Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The next step.

With the election of Barack Obama yesterday, the American people showed that, for the most part, they have evolved into a people who look beyond race. A people who no longer, as Martin Luther King said, judge people by the colour of their skin, but rather by the content of their character. This is an inspirational moment, one that really, admittedly, brought a tear to my eye last night when I heard Jon Stewart break into Stephen Colbert's rant to announce that "the president of the United States is Barack Obama". This is a moment that will be remembered for the rest of most of our lives, I think. Like the '72 Paul Henderson goal is to Canadians. More than that, the way JFK's assassination is remembered by the world. And most accurately of all, this is a moment that will resonate, forty years from now, the way Neil Armstrong walking on the moon resonates forty years later. That is how significant this was.

Does this end racism? No. Is it the biggest step since de-segregation? Yes. But there is still a lot of work to do to mend racial divides in the United States and around the world. But there could be no bigger step toward repairing those divides than the one that was taken yesterday. So assuming that within the next fifty years, racism is a thing of the past, what's next? Well, I think the Americans proved yesterday that while they are tolerant of other races and the time where Barack Obama's presidency seemed to be a ridiculous pipe dream is over, there is still some bigotry in the U.S. that urgently requires attention. And that bigotry is directed toward gay people. While Obama created the biggest, most inspirational moment for African-Americans since Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream speech, and perhaps ever, homosexual rights and equality was being dealt a blow all over the U.S.

California, a state which overwhelmingly elected Barack Obama and gave him the presidency, voted yes on a proposition that would ban gay marriage. California legalized gay marriage recently. Many gay people have been married in that state. And now, they take it all away. How people can think this way is beyond me. How two homosexual people being able to use the title "marriage" affects you in any way is staggering. The only reasons (and there are two) for this that I can see are either one - misguided religious zealotry. Or two - straight-up homophobia. I can't wrap my head around any other reason that straight people should give a s**t whether or not gay people get married. And both of those reasons are pretty lousy. How did this even make it onto the ballot? And, more disturbingly, how did it pass?

How about Arkansas, where the presidential election was accompanied by a bill that banned any adoptions by gay parents? A bill that passed in a landslide? Can you imagine a bill being proposed that makes sure black people can never adopt children? What is the matter with people? Why are they even willing to vote about this, let alone pro or con? Obama clearly scored a great victory for race relations in the States, one that I will remember as long as I live. But there is clearly a lot of work left to be done, and the most-ignored minority in the United States is now gay people. I'm starting the push now - a gay president by 2016! OK, like the Simpsons, I'll be realistic - a gay president by 2060! That gives us 52 years. If Barack Obama is any indication, it might well be possible.

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