It's a comment a reader sent John Aravosis today:

I feel like I have to keep living the Bush years by virtue of living here, and yet I'm a 4th generation Oklahoman and I don't want to leave. I don't want to give over the place I love to the radical right. It's how we all felt about the United States for the last 8 years, but it has been that way for my entire life here in Oklahoma, and there is no end in sight, even though the rest of the country has moved on. Our state legislature became even more Republican last night, and the moderate Republicans, like Mickey Edwards, no longer live here.

We need help.

We, the "good guys" here in Oklahoma, feel like missionaries in a hostile world. It is hard not to want to give up. Please be thinking of us (

The discussion thread following these observations is full of similar comments from all over the place: Texas, South Carolina, Oregon, central Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Tennessee.

Lots of pain out there, mixed with jubilation that I refuse to relinquish even as I feel that pain. I hope that those who have received the mandate to change things for the better are listening.