In 1963, Bob Dylan wrote a song that I think he first performed publicly the day after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It became an anthem of my youth, just as I entered into my teens.
"Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone..."
Last night, the American People returned Barack Obama to the Presidency.
As I just explained in my last post, I am not an Obama guy.
But I find tears of joy welling up in my eyes nonetheless.
And it isn't because we dodged what I fear was the Romney bullet.
It is because a huge portion of my country rejected fear, which in my view was the hidden power behind Republican positions - the fear of change chief among them.
When Dylan wrote that song, the idea of a black American president was close to ludicrous.
But times have changed.
Last night, at least two states voted to allow gay folks to marry.
One of those states, Maine, can not be called a liberal bastion - its Governor is a Republican. Since 1815, it has had only two US Senators who were Democrats, the last in the 1970's.
When Dylan wrote that song, being publicly identified as homosexual was enough to get one fired and/or evicted from one's home. And killed. I well remember one of the "men's magazines" from those days that my brother kept hidden in his closet, the kind of pulp trash that featured uniformed nazis torturing blond women on its cover, which had a photo expose of the men who visited Fire Island. The pictures, taken at a distance, had the men's faces covered with black squares. Last night, not only was the first openly gay when running for office candidate for US Senator elected, the subject was not an issue in her campaign.
Last night, for the first time I can remember, citizens of at least two different states voted to allow the use of marijuana - and not just for medicinal purposes. If this can become a national movement, we would cut our prison costs and populations dramatically. And that is just a start, but that is a topic for another day.
Last night, the American People stood up to conservative religious bullying and defeated a mindset that holds women to be subservient to men. It is with great happiness that I note that the men who made incredibly ludicrous statements about rape and pregnancy were defeated.
If Obama holds true to his promise to get us out of Afghanistan (and that target date is too far away to suit me) the US will end over a decade of having our armies and our National Guard (who should not have been used for such purposes) entangled in foreign wars.
I could go on, but I have to go off to work, and I think I've made my point.
Last night the people of the United States voted to resume the changes started in the 1960's, when it became important to our people to begin to live up to the fine words and ideals expressed in the opening lines of our Declaration of Independence, that -all- of us are created equal and are endowed with rights. I'm no longer a freshly minted teenager, I'm 62 now. It has been 50 years to get here, far too long. For now, I'm setting aside the pattern of "red versus blue" states and what that means, I'm setting aside the obscene cost of this election and what could have been accomplished with that kind of money. I'm setting aside the frustration I felt yesterday listening to young adults state that they weren't voting or had no time to vote. No, for now, for just a short bit, I'm going to savor those tears welling up in my eyes. And I'll be humming an old Bob Dylan song to myself all day.