Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"You Take The Good, You Take The Bad..."

You take the good,
You take the bad,

You take 'em both,

And there you have,

The Facts of Life,

The Facts of Life...

For those of you golden oldies (like me), I am sure you remember the theme song of The Facts of Life. No doubt, you recall Mrs. Garrett, Tootie, Blair, Natalie & Jo.

Well, yesterday was my own Facts of Life election.

No, not because it was funny or wacky or reminiscent of my early days at Eastland School.

It was my Facts of Life election because, while the electoral news I got yesterday was overwhelmingly "good", I also had to take my share of the "bad," too.

Whether you voted for or supported Barack Obama or not, you have to acknowledge the historical significance of the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States. Considering our country's shameful record where African Americans are concerned, this is a huge, huge, huge deal. Barack Obama's election will not fix all that is broken where race relations in this country is concerned, but it is a very welcome sign that we can and should do better in that arena. Barack Obama obviously inspires many millions of people & gave us more than a reason to vote for him, but to Hope again. Yes He Did.

I am Democrat. I am pretty sure that anyone who knows me well at all knows that. No surprise. Also, it can't be a big surprise that I am simply over-joyed at the fact that President-elect Obama (GOD, I LOVE WRITING AND SAYING THOSE WORDS!!) will be taking a lot more Democrats with him to Washington. I pray they will work hard to keep the pretty promises they made us, and that they have learned a grand lesson from the Grand Old Party in how to NOT run a country. I hope that their integrity & the sacred trust we have placed on their shoulders means as much to them as it does to those of us who are looking to them to lead us out of the Economic Valley of the Shadow of Death. I hope they really, truly understand--in the deepest, truest part of their being--that business as usual has long passed its expiration date, and that political & ethical shenanigans will not be tolerated by the voters whether you have an (R) or a (D) after your name. I hope my party (of whom I have been ashamed from time to time through the years) knows that--unlike the Republicans who used to be good at being elected but horrible at running a government--the American people desperately want & instinctively need leaders who love their country too much to just say anything to get elected & then leave a trail of broken promises after the limelight has dimmed. I hope my party knows that the American people are ready to get down to business & to work to fix all the things that so badly need fixing. I hope they understand the trust they have earned in the votes cast for them are sacred beyond words, and should be treated as such. I hope they know that We, The People will follow where leaders with true hearts & a clear vision beckon us to go, as we prepare to face the myriad challenges of the post-Bush era.

Last night was a long night for me. I cheered & I cried & I began to feel that good old American pride again. It was almost more than I could have hoped for...almost.

As I took stock last night of all the blessings that liberty brought me & my fellow citizens on this quadrennial first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and as I realized the true heights to which an American, of even the lowest of station can soar with but a sacred vote, I was soon brought back to earth by cruel reality, a.k.a those "bad" facts of life.

Though I had somehow dared to hope for better, apparently I thought more of my fellow citizens than they think of me.

Here in Florida, even with the bar being set relatively high when it comes to adding an amendment to our state's constitution (60% of the vote + 1 is needed), 62% of Sunshine State voters insisted on raining on my parade. Apparently, I present such a threat to the precious sanctity of their marriages that 4 separate statutes in Florida law weren't enough to protect them. I, obviously of lesser humanity, seeking to destroy what heterosexuals claim to have honored since time immemorial, deserved extra-special punishment; I deserve my second-class citizenship enshrined in this state's most sacred legal document. No doubt they know they have done their God's work by pressing their figurative boots deeper into my figurative throat; doing all within their power to squeeze the very breath out of the hope I had so naively placed in the supposed better angels of their nature.

I am smote, and all is well in the world again. Or is it? What further castigation awaits me in the recesses of their minds & in the darkness of their proud & haughty hearts, should I yet again displease God's chosen? What remains in their Religious bag of tricks for those like me who dare to flagrantly follow our hearts? What more can be taken from me? What else of my life is at their mercy? My life itself??

And, my dear Golden State of California. I lived part of my life there when I was a child, and I grew to love that place. It was truly Golden for me. I didn't leave my heart in San Francisco, but I did leave it in Baldwin Park, California a very long time ago. I know that the heart I left there must be sad & broken & feeling as if it was only ever fool's gold.

I will not pretend to know what it must be like to have your heart's desire & to finally have your government honor your family, only to see your neighbors & fellow citizens cruelly throw it all away, as if it were nothing but garbage, and to do it with such sheer, perverse, ugly joy:

Look long & hard at this picture. These are the champions, my friends. How full their own hearts must be right now knowing they have stopped same-gender couples from making families. They have no idea the perversity of their victory, nor any inkling that they cannot possibly stop two hearts from doing what hearts do, even after life is taken from them & they permanently stop beating. How, in their lust for the knowledge of waging spiritual war without end, can they not fully grasp the simple idea that Love Conquers All?

Can they be so self-centered & so bloodthirsty that they cannot grasp this most obvious Fact of Life?

So, I have said my piece & I have made it known how I hurt & how I resent being seen as less than those who believe they are more-than-deserving of the right to banish me from their Kingdom of Make-Believe Morality.

I choose to not dwell on all this because my life means more to me than constantly seething over the evil that men (and women) seek to do to people like me in the name of the Lord. My life is filled with people who love me & whom I love so very much in return. I have had many, many years to come to terms with the fact that part of my reality, by obvious necessity, is that I live in a world with people who unnecessarily fear me & hate me without knowing anything at all about me, except that I am not completely like them, but--in spite of it all--I know I am blessed, and, now, with a new President ready to shake things up that have long needed shaking, I am hopeful that we are all due for a little more of "the good."


Voodoodolly said...

If you replace the words "gay" with "interracial" in the laws, you can see how truly bigoted it is.

On the Other side, I do like how Obama*, Unlike other politicos, mentions ", strait.." in all his speeches. He's talking about coming together for unity- but I hope that he's on our side. And hope springs eternal.

* wow.. My spell check has NO IDEA what I'm talking about... Kinda funny.

-Stephen Shepherd

Voodoodolly said...

If you replace the words "gay" with "interracial" in the laws, you can see how truly bigoted it is.

On the Other side, I do like how Obama*, Unlike other politicos, mentions ", strait.." in all his speeches. He's talking about coming together for unity- but I hope that he's on our side. And hope springs eternal.

* wow.. My spell check has NO IDEA what I'm talking about... Kinda funny.

-Stephen Shepherd

Anonymous said...

Congrats on Obama - I figured you would be proud =)

How have you been my friend?



Mr. C said...

Hey, Tom!

I am doing well! So glad to hear from you! Just like most people who've been paying any attention at all, I've been really anxious lately. I've always been what they call "cautiously hopeful," but now that it's over, I am full-on hopeful & excited knowing that our country has a leader that inspires so many of us & who asks us all to do our part to make the American Dream real for ALL OF US!

Hope you are doing well & that God continues to bless you every single day!!

Your pal,