Flies in the Annointment
For the first time in three presidential elections since I've been in the U.S., I accompanied Patrick to the polls as an "international observer" and watched him cast a ballot that his parents could never have imagined.
It was thrilling. We went home, turned on the television, and pretty much stayed glued to it until midnight. The kids, too, camped out on an air mattress on the family room floor. My nine-year-old called out the projections as they came in, state by state.
"All the blue is in the north," he observed early on.
And therein lies one of two flies in the annointment.
As jubilant as we are over Obama's win, I'm deeply disappointed in the South.
I know there are people all over this country who voted Republican for the right reasons, but I've been here too long to kid you or myself that the uniformly red overlay of the old confederacy is not largely about race.
It'd be like trying to tell you the Confederate cause was essentially about states' rights. There are people here who will tell you that with a straight face. And in the next breath, deny that they are affected by the racial baggage of this region's heritage.
All of us -- black and white -- are shackled together by that legacy of denial and shame. As long as we keep trying to get away from it, and each other, nobody is getting anywhere. It's like watching partners in a three legged race try to outrun each other.
I think I will have more to say about that in the days to come.
The other disappointment is in the various votes that rolled back civil rights for same-sex families, including a proposition in Arkansas that denies such families the opportunity to serve as foster parents.
I have such strong feelings on this topic because of the value I place on marriage as a legal and societal institution. People who love each other will find a way to be together, believe me. What possible justification is there for leaving them outside, no roof over their heads?
You want to know what weakens and violates the sanctity of my marriage? Denying it to people who love each other as much as we do.