Friday, November 7, 2008

A Reflection on a Historical Week

What a week it has been!

The image of Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and their daughters on stage at Grant Park in Chicago on Tuesday night is one that will remain with me for the rest of my life. I, like undoubtedly millions upon millions of people in this country and around the world, simply stood with tears in our eyes to watch the new president-elect. Times Square took on a carnival-like atmosphere with thousands of people celebrating Obama's election. Hope had once again returned to a country whose people had arguably languished through one of the most inept and incompetent administrations the United States has ever seen. Those gathered in Times Square were waving American flags, singing the national anthem and other patriotic songs. Hope had once again returned to a largely cynical and weary people.

It must be noted, however, millions of Americans actually lost rights on election night with the passage of Proposition 8 in California, Amendment 2 in Florida and others in Arizona and Arkansas that banned marriage for same-sex couples and un-married couples from adopting children. Prop 8's passage was a particularly bitter defeat for the movement for LGBT rights. Activists will arguably have to do some soul-searching in the coming weeks in their post-election analysis. A handful of the questions those within the movement and the broader LGBT community will arguably ask themselves include whether Prop 8 opponents implemented an effective campaign, whether they did enough to engage people of color and other key constituencies and even whether the overall strategy around marriage for same-sex couples remains viable.

The passage of these amendments on Tuesday is an extremely unfortunate blemish on what was otherwise a historic day for this country. Obama's election brings hope and promise to millions upon millions of people who had previously felt shut out of the arguable ideals upon which this country was built. And let's hope this promise and hope will include all Americans in the coming administration.

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