Nachus: Joy and pride and happiness all mixed into one. That’s what I felt when Obama won Ohio, and then Virginia, and then Florida. I was watching key counties, seeing how close it was in Virginia. I thought Fairfax County could swing the state, and it did. I barely got a chance to watch Ohio; the media called it for Obama early!
Florida was another source of nachus. Miami-Dade, Broward, and West Palm Beach Counties were all solid for Obama. The Great Schelp must have worked! Indiana and North Carolina were icing on the cake. All these victories in all these formerly deep red states spoke of a mandate for change, real change. It also told us that more people were willing to vote their hopes than their fears.
I only wish my mother could have lived to see Obama elected. My mother, the Jewish, liberal, democrat. My mother, who—back in the 60s, put a sticker on our front door that said, in essence, “we would welcome a racially-integrated neighborhood.” An historic moment? The first non-white president? My mother would smile and say, “Well, it was about time!”
But my joy and great relief was tainted with the soul-crushing victory of the Religious Right in California. By force of money, lies, and propaganda, they succeeded in taking the marriage rights away from thousands—if not millions—of Californians, relegating them to second-class citizens once again.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: people’s fundamental rights should never, ever, be part of the ballot initiative. What would ballot initiatives have done in the South, before the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education and Congress’ Civil Rights Act of 1964? I wouldn’t have put it past them to try to legalize lynchings back in those days!
All fair minded, compassionate, justice-loving people must continue to fight until our LGBT brothers and sisters have equal rights and equal protections. Californians have failed—52% to 48%—to heed Barack Obama’s call: “we are our brothers’ keepers.”