News travels fast these days. Even on the other side of the world in the middle of the ocean we're getting live updates on the election via satellite TV (Fox news only unfortunately) and Internet. But my happiness about Obama's victory and the Dems solidifying their hold on Congress is dampened by the fact that all over the country ballot measures are passing that deny gay people the right to marry. I particularly mourn for my dear friends Derek and Gary who were married just a few weeks ago in a beautiful ceremony that brought tears to my eyes. If, as seems likely at the moment, California's Proposition 8 passes their legal status will be thrown into limbo.
There is some good news for the long term: those who would relegate gays to second-class citizenship tend to be older, so chances are good that this injustice will right itself in the fullness of time. But it will take years, and that's a shame. And the stain of dishonor that this will leave alongside slavery and Jim Crow will never be washed away.
I do note with some relief that anti-abortion measures are failing across the country, including a resounding defeat in Colorado for a measure that would have defined a fetus as a person from the moment of conception. So on balance there is more to celebrate than to mourn this day. But the work of digging ourselves out of the hole we have dug ourselves into over the last eight years is not over. Indeed it has barely begun. And the next election is just two short years away. I fervently hope that the Democrats don't make the same mistake that the Republicans made after their victories in 1994 and 2000: overreaching, tolerating corruption, and putting ideology ahead of sound policy. I am optimistic, but I wouldn't bet my entire life savings on it.