Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Americans California Forgot

Obama knows what Californians forgot. From his acceptance speech last night:
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
I actually gasped upon hearing that. Gay? Gay and straight? The forty fourth president of the United States acknowledged that I exist, and that I am an American. I didn't even hear his next few sentences. I just felt so included that nothing else mattered for some moments.

Not even Proposition 8.

Obama opposed Proposition 8, the one that Californians passed last night. The one that, like so many others, defines me as less American than the straight people President-elect Obama also acknowledged. It's desperately sad to me that Obama knows about the American dream - about equality and liberty and the pursuit of happiness - but that the people who elected him don't.

Californians forgot that we're all Americans. Californians, of all people.

Or did they? Going into election day many polls indicated that No on 8 still had a lead. And that means anonymous Californians lied to pollsters. Why would they lie if they're anonymous?  Because they were too ashamed to tell the truth. Californians knew what they were about to do was wrong.

Obama knows that to bouy the country, we must lift all people up. And that to discriminate against any group drags us all down. Part of me thinks that Obama has the power to bring us together. Part of me believes that in time, if he remains persuasive and dedicated to that ideal we will realize, as a people, that to truly prosper we must uplift all Americans.

To do anything less hurts us all. And although on this day I am not a full American, I still have hope.

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