Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Night at Grant Park in Chicago

My partner, Martha, and I were there at Grant Park last night. It was an amazing experience to be with so many people, like us, who had felt that we were alone for many years in this country. It was a crowd of immense size, but immense diversity, solidarity and compassion. Young and old, all economic backgrounds, and all of the different hues of the human race. We had been marginalized because of our mature, nuanced love for the ideals of America, beyond the shallow self-proclaimed "values" that glossed over the old standards of racism, exclusivity, intolerance, sexism and greed. The wheels had come off of America for us. And now, they are being restored.

I do not know how someone can think of themselves as an American and yet be racist or sexist, or think that it is appropriate to hate people because they are gay, atheist, Hispanic, Muslim, highly educated or any other demographic category. This is unfathomable to so many of us, but we realize that these threads were once dominant in this nation, despite the ideals of our democracy, despite the herculean efforts of our founders, and we respect the efforts of people to "tolerate" or "respect" others as steps toward embracing all Americans as valuable and equal. All that we ask is that people recognize that there is not just one "right" way to live, and that those who preach hate and intolerance are most certainly not on God's side.

So, hope begins anew. This is a time for celebration, indeed, but what I feel most is that sigh of relief, that sense of peace when we know that we've been lost in a strange land, but we find the right map, and we see where we are, and we know where we need to go. To many of us, for the first time in 8 years, America has refound its bearings.

Congratulations to America!