Saturday, November 08, 2008

What a week! The election, first snow, etc.

For what it's worth, my first snow of the season came here in the north of Iowa overnight Thursday-Friday following several days of shirt-sleeve weather and continued off and on for most of Friday and again overnight. Much of it disappeared, but this morning there's snow in the grass and windshields are covered. I say "my" first snow because it snowed up here a week or so ago when I was elsewhere, and I'm not at all sorry to have missed it.

Obviously, I was delighted with the outcome of Tuesday's election --- Barack Obama as president-elect, a wider Democrat margin in both Congress and the Iowa Legislature --- but didn't have much time to celebrate. After the usual election night madness in the newsroom came the three consecutive 12-hour days at the office needed to produce an annual complicated fall report for one of North Iowa's most worthy non-profits. It's been the kind of week that wears on a person.

Watching Barack and Michelle Obama and their two daughters come onstage in Chicago after Tuesday night's victory was an awesome experience --- realizing that the next occupants of the White House, built in part by slave labor, will be a black family. Just think of it. What a triumph for the Obamas --- and for the rest of us, too; a triumph that has little to do with politics.

I suspect Obama will take very seriously his commission to be president of us all, so don't expect anything resembling a campaign to implement a "liberal agenda," however that might be defined. I do want to thank those folks news reports tell us are running out to buy guns in anticipation of strict control legislation for boosting the economy, but doubt they have much to fear. Working to solve our economic dilemma is going to be a full-time job, plus.

I still like John McCain and appreciated his concession speech, but do think Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential candidate was a factor in the scale of the Obama victory. It's always useful to remember, however, that none of this was her fault. She was chosen by cold-blooded GOP strategists for cold-blooded reasons, and neither mocking from the liberal front nor scorn from the conservative front is justified. Perhaps she'll be back one day with more experience and more knowledge and we can judge her on her own merits then rather than on those imposed upon her.

Proposition 8, which defines marriage as a state-sanctioned relationship between a male and a female, became part of California's constitution, something that's causing a good deal of distress for my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters there and elsewhere. Similar measures were passed in other states. None of this is surprising, although many in laid-back California apparently were surprised.

A coalition of conservative Christians is claiming, with justification, credit for the success of the amendment. They were perfectly within their rights to do that, and that reinforces some useful lessons.

I always try to remember, sitting in church on Sunday mornings, that my presence there is conditional and that institutional Christianity is not my friend, although individual Christians may be and the guy after whom the institution is named most certainly is. Never hurts to remember that --- especially the last part.

I also found it interesting that three state measures to limit or disable access to abortion, including a parental-consent measure in California, were soundly defeated.

One way of looking at the culture wars on the election front might be to conclude that heterosexuals, having botched marriage pretty badly over the years, need those constitutional reassurances so they can feel better about themselves before going out to produce offspring willy-nilly without benefit of the institution, practice serial polygamy (divorcing inconvenient spouses at a rate approaching 50 percent) when they do marry and aborting at will the usual product of heterosexual coupling.

I say give us queers a chance. We couldn't possibly make more of a mockery of marriage than straight folks already have.

No comments: