There’s a lot of reasons that this blog could dive headfirst into the “cynical” half of its title and never resurface. There’s the whole “spying on American citizens” thing. There’s the VRA thing. The looming student loan thing. I could go on, but that would merely be unnecessary padding. We all know things suck.
Except that, for today at least, there were a few things in our country that didn’t suck. DOMA is gone. There was Wendy Davis’s epic filibuster in Texas. These are lights in a dark time. These are moments that rekindle that flame of idealism and keep things firmly in balance.
That’s not to say that tomorrow won’t suck; conservatives in Texas are already mustering for round two of the fight. Even the DOMA victory isn’t complete: a complete victory would not have allowed for states to continue to define marriage. A complete victory would be equal rights for citizens of all sexual orientations NOW, end of discussion, if you don’t like it, too fucking bad. That’s still the end goal. You shouldn’t have to go to a specific state to be allowed a right like marriage.
On the other hand, we should be invigorated that something is happening. A woman’s right to make decisions about her body wasn’t abruptly gutted in Texas. Our same-sex marriage seeking friends and family members are one step closer to equality. Most importantly, the message is very different now than it was ten years ago. Ten years ago, we didn’t have a light in the darkness. Ten years ago, we didn’t have much of a reason to be hopeful about anything.
Ten years ago, those fighting for equal marriage rights were doing so largely alone. Allies were few and the general atmosphere was either “don’t talk about it, don’t think about it, pretend it doesn’t exist” or worse “God hates you, you’re an aberrant mutant, stop existing.” We’ve come a long way from that. Granted, we’re still on the road, and no amount of progress will ever make up for the abominable way we’ve treated our fellow men and women just for being themselves. Nothing will ever erase those mistakes we’ve made as a country or recover the lives of those who were destroyed because of prejudice and isolation. We can’t take those things back, no matter how much we wish we could.
All we can do is work to make sure that the damage that’s been done is stopped. All we can do is stand together against prejudice and bigotry. All we can do is prove that, no matter how flawed we are as a species, we are capable of learning from our mistakes and that we’ll never stop trying to make tomorrow better.
And that’s why I think this blog is still worthy of the second half of its name.