Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I thought I would cry

I thought I would cry when I entered and when I left the polls - when I entered because of the purposeful way the people headed towards the polls were walking, reminiscent of the purpose to people's walk in V for Vendetta. We were going to be part of the change, we were going to be heard. When I left, it was pride. It was seven in the morning and there was a line at least twenty people long, all of the people in it college students.  The media hadn't expected us to do this, and we were.

I didn't.

I thought I would cry when the Ohio polls closed, because it meant that the ads, the awfulness, the arguing with Jon because our opinions on politics do not alway overlap, and all the other stuff was over. 

I didn't.

I thought I would cry during the election party in the lounge when a group of us were eating cotton candy and talking about what our parents' opinions on the election were and what we thought. It was a strange feeling to be in a group of people that understood what I was talking about, that was just as stressed as I was. It was like coming home.

I didn't.

I thought I would cry when the man on CNN said there was no way McCain was going to reach 270 after they called Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania for Obama. I was shocked, I was amazed, I was proud because people had voted, they had participated, they had fought for the person they believed in. Seeing the map turn blue on television and on the New York Times website (which had a really interesting map that colored in the second any percentage of votes was out - which is how Utah, Arizona, and Texas were all blue at one point) was just... there was something truly powerful about it.

I didn't.

I thought I would cry during McCain's concession speech and Obama's speech, because they were both good speeches and because it truly meant this battle was over. One tear happened, but... I didn't cry.

I remembered about Proposition 8 in California, I googled it, I found a map showing how the votes were rolling in, knowing that the polls had been close leading up to election day. 

I saw that people were voting 'yes' to add an amendment to the California constitution that would make marriage between a man and a woman only. That it was 'yes' by at least 2.5 percent. 

I started crying. They were not the tears of joy or relief that I had been expecting. They were tears of disappointment and anger and shame and sadness. I cried for my friends that are gay and for the people I know or know of that had gotten married since California legalized gay marriage in June. I cried for the fact that we could elect a black man to the presidency, but we can't vote for civil rights. I cried for the 16,000 couples that have gotten married in four and a half months. 

It is taking everything in me to not cry now. 

On a day that I expected to feel light and joyful and free of the awfulness of the past year, I am angry and sad. I am hoping that this isn't allowed to be put on the constitution, that for once civil rights will beat out narrow minded opinion. That the government will defend its people by taking a stance on something that it has avoided taking a stance on for years. 

This is the change that I find myself believing in today.

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