Reflection on the election

 

Kara Haney, left, and her partner of 8 years Kate Wertin, right, embrace in the Lobby Bar in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood as the Washington State Senate passes a bill that would legalize gay marriage in Washington State on Wednesday, February 1, 2012. Dozens gathered at the bar to watch the debate via TV on the senate floor. (Photo by Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)

America took several steps forward yesterday.  Headline-grabbing national races aside, it felt like the biggest move among the electorate was not contained within any one party.  Instead it seemed as though the good political grain of expanded liberties had triumphed against the chaff of party politics.  The best gains were made for expand the institution of marriage in several states.   At HonestNC, we had envisioned North Carolina as the point of inflection on gay marriage in the United States, a tide turning back a century of ignorance and repression on the subject.  Sadly, our state was not able to accomplish that task in May when the electorate voted for constitutional amendment.  But the nation responded to our voice yesterday as voters in Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington approved of gay marriage.   Perhaps some time in the future, we will look back to 2012 as a year when the president endorsed enhancing the meaning of marriage along with significant portions of multiple sides of the country that would lead to greater societal acceptance in the future.

John Trumbull’s painting “The Declaration of Independence”

The nature of America is towards freedom, towards greater openness and expansion of rights to all.  This was the cornerstone our founding fathers set when they created our country, and it will continue to burn as the bright star of America for centuries to come.  Our success will be based on our model: that open and democratic ideals is the best way to govern.  We saw ideals spread to women, then African-Americans and in the next arc of history, we will extend them to gay Americans as well.   North Carolinians will remember this election as a year when a  new wave of conservative leadership was voted into state power to stem the tide of 20 years of Democratic corruption.  Americans nationwide will remember this election as a year when the Republican national platform was repudiated by a slight majority of the nation’s voters.  But perhaps we can also look to this as a time when rights, liberties and guarantees from the government expanded to include groups that have been disenfranchised in the past.  This may not solve all of the partisan rancor of the past four years as Obama fought obstructionist Republicans in the Legislature.  But at least it could create a new start.

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