Only 43 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the United States has elected a black man as President.

As is often the case for a trail-blazer, he had to be twice as good as the other candidate for the job.

Progressive candidates also won a number of important victories around the country — they did not sweep the table, and did particularly poorly in South Florida, but won enough nationwide to claim a substantial mandate nonetheless.

I would take even more pleasure from all this were it not tempered by the enshrinement in law of a different bigotry: although not all the votes are counted it seems that Amendment 2 passed in Florida, with more than 62% of the vote (60% was required); similarly, California's Proposition 8 seems to have passed narrowly also. Enshrining discrimination in state constitutions is not what makes a country great.

We will come to regret these votes, and to see them as the same sort of stain as we now know Jim Crow to have been. The only question is when.

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One Response to Snapshot

  1. Jarrett says:

    Re Prop 8 in California, I have a challenge to put to the blogosphere.

    In the context of the passage of California’s Proposition 8, banning gay marriage and potentially unmarrying thousands of couples, look at Obama’s speech on race, and construct a similar speech appropriate to the topic of marriage equality — something that a California leader or potential leader could give that would appeal to people on both sides of the issue and motivate them to be kind and forgiving toward one another.

    I am having trouble imagining this speech, because I am too much on one side of the issue. It may be that no gay person can write this speech, but that a caring straight person can. Who knows? Surprise us.

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