It’s election day here in the US. I wasn’t going to post anything political, but I’ve been overhearing conversations for the last couple of days that bother me. People saying “Well, my state is so Blue/Red that my vote doesn’t count anyway.”
There is (thank God) no state in the Union so homogeneous that all public officials are from the same party or elected by acclaim. Those smaller races are important too. The judges, the school superintendents, the State House and Senate – they too have a profound impact on the quality of life at the local level.
This year we seem to have so many candidates who are openly anti-LGBT. In my home state of Minnesota we have a politician who ran for presidential candidacy putting her hand over her heart and pledging to God and Nation never to let those LGBT people have equal rights and status. We have major candidates who are not just opposed to gay marriage, but to civil partnerships, gay adoption, work-place protection from discrimination, gays in the military and any other form of social equality and protection.
There are also a host of ballot initiatives in various states that have significant civil rights implications. Often they are worded in misleading or complicated ways. Figure out your position. Vote. Make your voice heard. Whether your vote is enough to tip a balance or not, it counts. A gay marriage amendment that fails by 2% is far more likely to succeed next time, more likely to even be re-proposed, than one that fails by 15%. And if it passes, every added vote is added legitimacy.
For some of you, this election is no doubt difficult, pitting your social conscience with regard to gay rights against your preferences for the economy, the cost of protecting the environment, and other parts of social and economic policy. I wish you all the best in making your choice.
To me, we are at a tipping point for GLBT rights. Just as, fifty years ago, a candidate’s stance on race equality was a measure of their ability to see all Americans as equal, as human and valuable and worthy of fair treatment under the law, so I feel a candidate’s stance on LGBT rights is similar today. If someone feels 5% of Americans don’t deserve to love, to work, to raise children, as the other 95% do, that is prejudice. To me, it does not speak well for their commitment to the rights and well-being of their constituents. If someone can see other humans as “less than” because of a fundamental part of their nature, then I believe they are someone open to treating people unfairly for superficial reasons. That’s not what I want in a leader.
But however you will vote, please, even if it’s hard and you are digging out of last week’s debris and it seems like you won’t make a difference, vote if you can. Our system stands on the idea that it represents the will of the people. Make your will clear.