Floating and gloating, post-election
by Sally Sheklow
Excuse me for getting all political-y on you, but I can’t resist. Like millions of people around the world, I am totally jazzed about the election results. We got Barack Obama (two words I had to stop just now to teach my spell-checker to recognize). Oregonians chose Jeff Merkley and ousted our two-faced, OCA-supporting Sen. Gordon Smith. Good riddance. Lane County now has Commissioner Rob Handy, and our wonderful little city of Eugene reelected our everybody-deserves-to-feel-safe-and-respected Mayor Kitty Piercy. I have no experience with elections where every candidate I voted for won. Yay!
As I’m writing this the verdict’s still out, but we’re waiting to see if the U.S. Senate gets Franken in Minnesota and Martin in Georgia. That 60-seat filibuster-proof Democratic majority could allow our country to move forward at long freaking last. Jobs, health care, withdrawal from Iraq, diplomacy, industry re-regulation, stem-cell research, fair trials for Guantánamo detainees, green energy and the end of don’t-ask-don’t-tell, here we come.
Of course, there’s that one nasty little fly in the ointment of California’s Prop. 8 anti-gay marriage initiative passing. But what an uprising! Protests in 300 cities. A million demonstrators rallying for equality. It’s far from over. The possibility of the U.S. enacting full equality under the law and an end to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are suddenly really and truly within reach. Inevitable, even.
All this is fabulous news, much of it delivered and analyzed by “my new girlfriend,” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Rhodes scholar out Jewish dyke news commentator. Imagine, someone in TV newsland I can actually admire and respect. Gotta love it. She lifts my spirits. Hope has been resuscitated. And none too soon.
I’d been losing my grip. My mood became overly serious. My true nature was succumbing to right-wing overload. Not the real me.
Once, decades ago I picked up one of those horoscope matchbooks. Sagittarius — you are jovial, playful, outgoing and upbeat, it said. In those days, that was a right-on description of my freewheeling, group sex, still-on-my-parents’-insurance, happy-go-lucky frame of mind. No doubt I used up all those matches proving the message true.
By the time the ’08 election season rolled around and it looked like a McCain/Palin ticket stood a chance, I went downhill fast. I caught myself frowning more, playing less. As gray hair and wrinkles and mysterious little skin barnacles settled in for the long haul, I shuffled right past jovial. And forget outgoing. The only parties I’d attend were political fundraisers and benefits for social-change organizations and gay-friendly candidates. Even my favorite pastime, working crossword puzzles, lost all semblance of playful. Crosswords became a mere device to keep my brain sharp so I could retain my faculties long enough to witness things turn around in my lifetime, I should only live so long. The outlook wasn’t good. I did a lot of crosswords.
My domestic partner commented on my gloomy attitude. “Lighten up,” I believe is what she said.
“What’s a four-letter word for depressed?” I responded.
I’m better now. I feel, you could say, jovial, playful, outgoing and upbeat. You know I’m not alone. Our political victories are being celebrated all around the world by all kinds of anti-global warming, peace and freedom-loving people — regardless of where their birth date falls on the zodiac.
Still, I have to say, I already have one teensy little disagreement with President-elect Obama. In his glorious and inspirational acceptance speech late on election night, our new commander in chief said, “Now is not the time for gloating.” Obviously, he had to say that because we need to unify as a nation, not pit one faction against another. I get that, and I pledge to try to be civil to any McCain supporters or drill-babies who cross my path.
But come on. Just for now. I am gloating. Can’t help it. We won. Nanner nanner.
Sally Sheklow watches The Rachel Maddow Show with her domestic partner in Eugene.