Thursday, November 6, 2008

Reactions to the Election & Letting Freedom Ring

*NOTE*--There may be parts of this long post that are offensive, perhaps like a picture of me giving the bird. This is just a note to forewarn you that if you (a.) get offended by being flipped off then don’t scroll down, (b.) voted yes on Prop 8 or any other gay-marriage-banning-law, (c.) voted for McCain,.....then you might find this offensive. But frankly, I don’t care.

I’ve now had about two days to soak in the mostly wonderful news from the election. I’ve gone over in my head a million times the things I have wanted to write, but I always seemed to come up short for words. Not today though. Today, I will put out there all of my feelings about the election...felicidad, tristeza, esperanza, decepción...and all the thoughts I have regarding certain things I have seen/read/heard since election night.

Orgullosísima and all that it entails
I'm not normally a person who walks around boasting that I am a gringa. In fact, living here in Chile, I much prefer to be seen just like everyone else on the streets than be seen as a gringa. The reasons why I will save for another day, the important thing is that yesterday, today, and probably for a good long while, things are so different. I have wanted to run down the streets of Santiago screaming about how proud I am to be a citizen of the good ol' USA and how proud I am to have Barack Obama as our new President! I wish I could have been in the States on Saturday to see Obama speaking to my hometown of Pueblo. I wish I have been there yesterday today to bask in all the gloriousness that it is to see history forever change. Don’t worry, I still basked in joy all day here in Chile...but being so far away at such an exciting time made me a bit homesick.

Tuesday night, Christian and I went to Melissa’s apartment for an elec
tion party with other gringas and their husbands/boyfriends. Being so far from it all, it was nice to join up with my fellow ex-patriots to nervously watch each State turn blue or red and cross our fingers that Obama would kick McCain’s ass (see picture above of us cheering him on). We left a little bit before 1am and I stayed up for a bit longer until the local Chilean TV stations stopped their election coverage, right after McCain’s concession speech. It was all over the internet that Obama had won and it just gave me this warm and peaceful feeling inside, knowing that my country is in good hands.

The first thing I did when I woke on Wed. morning was to turn on my computer and search for Obama’s victory speech. It brought tears to my eyes to hear and see that speech. I think he is one of the most intelligent, open-minded, and motivated men that exist on the face of this earth, let alone will have lived in the White House. I can finally rest at ease that Bush’s horrible mistakes will start to be taken care of, little by little and most importantly, that we can, as a country, save face in front of the world. Unless you have lived in another country or traveled extensively, you have NO idea how much Bush had ruined our reputation. NO IDEA. Everyone’s reactions here in Chile, and in other countries from what I have seen on the news, has been that YES, the USA is back and will be better than ever. I don’t think there has ever been a time when the entire world was watching our elections with just as much nervousness and excitement as we the citizens were and always do. If you want more info on this topic, click here.

Emily wrote a wrap-up on her election thoughts, and my favorite sentence is that “Obama basically kicked ass.” I also agree with her on the fact that progress is slow and that we need to not put too much pressure on Obama. The man is only human, and although I believe 100% that he will do anything he can to fix what is broken in our country, he’s not perfect, our society is not perfect and trying to change deeply-planted ways is more than difficult. He told us up front, and he reminded us in his victory speech:
"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there
.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
But there is one thing that I do want to comment further on about Emily’s post. She mentions a huge flaw in McCain’s concession speech:
“One part of his speech really made it difficult for me to focus on the rest though: his comment that this should be a proud moment for the African American community. No, it is a proud moment for all of us. All races got Obama elected; all races but most specifically whites were able to put aside to some extent the racism that has so affected our country throughout its history. If McCain can't see that, maybe he really wouldn't have made a good president in today's diverse society.
While I completely agree that it is a proud moment for all of us (trust me, I was the girl who cried after watching movies in history class about the civil rights movement in the 10th grade, not understanding how people could treat others as they did, and sometimes still do), and I agree that McCain should have acknowledged that in his speech...BUT I think African Americans ARE entitled to be especially proud. I can’t even imagine how they feel. I mean, if I have been moved to tears repeatedly after receiving the good news, watching the victory speech, seeing the Chilean news talk about it, there probably aren’t words to describe how they feel. And although Obama never made his campaign about race—something which I think says a lot about him—the fact of the matter is that electing a black man as President says a lot about how far our country has come. Racism and discrimination are definitely not dead, as incorrectly stated by this NY Times article, but we as a country sure did make a huge leap on Tuesday (a great article on this topic can be found here). Just take a look at the following pictures, taken from the NY Times slideshows, which are worth a million times more than a thousand words:

I am personally very excited to see the doors of opportunities open for all minorities across the nation, and hopefully across the world, as they strive to accomplish their dreams and are able look to Obama for inspiration. That is what I think was greatly accomplished on Tuesday night.


Disappointmen
t
Here comes the part that has unfortunately stopped my complete bliss about the results of this year’s elections. Three states banned gay marriage...and two of those states voted Democrat in the Presidential polls. I know the links I posted in my previous post were specifically aimed at California’s Prop. 8, but at the time, I didn’t know that both Arizona and Florida also had similar issues on their ballots. Of course, California passing the law surprises me the most out of all of them as gays have been able to marry freely since May 2008, but in reality, I am equally and deeply disappointed in all three states (article about this here). I can’t for the life of me understand how someone who can vote for Obama, and all the change, optimism, hope, and open-mindedness that goes along with him...could vote yes to ban gay marriage. Have you folks heard of civil rights? And do you know that it doesn’t just apply to racial issues?

A very close friend of mine wrote an amazing letter to another mutual friend o
f ours because this mutual friend is against gay marriage and my very close friend just happens to be gay. He was not hateful, nor angry, nor spiteful, but poised, intelligent and friendly in asking her to explain her reasoning only as a way to spark conversation and to understand each other a bit better. I didn’t ask him if I could post this, but since he already put it on facebook, I’m assuming this is ok (the bolded & colored text highlights my favorite parts):
“Because most of my friends are already in the "no on prop 8" boat, i was surprised to see that an old friend who I have always thought very highly of, and still do, was on the affirmative side. In an effort to understand i decided to send her a little note just to see how she got to her decision, and see if i could stir up some new thoughts and maybe change her mind. We're down the wire people . . . . I figured i might as well post my questions to see if i can reach anybody else . . . pass it on if you have anybody on the fence . . .

Dear XXXXXX,

So the campaign season has reached its fever pitch and we will soon have an idea of where this country is going. In the spirit of democracy and free speech, I was intrigued by the declarations made on your profile and I wanted to make an effort to keep as open of a mind as I can on all of the issues that will be voted on. Because I feel that I know you well and respect your opinions, I think it would be more poignant to hear what you have to say from a more emotional and realistic point of view that is not offered by impersonal campaign ads and talking points. So, I would like to know why you are in support of proposition 8. Same-sex marriage has now been legal in California since May 2008. Which of your personal freedoms has been encroached upon or threatened since that time?

I had the pleasure of viewing your wedding photos after your nuptials awhile back, so you clearly know how much it means for two people to declare their love and have it recognized by not only their friends and family, but also by the state. For what reasons do you believe that I am not capable of having that same level of love with the person that I end up with? And if you do think that I am capable of those feelings, why do I not deserve the same rights and protections under the law? If marriage is simply a religious institution, then it would have significance only in the church. If that were the case, then all of us would only be able to have civil unions. The government issues marriage licenses, not the church. Why do the proponents of proposition 8 want to take this fundamental right away from so many people that I care about? I know that your religion does not agree with homosexual lifestyles, but weren't you taught that this country was based on ideas meant to propagate tolerance and equality under the law for all of its citizens? That is precisely why you are free to practice whichever religion you desire. I do not agree with your religion's ideals and beliefs, but I respect your freedom to believe them and I would never vote for a referendum that took away that freedom. That has got to be a huge part of who you are. Well, this is a huge part of who I am.

I pray, that someday I may find someone that I love so much that I want to spend the rest of my life married to him. I would however, not get married simply because I can, I would only go down that aisle if in my heart I believed that I would be with this person forever. In what ways will my marriage and my respect for the privilege of marriage make yours less valuable? I just want to get an idea of how you came to your decision to favor proposition 8 and what is driving your support, because in all honesty, I do not understand.

I know I asked a few questions, and it's really down to the wire at this point. So if you can only answer one, what I really want to know is, how will the passing of this proposition, which will drastically change my future, even affect your life at all?

I hope to hear from you soon.

Unfortunately, he has not heard from this mutual friend. I think she at least ow
es him the respect, and for the sake of their friendship, to acknowledge the email and give it her best shot at responding...but honestly, I don’t think shes know how to. It is such a shame that people are still so close-minded in this day and age.

I am not gay, nor am I from Cali, Arizona or Florida. But I have had many
(and still do!) gay friends. And most importantly, I believe that all people, no matter what their sexual preference may be, should be allowed to get married to the person they truly love. So in the honor of all my past, current, and future gay friends & family...I give you this picture:

Yes, that is me telling every single person who voted yes to ban gay marriage to F* OFF.

I got the idea from Offbeat Bride’s “Let Freedom Ring” post, which originally came from Eating Out Loud’s “Prop 8: Let Freedom Ring!”. Allen, Eating Out Loud’s author, states (bold text from original author)
:
“So, I awoke this morning to learn that my relationship with my partner is no longer valid. It’s no longer legal. It’s somehow sub-par, not equivalent, not worthy of protection. And you know what? I’m pissed and tired of holding it in.

I decided to snap a photo of my wedding band placed on a slightly different finger than normal to express exactly how I feel toward every single person who voted Yes on Prop 8. It’s my personal version of ‘let freedom ring’. The battle for equality changes course but it’s very far from over
.

I’m sure some of you will believe in Prop 8 and that’s your right. Please make sure to update your reader to remove my blog and to delete any bookmarks to my site. I won’t take it personally but as for Prop 8 and your intrusion on my life … I take it very personally.

I welcome supporters of gay rights to snap your own photo showing your wedding ring on your middle finger. Spread the word that this fight isn’t over. Whether you’re gay, straight, bi, white, blue or tan — show your support by letting freedom ring on your blog! Please forward this page to
any friends and family who may find it of interest.
So there you have it--my thoughts on all you close-minded discriminators--for those of you who support gay marriage, take your own picture, hell even if you aren’t even married pick up any old ring, snap a pic and spread the word. Then after you have posted your picture on a blog, on facebook, myspace, fotolog, or wherever it may be--put the link on the Diary of a Modern Matriarch's blog which is keeping track of all the posts. Here’s another one, just in case you didn’t get the message the first time.

4 comments:

Jessica said...

hey! so i found your blog awhile back, through Kyle´s i think.. i´m a fellow gringa with a Chilean pololo ;) i was going to tell you that i was going into the Pedro de Valdivia metro tonight at like 6:30 and i swear i saw someone that looked exactly like you haha,. but i didnt want to say anything because i wasnt even sure if you knew i read your blog, so i would´ve felt like an idiot! :) anyway, i enjoy your blog!

AndreAnna said...

This was such a well-written, thoughtful, and excellent blog post. Thank you so much for being part of it.

-Modern Matriarch

Swistle said...

YES!

Emily said...

Love these pictures - you look so tough in the first one and so disapproving in the second.

Disclaimer—La Chilengüita is a blog created upon my personal experiences and which expresses my personal opinion that in no way represents the views my employer, family or friends.