The Day After

Well, where to begin?

I believe that what we have witnessed is more than a referendum on the incumbent, as this election was often described. It was bigger than that. It was a referendum on America.

Meteor Blades at DailyKos posts a missive encouraging us in our defeat: ‘Don’t Mourn, Organize.’ In part he writes:
Throughout our country’s history, abolitionists, suffragists, union organizers, anti-racists, antiwarriors, civil libertarians, feminists and gay rights activists have challenged the majority of Americans to take off their blinders. Each succeeded one way or another, but not overnight, and certainly not without serious setbacks.
I, regretfully, disagree with him. They have not succeeded. This election was in fact a rejection of all of these ideals. The majority of American voters have decided that the disenfranchisement of voters and the weakening of the separation of church and state are acceptable, and that a woman’s right to choose and equal rights for gays and lesbians are unacceptable. We saw 11 states vote to restrict gay marriage; we saw one state impose a parental consent requirement for abortions; we saw the election of a former KKK member, a doctor who performed sterilizations without his patients’ consent, and a man who believes gays and lesbians should not be allowed to teach, just to mention a few.

I not only feel defeated, I feel defeatist. I've never felt my resolve drain from me the way it has in the last 24 hours. The way that this election wrapped up bigotry ("values") with xenophobia and American imperialism has made clear that the rejection of globalism and the rejection of social progressiveness have become inextricably linked. For many people, being anti-gay and anti-UN are sister issues now, because somehow the international community represents to them the embrace of a cultural egalitarianism that they loathe.

Even people who voted for Kerry voted for the anti-gay propositions. He won Oregon, but they passed anti-gay legislation, too. And in states where he lost, the numbers of those who voted for anti-gay legislation were higher than they were for Bush, meaning that lots of Kerry voters voted for them, too. I'm not convinced that the chokehold of religion and the resultant self-righteousness, wrapped up in this weird isolationist nationalism, can be overcome by reason. It feels as though I’m standing on the beach watching the tsunami head for shore.

There are lots of Lefties out there who are wondering to which country they can move. As someone with the opportunity to move abroad much more easily than most, that seems a very attractive option at the moment. There are also lots of Lefties who are resolved to keep on fighting the good fight. I want to be one of them, but I feel crippled with despair over this election.

Perhaps I will feel better tomorrow. Perhaps then I will feel more hopeful.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus