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Not So Nervous about the Presidential Election Tomorrow

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Not So Nervous about the Presidential Election Tomorrow

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Tomorrow is the presidential election. World, breathe a sigh of relief; our years-long election cycle will again grind to a close. Of course, it will start up again soon enough.

I am not so worried about the presidential election tomorrow. Oh, I am fervently in support of Obama, for a variety of reasons that I'm not going to enumerate here. Tomorrow's a big day here on ol' Maryland, though. Tomorrow, we vote on a ballot measure, Question 6, that if passed, will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Anyone who's known me for even a little while knows that this is a HUGE issue for me--yes, so huge that I am willing to overuse HTML markup and abuse caps lock to make my point! I don't follow polls because they tend to get me worked up for no good reason (since I can hardly change their outcome by myself), but I asked Bobby what the prognostication was for Question 6, and he said it's very close.

It's personal and emotional to me because my sister is gay. If Question 6 passes, it won't really change her situation, personally, since her wife is not a U.S. citizen and, therefore, they need federal law to change too in order to be able to live here. (I don't even know that they'd make that choice, but it would be nice for them to actually have a choice.) In terms of our family, then, it's more a symbolic victory than anything, but it does have very real positive consequences for other people I care about, including one of my dearest friends and his husband, who have been in a committed relationship for over 25 years and yet still lack even basic rights as a couple.

From a less personal perspective, I have very mixed feelings. Not about my support for the measure but about the fact that I'm even called upon to support it. I find it deeply, deeply disturbing that people are so quick to accept that a majority can vote upon the rights of a minority. We are all minorities in some way. That makes us all vulnerable to the whims and bigotry of the masses. Even if one supports the measure, why would one support such a precedent?

Of course, there's the religious angle. I'm not Christian. Never have been and am going out on a limb to say that I never will be. I resent being governed by another person's religious beliefs. I don't presume that others should be governed by mine. And the same Christians who are out there screeching to "Vote Against 6! Don't Redefine Marriage!" are the same who bleat about being persecuted. I'm trying very hard to remember that these idiots are still people and to not be hateful right now. *trying trying trying ...*

So tomorrow, I'll of course be watching the presidential outcome, but I'll be right and truly nervous about Question 6.

Bobby is experiencing something of a renaissance in terms of his political involvement. His undergrad degree is in political science, so he was always very well-informed and involved in the political process, much more than I was (although I also like to think of myself as informed, and I've voted every chance I've had since turning 18.) A few years ago, when we started shifting our lifestyle to be simpler and more sustainable, he was experiencing an extreme disenchantment, to the point that he was talking about not voting. Not voting!! That was sacrilege to me! I remember not knowing quite how to respond. His point, at the time, was that he could make more of a difference through personal action, leading by example, and educating others who wish to be educated than he could be participating in politics. To a point, I agreed and agree with him, but I didn't (and don't) think that extends to voting, which I do regard as a basic responsibility, nor do I think the two need be mutually exclusive. It was a point of significant difference, though, and I know myself well enough to know that it would have become a point of contention if it had extended to this point, where we're about to vote again. Luckily, it didn't; Bobby's experienced a resurgence of interest in politics to the point of becoming involved with the Carroll County Democrats. Tonight, he went to the Democratic headquarters down in Westminster, hung out, picked up a bunch of signs, and we put them up at the high school, which is a polling place. I didn't go to the headquarters with him because I had schoolwork to do and wasn't feeling very sociable besides, but I did venture out into the near-freezing night to poke the signs into the ground around the entrance to the polling place. I put in the sign in support of Question 6. It was worth the frozen fingers. Tomorrow, we'll go back after the polls close and yoimp them back out of the ground. Then there's a party at the Democratic headquarters that I should be more in the mood for when I've had the whole day by myself.

Speaking of Bobby, today is our eighth wedding anniversary. We tend to celebrate the anniversary of when we started dating, since our wedding was more a formality than anything, but we have always managed to remember--usually at the last minute--our wedding anniversary. Today was a professional development day at work, so the kids weren't there (schools are closed tomorrow, of course, for Election Day), meaning we could go out for a real lunch. (Most days, we have one 45-minute period free together, which limits our lunch choices to places that are both very local and very quick.) We went to the Trolley Stop down in Ellicott City, which was especially appropriate, since this was the first place we lived together and we were married at the courthouse there. The restaurant is in an ancient building and it kinda looks like a dump on the inside, but the food is amazingly good and quite inexpensive. We used to eat there about once per week when we lived in Ellicott City.

My grad school semester has officially started back up as of today. This semester, I'm taking an eight-week course (Antiquity and the Medieval World) and a sixteen-week course (History of Religion). This is my first time doubling up since I started teaching, so I'm a little nervous about that, but both classes look interesting and manageable, and I've got a good lead still on lesson planning. I've started reading for both, of course, as I am not called Hermione by my husband without reason.

One last thought before I go flop downstairs and watch something vapid (or not) with Bobby. We might get our first snowfall on Wednesday night into Thursday. (We got snow showers on the tail end of Sandy, but nothing stuck on the ground.) The current predication is for 6 to 8 inches, which would definitely take us out of school for another day. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever get my kids back on track before we go on Thanksgiving break.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/305799.html
  • This semester, I'm taking an eight-week course (Antiquity and the Medieval World)

    Fascinating. I had a question about that tonight.

    I find it so weird that I live in a country, in this day and age, that would even have to worry about someone like Mitt Romney being elected president. It staggers the imagination.
    • I know. Some of the issues that are seen even worthy of debate these days blow my mind. How can we even be devoting any time or attention to an issue that can't be argued without leaning on religious-based morality? And how can it not be frightening to anyone--Christian, conservative, fundamentalist, or otherwise--that another person's religion can be invoked to deny you your rights?

      The women's issues, of course, floor me too. The fact that we're arguing about whether women have the right to birth control or an abortion after a rape in the year 2012 seems almost Twilight Zone at times.

      What was the question?
      • For my Yuletide fic, I was wondering to what degree I might be able to put classical references into the mouths of the nobility in the late 1300s. I found an answer to my question by locating references to classic mythology in the Roman de la rose written and widely circulated among the literate in France and England before the time of the piece I was writing.
  • I love elections and the excitement of it. I am watching some local measures pretty closely here too. We would like our pools back.. Stuff like that. I love this process we go through.
    • We have a lot of big ballot measures in Maryland this time around too. Question 6, of course, but also expansion of legal gambling and the state DREAM Act. The fundies are frothing over all of them. Gays! Sin! Brown people! *headsplode*

      I get too anxious if I follow it too closely, so I tend to read enough to stay informed and really don't look at polls at all. (The handwringing over the Obama-Romney "draw" has me particularly annoyed, since Obama has maintained a clear lead in electoral votes; it's such an obvious ploy to sell papers, get page clicks, and frighten liberals into making donations.)
  • Never have been and am going out on a limb to say that I never will be. I resent being governed by another person's religious beliefs.

    It's also about the separation between church and state, and that's really what gets on my nerves. Unfortunately politicians, particularly the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader, are pandering to those views because they don't want to alienate the religious side of politics. And that is not fair because gay people shouldn't not have the option to marry - it's a decision that affects them, and them alone, and they should have the final say, not conservatives who won't be harmed, anyway.

    My contention is against the church/other religious organisations deciding what is good for the state. The state sanctions funding to religion-based private schools, for example (those schools are exempt from the Anti-Discrimination Act, for heaven's sake!). I realise that it's clearly not that simple in practice, and of course the politicians who run our country/state/district can't help but flavour their decisions with personal views. But I think that government needs to get its finger out of that particular pie, at least.

    ETA: Oh, wait, they can't ban political parties. A pity, really. Just this once I wish they could tell Fred Nile and his ilk to get the hell out of our Parliament, but... yeah, that sort of undermines the fundamental principle of democracy.

    Then again, Australia voted in an atheist PM, so there's still hope :) As I said, complicated in practice. And I absolutely agree with you that this is a much bigger issue than it needs to be.

    tl;dr I don't like religious schools

    Edited at 2012-11-06 06:08 am (UTC)
    • It's also about the separation between church and state, and that's really what gets on my nerves.

      Over here, some conservatives will argue that the Founding Fathers never actually intended that, being as the language itself "separation of church and state" doesn't appear in our Constitution proper but in The Federalist Papers, so clearly the framers--some of whom weren't even Christians--intended this to be a "Christian nation." (There is the gnat in the ointment of the Establishment Clause in the Constitution--"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"--but that tends to get conveniently overlooked, as though if "separation of church and state" itself doesn't appear, then anything with regards to government sanction of religion is void.)

      But these are the kinds of boneheaded arguments that distract from real progress on real issues over here.

      they don't want to alienate the religious side of politics.

      Sounds familiar. By some estimates, evangelicals constitute 33% of the U.S., which is itself a really scary number, imo.

      Legality aside, it just blows my mind that anyone would want government based on religion. Even different denominations of Christians can't agree on the correct interpretation of the Bible, so it seems pretty cocksure to assume that one's own religion will be the engine of the law.
      • Legality aside, it just blows my mind that anyone would want government based on religion. Even different denominations of Christians can't agree on the correct interpretation of the Bible, so it seems pretty cocksure to assume that one's own religion will be the engine of the law.

        Yes, this. Religion is a shifting kraken of a thing, with so much cultural baggage (to mix my metaphors) attached to it that it can't be impartial in governing, or act in the best interests of the people. Religious government in itself prioritises one religion over another.
  • *fingers crossed for victory of reason*
  • I hope you get a good outcome on that ballot measure. I can't tell you how infuriated I was when my state ended up banning same-sex marriage, and it doesn't even affect me personally. (That's exactly what blows my mind, too; I've yet to see what two men getting married has to do with me or my marriage, and no one has ever adequately explained why my opinion on their decision should be important.)

    We tend to celebrate the anniversary of when we started dating, since our wedding was more a formality than anything

    This sounds so much like me and my husband, but we tend to remember both dates so we can use them as an excuse to go out to nice restaurants!

    Both of those classes sound interesting. I hope they're light enough no to cause stress.
    • I've yet to see what two men getting married has to do with me or my marriage

      Yes, exactly! My sister made a really great post on Facebook; I doubt it's public, so I won't repost it here unless she says it's okay, but part of it hinged on the fact that she and her wife have been married for six years now and have managed, in that time, not to cause the marriages of any of their family, friends, or acquaintances to explode through contact with their gayness. I'm not sure what is meant by the common conservative cry to "protect marriage." From what? Wouldn't that involve outlawing divorce? (Oh but too many of them have gotten divorced so we can't have that.) I fail to see how allowing my gay friends to jointly file taxes and purchase a health insurance plan for couples undermines my and my husband's ability to do the same.

      Both of those classes sound interesting. I hope they're light enough no to cause stress.

      I always make them a little stressful through my perfectionist tendencies! :D But reviewing the syllabi, I didn't see anything that made me weak-kneed with dread and quite a few things that made me think, "Oh! That'll be fun." :)
  • Good luck - with BOTH elections!

    (From a Lutheran Christian! But we're fortunate in that our church goes "Since Jesus wasn't married, marriage is not the church's business, let the state take care of that and we'll just mete out blessings on request"... Of course, our state still refuses to give same-sex couples the exact same status as traditional couples. But at least the same-sex "registered couples" can get a wedding service in a Lutheran church, if they so desire... :P)
    • "Since Jesus wasn't married, marriage is not the church's business, let the state take care of that and we'll just mete out blessings on request"

      I've never even heard that argument made over here, even by the liberal Christian churches that do advocate for marriage equality. (To be fair, it's not like I spend a lot of time in Christian churches. :D) I support individual churches/denominations' right not to perform marriages that they feel are not in keeping with their faith but fail to see how that faith has any bearing on whether the government legally recognizes a committed couple. The church is protected from heathens like me, and heathens like me are protected from the church. Win-win, no? ;)
      • I've never even heard that argument made over here, even by the liberal Christian churches that do advocate for marriage equality.

        I didn't hear it until I researched stuff for my own wedding service, either. It's kind of specialised knowledge. But yes, literally, Luther decided that "Marriage is a worldly business" (because the Bible says nothing about Jesus being married).
        The Catholic church would disagree - for them, marriage is a sacrament, so in fact, they technically don't recognise any marriage that wasn't made in a Catholic church or at least got a dispensation. Which also tends to get overlooked!

        [I] fail to see how that faith has any bearing on whether the government legally recognizes a committed couple

        It shouldn't have any bearing on it at all! Unfortunately, in many countries, the churches are still calling the shots (or trying to). Probably hard to break that habit. Crossing my fingers that your state (and the other three) will pass this amendment!

  • Your state and mine are one of four facing the marriage amendment. It's neck in neck everywhere. My cousin is lesbian and I have always taken equal rights very personally. I hope the measure passes in both of our states as well as in the other two. Fingers crossed.

    - Erulisse (one L)
    • Equal rights are something I've always supported, but it does hit closer to home when it's your own family member or close friend. Having deeply loved someone, and seeing my sister forced to choose between moving to a foreign country or not being with the person she loved was disturbing to me and makes me have untoward thoughts about conservatives who claim to be "defending the family" after tearing apart ours, like ours doesn't matter because one of us happens to be gay.

      Here's to all four states passing marriage equality! I still don't think that it's a question that should've ever been raised, but if it was, I vote for the opportunity to silence the haters. :)
      • Unfortunately the vote split in my house. My husband, although he is not homophobic, is a strong believer in the nuclear family viewpoint of one mother, one father and children and having those parents be of opposite sexes. I suspect it's his Catholic upbringing which truly moves into the bloodstream like a parasite.

        I learned a long time ago not to discuss certain topics with him, just resign myself to the knowledge that I usually counter almost every vote he makes. It really is a miracle that we've been together since 1977. Without killing each other. LOL

        Here's fingers crossed for equal marriage rights passage in all four states!!!

        - Erulisse (one L)
        • although he is not homophobic, is a strong believer in the nuclear family

          I have a really hard time wrapping my brain around that. And, of course, I don't expect you to defend a perspective that isn't yours. But I hear things like this, and I can't help but think, that's all well and good to have this notion of some 1950s utopian la-la-land, but in the meantime, views like that are doing actual harm to my family. I don't see my sister but maybe once per year now, if I'm lucky, at a cost of thousands of dollars each time we do. We've weathered multiple family crises now on both sides of the pond where we've needed to be there for each other and can't be. I think this issue sometimes gets distorted into a clash of philosophies, but for those of us who are actually part of families that contain same-sex marriage, it's not. We can't take proper care of or support each other so that someone whose life would change not one whit if, say, my sister and her wife were recognized as such over here can maintain some pure philosophical idea of "family."

          Again, I recognize that this is not your view and appreciate your support of marriage equality, but opinions like this really upset me.
          • I don't disagree with you, and his viewpoint bothers me a great deal, but I'm also not into beating a dead horse. There are, quite obviously, many things about my husband that I dearly love or I wouldn't have stayed with him for more than 35 years.

            I am a died-in-the-wool liberal pagan, he is a staunch conservative ex-Catholic. It's just the way that we are. We have much more in common than things that are different, and we just walk our own political and religious roads and try not to rock the other person's boat too much. Sometimes the battle is simply not worth the ammunition.

            As for your sister, I don't know her particular situation, but I certainly know many lesbians and gay men who have intersected my life, many of whom I consider dear friends. They still live in this country for whatever reason. Your sister does not, but I'm sure that many factors went into her decision, her sexuality being only one aspect.

            My cousin lives in North Carolina with her companion of more than 25 years. They are married in everything but name and I wish that they were able to take that additional step. Hopefully the measure will pass in the four states today and we will all be one step closer to legal recognition and rights for gay and lesbian couples in all 50 states within my lifetime and yours.

            - Erulisse (one L)
            • Your sister does not, but I'm sure that many factors went into her decision, her sexuality being only one aspect.

              . . .

              Well. Her wife is a British citizen, so no, she doesn't have a choice to live in this country, unless she makes the choice to leave the person she loves. Is that a choice, really?

              So I am not inflating the impact this issue has on my family for the sake of drama or winning people to "my side" via emotional appeal. We have faced life-threatening emergencies where we could not be together because of bigoted, homophobic people who think that their religion or their values matter more than her rights as a citizen or our family's right to be whole. Sorry, I'm calling it as I see it. Saying someone who opposes marriage equality isn't homophobic is like saying, "I'm not a racist; I just don't want them going to school with my kids."

              Until federal laws blocking recognition of same-sex couples are repealed, and more humane laws take their place, then this is reality for our family. As I noted in my post, Question 6 would be only a symbolic victory for our family, for this reason. But it is an important one, nonetheless, I think, because it shows the erosion of homophobia and lets in a glimmer of hope that, especially if Obama wins a second term, then there is hope for our family.
  • voting, which I do regard as a basic responsibility

    I remind myself that people have died in fights for the right to vote.

    Here's hoping that Maryland will vote yes on Question 6.
    • And in many places in the world, people are still fighting and dying for that right. So it's something I likewise have trouble treating lightly. I'm glad it was a very short phase for Bobby--and one that didn't coincide with any elections. (He's off driving elderly people to the polls now.)
  • Happy anniversary!

    Will keep my fingers crossed for 6. It is indeed bizarre that these matters are still in such contention in the 21st fricking century. Of all facets of the issue, the thing I have the hardest time wrapping my head around is how anyone could consider actual love to be a bad thing; the world is hateful enough already, so IMHO any real and abiding love between any people can only be a good thing.

    Edited at 2012-11-06 05:48 pm (UTC)
    • Great minds! Here is part of what I posted on Facebook yesterday:

      I ask you to support my family's right to be whole, as other families are allowed to be. I ask you to use your vote to say loud and clear that, in a world fraught with as many problems as ours, our efforts should not turn toward denying others equal rights. I ask you to use your vote to avow that, in a world where violence and hurt and hate are the norm, we should not make moral and legislative priorities anything that obstructs love and family.


      I have a lot of trouble understanding how, with the number of big problems we're facing as a nation and a world, people think that protesting the right to marry for two consenting adults who love each other.
  • IMO voting is not a right or an obligation but a privilege that allows us once every so many years to participate in the decision of how the country will be run. Here voting is compulsory but there have been times (late 90s) when people (especially the younger) tried to find excuses and loopholes that would allow them to not vote. I got very pissed off because, as Pandemonium says, people have died to obtain the right to vote. Here. My generation.

    Because Argentina is a very peculiar country, gay marriage was passed by Congress about three years ago with relatively little fuss. I suppose it is because though most people will say that they're Catholic, few are practicing and most think that religion has little to do with political decisions. And no, the number of marriages didn't plummet or some kind apocalyptic social disintegration didn't happen- as it was to be expected! The more muted point of contention is adoption: single people can adopt kids, same-sex couples can't, so the family courts have to rule. So: good luck on Question 6!

    Happy anniversary!
    • people (especially the younger) tried to find excuses and loopholes that would allow them to not vote

      That seems a very odd way to spend one's time, unless voting is terribly onerous! It took us about 15 minutes today. And we got stickers! :)

      We also have a lot of apathy among our younger generation. Whereas I couldn't wait to turn 18 and registered as soon as I was legally allowed to do so.

      Because Argentina is a very peculiar country, gay marriage was passed by Congress about three years ago with relatively little fuss.

      That's really interesting. Here, of course, we have "separation of church and state," no national religion, etc., yet it seems that, among Western nations, we are increasingly bound up by attempts to pass laws that are religiously motivated. And one of the groups consistently at the fore of that? The Catholic Church. :^| Maybe we can send them to y'all and they can see how it can be done?
  • I hope Question 6 passes!

    I voted. No sticker, though. Like you, I registered as soon as possible after I turned 18. And even disenchanted with politics as I am now (to the point where I'm not up on the issues like I should be), I've never considered not voting. I'm a military brat; how could I waste peoples' sacrifices?

    Happy anniversary!
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