I’ve been kind of bogged down in other things during this most recent election, but I’ve been watching the news from Virginia, New Jersey, New York and — yes — Maine. I’m still mulling over Maine, and recovering from yet another election night when I went to bed hopeful and awoke to find those hopes dashed.
I’ve been out of the marriage debate for the past year or so. The disappointment of proposition 8 coupled with the political minefield that was the post-mortem on that, and stepping on a few of those mines myself, I decided to disengage from the discussion for the most part. I’m still figuring out how to talk about marriage equality and avoid saying things that are apparently unsayable, and thus avoid being attacked for saying them.
That said, I may have something to say about Maine and marriage later. In the meantime, though I don’t often read DailyKos anymore, I did today and I find myself agreeing with Kos about the lessons Democrats should learn from this election.
There will be much number-crunching tomorrow, but preliminary numbers (at least in Virginia) show that GOP turnout remained the same as last year, but Democratic turnout collapsed. This is a base problem, and this is what Democrats better take from tonight:
1. If you abandon Democratic principles in a bid for unnecessary “bipartisanship”, you will lose votes.
2. If you water down reform in favor of Blue Dogs and their corporate benefactors, you will lose votes.
3. If you forget why you were elected — health care, financial services, energy policy and immigration reform — you will lose votes.
Tonight proved conclusively that we’re not going to turn out just because you have a (D) next to your name, or because Obama tells us to. We’ll turn out if we feel it’s worth our time and effort to vote, and we’ll work hard to make sure others turn out if you inspire us with bold and decisive action.
It’s a bit odd to hear that so many years after hearing at YearlyKos (as it was called then) the pragmatic case for supporting Democrats who were somewhat less than progressive on some issues. Now, Kos is basically saying of progressive what I said of GLBT activists who are part of the Democratic base.
So, why do we accept less than full support for equality from our supposed allies? Why do we pour our time and energy, essentially, into supporting an agenda that raises everyone’s boat except ours, because ours is relegated to a different channel?
Why should we?
…The day will come when equality is a reality. The day will come when everyone’s civil rights are protected.
The day will come because we will work for it as passionately has we always have.
But that will only come after the day comes that we are for ourselves, when we are for each other, and when our friends are those who are for us and not merely asking us to be for them.
The arc of the moral universe may be long, and it may bend towards justice. But only if — and only because — millions of hands bend it in that direction for all of us.
If you want my support, roll up your sleeves and help us bend that arc closer to justice.
Don’t take my support for granted. Don’t assume that you can have it for nothing. Give me a reason to vote for you. I have plenty of reasons not to vote for the other guy. Don’t expect me to vote for you just because your not the other guy. Give me a reason to vote for you. Show me what you’ve done, tell me what you’re going to do, and then follow through. Give me a reason to vote for you, and phonebank for you, and fundraise for you, and do lit-drops for you, and wave signs for you, etc. Give me a reason to show up for you, by showing up for me. Give me reason to work for you by working for me, and my family, and my community.
Give me a real reason, one that I can see with my eyes and maybe even touch with my hands or at least see at work in my community.