Kate Clinton

Election Day

Filed By Kate Clinton | November 04, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: DOMA, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Election Day, gay rights, Kalamazoo, Maine, polling places, Washington

At 7:30 yesterday morning, we walked to our local polling place in the elementary school, past the "Vote Aqui" signs, past the bake sale moms, the cellophaned chocolate chip Frisbees and into the voting area. The elderly near-sighted, hard-of-hearing, darling polling ladies found our names. We signed the right spaces, went into the booth and voted. I love yanking that riverboat-sized lever that registers my votes. We walked out. It took about five minutes.

Last year we went to vote at 6 a.m., joined the end of a huge, line snaking down the block, dark morning air dotted with puffs of steam from coffee. Inside the packed, bikram muggy voting area, we were sent from one table to the next, stood in more lines and finally voted for Barack Obama. It took about an hour. It was just getting light as we left.

What a year it has been. No doubt you have your own ups and downs for your personal political highlights reel.

When I view my own reel it seems to go into slo-mo on gay issues at first with Rick Warren, DADT and DOMA dallying, but then speeds up with the signing of the Hate Crimes bill and the lifting of the HIV immigration ban. I used the split screen function for economy, environment and education highlights. Obama's got a lot going on. I spliced in a lot of art, music, vegetable garden, and Michelle footage. Lots of Michelle highlights. There's too much quagmire footage.

But mostly I am remembering last Election Day, stomach in knots, approaching-avoiding exit poll news, obsessively cleaning. That night at a friend's house we watched, stunned as Barack Hussein Obama hit the required electoral count and heard the city erupt around us. Today a year after that historic election night, I realize I am happy to be a year into the Obama administration.

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coloredqueer | November 4, 2009 9:55 AM

It is refreshing to see that a gay white icon like Kate this time has NOT attacked Obama for not doing enough on LGBT issues although her analysis does not mention the institutionalized racism that plagues gay institutions even in post Obama period and what Obama has done to help poor people of color including LGBT ones or how LGBT America continues to look white. No, it is not a coincidence that there is not a single LGBT person of color leader in any major gay groups even those claiming to work on diverse issues such as immigration.

White LGBT orgs continue to pursue an agenda that is overwhelmingly white/wealthy with power hoarding among rich, white gays and keeping their good old boy/girl networks intact in Castro, Chelsea, West Hollywood and so on which benefits their own kind.

This mornning with the loss of Maine they are in no position to blame communities of color or President Obama for their own failures.

Not to quibble (since we agree that there's not enough people of color in leadership positions among the major gay orgs), but Darlene Nipper of NGLTF is the 2nd in command and she's African-American. The new leader (I can't remember her name currently but it's late and I'm about to fall asleep) of NBJC is also African-American too. *grins*

Still - there's not enough. But there are people of color in leadership positions within our movement - just not enough.

Michelle Marzullo Michelle Marzullo | November 4, 2009 12:37 PM

Thank you for keeping it all in perspective. It has been a helluva year.

First, I'd like to know how any self-respecting comedian does anything at 7:30 in the morning!

Second, I love the description of the "riverboat-size lever". That really does call it. And when you pull that sucker, you know that you've voted. None of this, 'gee, did it work?' stuff.

Next, you've got the little, old polling place ladies down to a tee. They're the ones who ask if this is the first time you're voting, even if you've been voting for ten years.

Unfortunately (from my perspective), I live in a place where there is no longer any polling place at all. So there are no little 'ol polling place ladies, and no hefty voting mechanisms. Well, truth be told, we didn't having voting machines, hefty or otherwise, at all. Just paper ballots and Number 2 pencils as if we were in the fourth grade.

But the ceremony is gone. No flags. No standing in line. No "I've Voted" stickers. Okay, I never wore the stickers 'cause I thought they looked stupid. But hell, if that was a requirement to bring back in person voting, I'd do it.