Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hoping the American Right gets its comeuppance today...

It all comes down to the next 12 or so hours and then the most exciting election in recent American memory comes to an end. We all remember the horror of watching George W. Bush claim a second mandate in 2004, despite his lies to the nation and the world about the Iraq war. That 2004 vote was coupled with major victories against same sex marriage in most states, except for Arizona which narrowly voted not to ban equality in its state constitution (unsatisfied, bigots are trying again in that state today). The result was an incredible depression for progressive Americans, who had witnessed their country literally and unapologetically embrace the corrupt Right. It's been glorious watching the Republicans struggle this year against the backlash. They even put up their most "liberal" candidate as their presidential nominee in John McCain, shunning the legacy of the last 8 years to try to eke out a victory. It doesn't look like it's going to be enough to stop the call for change.

With an Obama election, the U.S. has the opportunity to correct the profound mistake that was George W. Bush. The message a Barack victory would send to the world, as many already know well, will have profound historical implications. As John Ibbitson wrote so well in the Globe & Mail on the weekend, Obama has the potential of being one of the greatest presidents the U.S. has ever known. The stars have aligned nicely in this race for this incredible candidate.

But victories in the various referenda also taking place today on the issue of same sex marriage will also have a major impact on the issue of equality across America. The most important vote it seems is in California where thousands of gay couples could see their marriages dissolved if more than 50% back Proposition 8 today. It must be truly horrifying for many to contemplate. Polls have gone both ways on the issue, so it's anybody's guess how tonight with turn out. Similar votes are taking place in Arizona and Florida.

It'll be very bittersweet should Obama prevail across the nation, but voters in these states vote to deny or take away marriage rights from same sex couples. A victory for equality in California and the other states would constitute a major blow against the bigoted Right in the U.S. The sort of depression that set in among progressives following the 2004 U.S. election would likely be transferred over to the American Right in 2008. And how appropriate that would be. It's the result I'll be praying for tonight as I watch CNN.

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