As the days turn cooler here in New Mexico, and nights drop below freezing, I cling to thoughts of the beach. The last time I was on the beach was last month. The tide was low, and the sun was sinking, warm on my face and my sister was by my side.
There’s a bulletin board near my house I keep meaning to take a picture of. It’s near the supermarket, and I never have my camera with me when I go grocery shopping. It says “Change is Good” and is advertising Kyle Zimmerman Photography’s move to downtown Albuquerque.
Every time I look at that sign I feel like it’s reminding me that my decision to move to The Duke City was a good one. That I am exactly where I need to be now.
There’s another Change is Good sign over on Carlisle Boulevard, right next to what became Obama Election Central in Albuquerque. Fitting, don’t you think?
Well as we all know by now, change did happen. It may not have been the “change we need” (thank God) but in fact the CHANGE we deserve.
I don’t consider myself to be particularly patriotic. I don’t fly the flag. I couldn’t care less about singing the national anthem (who can hit those high notes anyway?). To me, the most patriotic acts we can perform are voting, free speech, assembling as we see fit… and exercising the rights granted to us by the constitution. That said, I do believe that this is the best county in the world. Sure, some other countries have great things (ancient history, fabulous food, multiple languages, universal healthcare) but the United States is truly the land of opportunity. Barak Obama is the absolute embodiment of that kind of opportunity. I am thrilled with the results of the presidential election. Change is Good.
The cynic in me realizes we won’t have a huge change. We may get small steps in the right direction. I don’t know why all those far right conservatives are so afraid of Barak Obama. He’s not that different than the other politicians in Washington. Except in one big way. His positive vision for the United States, and as far as I have seen, he has conducted himself with grace and dignity. We deserve this kind of change. We actually deserve more.
Today I went to the website for the office of the president-elect, aptly named Change.gov. There was a place there to submit your own story or your own ideas. Now I don’t naively think that Barak Obama is going to read the email I sent. Perhaps some poor student intern will be slogging through all the emails and trying to ascertain which ones of us are kooks. But I may get some sort of automated response. My email may be sorted and stacked with a whole lot of other emails then counted and analyzed and put into a pie chart to show President-Elect Obama. I hope.
On election night I had some friends over for an Election Night Vigil and Chile Party. The vigil didn’t last that long. In fact, it was somewhat anti-climactic. I had memories of the 2000 election that went on for months. I didn’t think this one between That One and McCain would go on that long, but I thought it may last until 11 pm or so. At least until after all the polls closed.
The one issue that was not settled by the end of the evening was Proposition 8, the ballot initiative in California that would actually CHANGE the constitution of the state to specifically deny the rights of same sex couples to marry. And so Wednesday morning came, and the news that the proposition had in fact passed. Seriously that dampened my joy at seeing Obama elected.
And so back to That One’s new website. And my email. Here is what I said:
Given the recent legislative initiatives banning same sex marriage in several states– including a change to the constitution of the state of California to legalize discrimination– I would like to see federal leadership on this issue. It is wrong to deny rights to any segment of our populace. I was dismayed with VP-elect’s answer to the question regarding same sex marriage in the debate. It sounds like we are arguing semantics but really, the issue is more than what we call it. It is an institution that is licensed and recognized by the government, and affords certain responsibilities and privileges to the parties involved. Call it what you like but it ought to be offered to any couple who wants to join and form a family.
For the record, I am not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The fact that California (the state I called home until a couple of months ago) passed Proposition 8 makes me sick, and put a cloud over what should have been a grand night for our nation. I hope President-Elect Obama will take the lead and ensure that ALL citizens are afforded equal rights.
I hope you will join me in voicing your opinion and letting President-Elect Obama’s intern know what your concerns are. Whether you’re scared you’ll have to be working until you die because your 401K and your IRA are in the crapper, or you want the troops out of Iraq, or immigration policy that works…. or your kid gets cancer and you’re worried about hitting the lifetime cap on your healthcare plan.
Change is good, but only if we take full advantage of it.