Monday, November 03, 2008

Vote, baby, vote!

Twenty-two minutes ago, I told my wife I'd be in bed in no less than 10 minutes.
In case you didn't read the last post, I'm fallin'-apart-tired due to "daylight god-save-us time" but I can't bring myself to go to bed. I'm pouring over electoral maps and listening to Rachel Maddow in the background.

I'm excited and scared.

"Why scared?" you might ask. Well, if you're asking that, you weren't gay in November 2004 and November 2000. I didn't sleep at all election night 2000. Katy went to bed thinking Al Gore was the president elect, but sometime after 11pm, the shit hit the fan. She woke up to find me pale and delirious in front of the TV, my hair plastered to my forehead by sweat. Fast forward 4 years... When we woke up November 3, 2004, we were informed by any pundit that had vocal cords that we had caused it... The gays demanding their rights had forced and inspired the rightwingnuts to flock to the poles and pass 11 constitutional amendments outlawing same sex marriage... While the wingnuts were in the booths voting against the gays, they also felt free to vote for the presidential candidate that "Most represented their values."

Tomorrow we will be voting. So should you. Even if you aren't registered, in most states you can vote for president by provisional ballot. If you live in CT, vote no on question one. I've been accused in the past of voting gay rights to the exclusion of other issues, and just to set the record straight, give me a minute here while I shake off my manic fatigue and put it out there before election day is here.

I was raised in a family that didn't talk about politics much. My mother and father never told me who they were voting for. I appreciate and respect that they did that. That they let me rant and rave about how great I thought the Gipper was, even though they couldn't stand the guy. I've thought of how to temper my political opinions for JB and any future sibs, because I think there is some value in avoiding a parental indoctrination. But I'm not there yet. Tomorrow I'm voting for Barack Obama. Tomorrow, maybe for the first time, I'm voting for someone I feel safe believing in. Tomorrow, I feel I get to vote for intellect and sincerity, and the vote is not about gay rights hardly at all. I'm voting for Barack Obama because I believe...

I believe that when a nation centers it's identity on the theory that all citizens are created equal (and all are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) setting up and perfecting a re-distributive system of progressive taxation is neither socialist, misguided, or unfair; but it is rational and moral.

I believe that my income, the income that I am able to earn as a free citizen in a country that provides free libraries and free education for all of it's citizens - is taxable.

I believe that my property, the property I am able to purchase with the money I earn through my job, the property that is protected by municipal employees such as police and firefighters, the property that is kept secure by garbage pickups and zoning regulations - is taxable.

I believe that if some member of my family dies and I inherit more than ONE MILLION DOLLARS, some of that should go back to the state to support the infrastructure that helped make my relatives so prosperous.

I believe that most of what I have been given in terms of freedoms and advancements has come from liberal movements that have been maligned and battered by instruments and proponents of propaganda. The political antics of a conservative minority that have somehow, ingeniously whipped up a backlash against labor movements, civil rights advancements, and women's suffrage are insulting to me. I believe that candidates and/or government officials that entice citizens to turn against their neighbors, and vote against their fiscal self interests is not "by," "of," or "for" "the people" at all.

I believe that a free market promotes competition, ingenuity, and healthy trade but that unrestricted or unregulated capitalism promotes greed and corruption that are contradictory to the ideals of a representative democracy.

I believe that there are many, many more people in this country working too hard for too little pay than there are people hardly working, or "living off the rest of us."

I believe it is wrong to care more for a fetus than a living baby. And if you are going to make abortion illegal, than you had better also abolish childhood poverty, and hunger.

I believe it is wrong to care more for a fetus than a living woman. And if you are going to make abortion illegal, than you had better also give women information on birth control, sexual health, and choices in a misogynistic society.

I believe that just like education, health care is a right, not a privilege. It is conceit that we consider ourselves the richest, most civilized people on earth, but it is an embarrassment that our wealth and our civility do not extend to making sure that everyone has access to basic primary, preventative, and emergency care regardless of ability to pay.

I believe that Medicare is without question the most successful and efficient government program in the history of the modern world. I believe those that deny the success and potential good that could come from extending such a program do so either out of ignorance, irrational fear, or mendacity.

I believe the government should not tell us who or how we may worship.

I believe the government should not tell us who or how we may love.

I believe that a gay child or the child of a gay parent is as important to society and as worthy of protection as any other child.

I believe that race is more than a divisive issue in this country and more than something that should be pondered and discussed. Racial prejudice is abhorrent, but it is woven into the fabric of our existence and cannot be untangled without reconstructing who we are. The history of racism and enslavement is the history of all of us. I believe that anyone who pretends that racism does not still affect most of our relationships and power dynamics in this country is delusional. The past cannot be changed, but we have come too far to stay the same. I believe standing together and treating each other with respect matters more than assigning blame. We are all in this together and our leaders should stop trying to pit us against one another. I believe the "divide and conquer" and "attack your opponents' morality/character" strategy has tainted too many elections, and has lowered the level of discourse: "Nana-na-boo-boo, wa-wa-wa!"

I believe that the United States of America has a place on the world stage. I believe that the alleged "last remaining superpower" is of privilege and therefore has responsibilities toward the rest of the world. I believe that the damage done in the last 8 years to our international relationships, credibility, and perceived integrity as a nation is not only a national security concern, but a tremendous waste of our good reputation that has been bought with the blood of American soldiers.

I believe that it is time we had a president that will not mock straight-A students, who speaks intellectually as if education and tact is important.

I believe that this Barack Obama guy is the real deal. A once-in-several-generations type transformational leader. I believe that the message of hope and change is in and of itself important right now.

I believe I am more tired now than I was when I wrote that post about being tired last night...
I am sad about Barack's grandmother dying today. Sad that she did not live to see tomorrow. Sad that even though he may bring it home for her, he doesn't get to bring it home to her.

We'll see what happens tomorrow...


tricia said...

Tracey - No one could have said any of this better. Your comments are moving, truthful and totally right on target. I couldn't agree more and thank you for saying it perfectly. I am nervous and excited and thankful that this day has come. It is long overdue. Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying exactly what I am thinking. XOXO Tricia

Dr. Brokeback said...

I may be a week behind on your blog, but I am moved by everything that you said in this post. What a clear, well-thought-out list of arguments. I am very excited about the outcome of the election but am still a little sad because I think people tend to vote with only their own interests in mind. I believe it is not the motivation of voters but only a by-product of their selfishness that will allow us to have increased funding for social programs and science as well as a coherent foreign policy. I wish I had more faith in the American people. I'm glad you exist, though, and I'm with you. In the words of my father, "You can call me crazy, but I love to pay taxes."