What with the American electorate sweeping Barack Obama into the presidency with the largest majority in twenty years, it’s easy to forget that not everything went my way on Tuesday. My man won the White House, and I’m not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth here, but there was plenty of bad news in the results from Election Day 2008. Basking in Barack’s victory for two days has been nice, but I just can’t go on without bitching about a few of the things that rained on my parade.
Three of the four people I voted for on my local school board were elected. That’s good news, sure. The fourth guy, the one I didn’t vote for, is a creationist who told my local newspaper that he was educated at a “faith-based university,” which we all know is a euphemism for Jesus School. The salt in the wound: one of the candidates who lost the election was Jackie Fischer, my old English teacher who gave the strongest response to the science vs. creationism question.
We, the people of Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, also re-elected Roscoe Bartlett. This will be his ninth term in the House of Representatives. Some sinister combination of apathy and inertia swept him to an overwhelming victory. He beat Democrat Jennifer Dougherty 60% to 40%, which really pissed me off. I thought it might be a close race, so I compromised my “vote for the minor parties” principle and voted for Dougherty, fearing she would need every last vote and wanting to unseat Bartlett more than anything else. She lost by a shitload. Now I wish I’d voted for the Libertarian guy.
The people of Alaska, in their infinite wisdom, have apparently re-elected corrupt, convicted felon Senator Ted Stevens. The election was so close that votes are still being counted, and Ol’ Crazy Ted may still be forced to resign, but it boggles the mind how this man could have won an election, however close, mere days following his conviction on corruption and ethics violation charges. The various minor party candidates on the ballot only managed to poll a few percentage points, meaning that thousands of Alaskans opted to vote for their corrupt, arrogant, increasingly senile incumbent even when presented with a variety of other choices. What’s up, Alaska?
Worst of all, California, Arizona and Florida all passed amendments to their state constitutions banning same-sex marriage. The vote was relatively close in California, not so much in Arizona or Florida. As great a step forward as electing Barack Obama was, these amendments are huge leaps backwards. Same-sex marriage, and gay rights in general, is the civil rights issue of our time. There is no reason to deny our gay fellow citizens of the United States the right to marry the people they love. It is morally indefensible. We’ve made great strides in overcoming our racism as a nation, as the election of Barack testifies, but the passing of these anti-gay marriage amendments shows that we still have a big problem with other forms of bigotry. It’s a shame. It makes me embarrassed to be an American when I think of it. I hope we can come to our collective senses before too long and put this right. Every day these discriminatory statutes stand is a travesty, an insult to human rights, and a blemish on our supposedly free and just society.