Hello America, I missed you
As we walked back toward Mass Ave to catch the bus last night, fresh from the euphoria of my friend Josef's election-night party, I thought about how fortunate we are to be here, now.
We cheered, we screamed, we sang the national anthem at the top of our lungs, popped champagne, and danced. I'm on some stranger's facebook somewhere, at the edge of a crowd of people smiling for what felt like the first time in years. I knew I'd remember, but I wanted to write something down. I'd been following along on Twitter all night, but I didn't know what to say when the good news finally came.
I thought about our friends in California, where Prop 8 looked like it was going to win. Despite how far we've come, it's likely three states are about to write discrimination into their laws or constitutions rather than out of them.
So I picked up my phone and just typed in, "charged." Everyone was excited, yes. I haven't felt electrified by the possibility of change like that in a very long time. But we also haven't automatically won change by changing our leaders. We have won a responsibility to make that change happen.
"Yes we did", we joked to each other, and I emailed to my parents in the morning. But no one actually meant, "yes we can win an election". That's just the starting line. Now, we are charged with making America better. We are charged with protecting the liberties of everyone. I wanted to remember that too.
That's why it matters that we won. Eight years from now, this could be a nation where the whole idea of "banning gay marriage" sounds as antiquated and offensive as segregated schools or not letting women vote. We have the ability to change our culture, nothing more. Mandates don't do that; people do. And yes, we can.