Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pat yourself on the back, but...

We all deserve a nice pat on the back for the work we did to elect Barack Obama. Big grins -- we helped save the world yesterday, and we all deserve the pride we feel.

But... as Shark-Fu said on Feministing this morning, equality for all isn't exactly raining down upon America.

Prop 8, banning gay marriage in California, passed. Prop 102 in Arizona, banning gay marriage, also passed. Amendment 2 in Florida, banning not only marriage but civil unions (which happens to affect straight people, Florida, way to go), also passed. Arkansans banned gay couples from adopting or even being foster parents (despite the fact that there are 37,000 children in the foster care system in Arkansas and only about 1,000 foster families). Nebraska banned affirmative action. Via Cara.

So while we worked very hard across America, not only for Barack Obama, but in my state for Christine Gregoire (the race hasn't been called yet, but we'll see how it goes -- I say she wins because Washingtonians know how bad it is in other states and how not-bad it is here); in North Carolina for Kay Hagen who unseated Liddy Dole; in South Dakota to once again defeat abortion-banning legislation; in California to defeat Prop 4, the parental consent law.

We did work hard and we did do a lot of good last night. But the work isn't over. So, while the Obamas pick out their puppy, we can rest and relax for a few minutes, but don't forget that once Obama is innaugurated, once congress is sworn in we have a lot of work still to do.

We still have men and women dying or being seriously injurred on the ground in Iraq.

Osama bin Laden is still at large.

Inequality still reigns in too many parts of the country -- racial, economic, gender, sexual-orientation. Now is the time to address these issues.

Our economy is still a mess and the Freidman Zombies aren't going anywhere.

But, for now, sit back and have a beer. Take our victories in stride and use those to continue to fight for justice. We've proven that we can organize a party of cats, so let's keep the structures in place and make sure that next time we defeat the bans on gay marriage -- or even, gasp, legalize marriage for all pairs of consenting adults. Next time, let's make sure that the peddlers of putrid prejudice lose every battle. Next time, let's make sure that we protect sex workers. Next time, we have to work even harder to make sure to keep the mandate we've established.

There's still a lot to be done, and while I may be protected as someone lucky enough to have brains and privilege, I'll be doing everything I can to help everyone else have the opportunities I do as a straight, mostly white, middle class woman.

There I go, getting all Jeffersonian again... if I had had more time, I would have written less.

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