Democrats haven’t taken
Tuesday’s loss well. I sure haven’t. Bitter.
Sour-grapes. Sore loser. All apply. This loss was palpably
different. I don’t feel upset. Upset doesn’t even begin
to describe it.

Daniel Adams

While I anxiously watched polling data roll in from Ohio, 11
states passed gay marriage bans. Whether or not President Bush won
on the issue of same-sex marriage is moot. What is certain is that
Bush, Cheney and Republicans nationwide supported, funded and
rallied on the message that homosexual couples do not deserve legal
equality with heterosexual couples. Fiscal and social
conservatives, along with a handful of religious Democrats, voted
for these men.

I do not feel upset.

I feel eviscerated. I feel sick. I feel angry.

Saturday, New York Times columnist David Brooks attempted to
confront this rising anger from the Left. “If you want to
understand why Democrats keep losing elections,” he wrote,
“just listen to some coastal and university town liberals
talk about how conformist and intolerant people in Red America are.
It makes you wonder: Why is it that people who are completely
closed-minded talk endlessly about how open-minded they
are?”

As a university-town liberal, let me take a stab at that.

I am open-minded. I believe that homosexual couples have all the
rights that heterosexual couples do. I also believe that the
so-called “Red America” can hate whomever it likes. It
just can’t write that hate into law.

Not surprisingly, most religious conservatives don’t agree
with me. Bush carried majorities in the Protestant, Catholic and
born-again demographics.

Eleven states, including my own, don’t agree with me.
These states passed laws banning gay marriage — all by
comfortable margins.

Bush doesn’t agree with me. He supported these initiatives
and was rewarded with a second term in office.

America, a nation that I thought had distanced itself from the
dark days of state-sponsored discrimination, doesn’t agree
with me.

And I don’t care.

Because when it comes to equality, yes, I am close-minded. In
America, even freedom comes with restriction. Equality under the
law does not. Neither religious belief nor the democratic process
can legitimize any effort to unmake it. Because it isn’t a
give or a bonus; it is a right. It is immutable and unquestionable.
It is apolitical and unconditional. It is a right guaranteed to all
citizens, regardless of sexual orientation. Anyone that voted for
Proposal 2 voted to make American equality conditional on sexual
orientation.

If that makes me close minded, so be it.

Just yesterday, in an interview on Fox News Sunday, Bush advisor
Karl Rove said that Bush would “absolutely” push
Congress to consider a Constitutional amendment banning gay
marriage. He added, “If we want to have a hopeful and decent
society, we ought to aim for the ideal, and the ideal is that
marriage ought to be, and should be, a union of a man and a
woman.” Anyone that voted for Bush, regardless of motivation,
did so in spite of this shameful agenda.

But Republicans aren’t the only people on the wrong side
of history here. Self interested and unprincipled, the Democratic
Party sold out its legacy as the progressive party by appealing to
the Religious Wrong. Rather than take a principled stand, Kerry and
Edwards instead argued that the issue of gay marriage should be
left to the states.

Congratulations fellas, you got your wish.

For the Democrats, the real tragedy wasn’t that they lost,
and lost badly, but rather that they lost without standing up
against the willful and deliberate oppression of a social minority.
If the Democratic Party needs to change, it needs to stand up
— not move toward the center. Don’t rebuild.
Reload.

Stand up.

A gay marriage ban does not belong in this state’s
constitution. Consideration of such a ban does not belong in the
discourse of this nation. I watched television Tuesday night
riveted to talk of the war, electoral vote and exit polls. I woke
up Wednesday morning ashamed of my nation for the first time.

And I will stand up.

This election has convinced me quite clearly that even fiscal
conservatives, a group whose position I used to understand and
tolerate, cannot be expected to do the right thing. To put their
social agenda first. They will vote Republican, even if it happens
to reinforce a policy of hate. They, along with the Right and a
bunch of Democrats in disguise, sold America’s homosexuals
down the river.

News flash to the Religious Wrong: you don’t monopolize
morality in this country, at least not as long as you insist on
fueling your political campaigns with the rights of religious and
social minorities. We do — those who believe that without
equality, no one can be free. And you will lose this fight. History
has put America on the path of progression, and you will lose. If
it isn’t my children, it will be their children. Or their
children’s children. But you will lose. You are on the wrong
side of history.

Brooks calls it “the anger of a drowning man.”
He’s right. Mine isn’t a pleasant disagreement with
those who voted for Proposal 2 and/or George Bush — it is
anger. But we, those who wept Wednesday morning for our nation, are
not drowning.

We are standing.

We are right.

 

Adams can be reached at
“mailto:dnadams@umich.edu”>dnadams@umich.edu.

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