Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Change Can Happen...or Can It?

Wow. I went to bed at 2am feeling pretty confident about the way that the polls were going and that an Obama victory loomed. Nonetheless when I turned into the radio at around 5am I caught the live victory speech from Obama and found myself once more moved and affected by the greatest speech maker I've ever heard. It was vintage Obama. Thousands continue to gather outside the White House chanting 'yes we can' but they have two months to wait for Obama to move in. Nonetheless, it's hard not to view this election as ground breaking, historic, epoch defining and all the other words that journalists will be pouring out in the coming hours. Early on in his speech Obama made a pretty significant remark as far as this blog is concerned:

"It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in
numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four
hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this
time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and
Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight,
disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we
have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states
and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America".

Gay and straight got a mention and whilst that might be no biggy for us hippie like Europeans, it's a big deal for a President elect of the United States of America. The question is how will he respond to what is surely going to be growing pressure for a social revolution in the USA. That will provoke a continued academic and activist debate around the meaning of being gay, queer, male and female and so on. Sexuality and gender will continue to be ideas that are debated and discussed but there is an additional challenge on global academics, activists and their supporters. As Obama himself said in his speech:
"This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to
make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things

That needs to be turned from rhetoric to reality. Just because Obama won't be implementing the radical right agenda of McCain/Palin on these issues, there has been little indication that he will implement a radical change agenda on gender and sexuality. That needs to change.

As if evidence was needed, the results on Proposition 8 is a source for concern. As I blog the California Secretary of State website shows that 70.2% of precincts have reported. The results so far are yes 52.5% and no 47.5%. It's looking very close and suggests that those who want to outlaw gay marriage at a state constitutional level will win. It's hard to find America changed when on the same night it can remove the right of same sex couples to marry. The results can be viewed here. CNN is reporting that the votes have still to come in from the more conservative parts of California - so it's not looking good.

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Sean Hennelly said...

He is absolutely awe inspiring. I think his arrival will facilitate well needed change in the States, and his character and strength I believe may begin to break down the personal barriers- the attitudes and discriminatory thought that has for so long prevented liberty in the States. However, for the time being I am personally still breathing a sigh of relief that McCain didn't win. Imagine it- he dies and Palin becomes President.... what a frightening world that would be

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