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November 05, 2008

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"No parent ever has to wonder how to have that conversation any more: whether to lie to his child or to take her dreams away before she's had a chance to try to realize them."

While Obama's victory would seem to settle the question of whether a black man can become president in our lifetimes, there's still some question of whether a woman can - or a Muslim, or a gay person, or any of myriad other groups. Sadly, I think the "maybe someday" conversation is still likely to occur in a variety of contexts for quite some time.

We were cheering, too. My neighbors had a dinner party as they had in 2004. We ate and drank while watching the results come in. It was apparent at 10:45 that when the western state polls closed, Obama would go over 270. I did not figure that they would call it at 11:00 and five seconds but when they did, we erupted too. Better than New Years' Eve, better than the Phillies winning the World Series. We won. America won.

And my conservative friends/acquaintances are so bitter this morning. So sad for them...

"No parent ever has to wonder how to have that conversation any more: whether to lie to his child or to take her dreams away before she's had a chance to try to realize them."

Unless that family is Arab, or Muslim, or atheist, or the child turns out to be gay.

"No parent ever has to wonder how to have that conversation any more: whether to lie to his child or to take her dreams away before she's had a chance to try to realize them."

hilzoy, I respect you extremely, but obviously you are forgetting here the parents of gay children.

we have elected a President who teaches Constitutional law.
And a Vice President:
WILMINGTON, Del. -- With Cheney-esque stealth, Biden made a surprise appearance this morning at the Constitutional law class he had been scheduled to teach before his selection as Barack Obama's running mate.

The campaign had not publicly announced Biden's trip to the Widener School of Law this morning.

[...]

Biden has taught the same class, Topics in Constitutional Law, since 1991.

Hilzoy,

I'm very sorry that you did not truly believe in the American ideal that anyone can grow up to be President. The answer for the black parents is and has been "yes," as it is for the parents of girls, gay children, Muslims, hispanics, Arabs, Indians, and others. There are always a lot of ifs that go along with saying someone can be President, and more ifs for some than for others, but this election proves not only that the ideal is true now, but has been true at least since Obama was a child.

hapax: true. I did not mean to. (Actually, what I really meant was more like: 'no black parent ever has to...')

Ideally, no parent ever will have to have that conversation, but yeah, we're not there yet.

From the alarmingly prescient Onion:

As we enter a new era of equality for all people, the election of Barack Obama will decidedly be a milestone in U.S. history, undeniable proof that Americans, when pushed to the very brink, are willing to look past outward appearances and judge a person by the quality of his character and strength of his record. So as long as that person is not a woman.

Or, as a Welsh friend put it: it's so nice to know that in America any millionaire can be President.

But, on a more joyous note:

I went into my usual coffee shop for a latte at lunchtime, and the owner and a regular were happily talking about how wonderful it was - Obama won!

You guys would not believe how many people, all over the world, are going to bed happier tonight because of this.

Thank you all. (I am too tired tonight to lift a glass of wine in your honour, but I plan to do that at the weekend.)

Unless that family is Arab, or Muslim, or atheist, or the child turns out to be gay.

What're you talking about? Obama already ran as a gay Arab Marxist/atheist Muslim! (:

Suddenly, I heard this huge cheer coming from all around me. It wasn't a crowd in the streets, or a visible celebration, though it sounded like one: as though there was a victory parade right outside my windows, on all sides. It was people in a bunch of townhouses reacting to the fact that the networks had called the race for Obama. Everyone was cheering.

Things were predictably quiet as a mouse here in Oklahoma last night.

On the other hand, when Texas Tech scored the go ahead touchdown against Texas last Saturday, I experienced exactly the phenomenon hilzoy describes: you could literally hear the town cheering.

Baltimore and Norman: different priorities!

there's still some question of whether a woman can - or a Muslim, or a gay person, or any of myriad other groups.

Baby steps. It's always baby steps, in this country at least.

At least we're taking baby steps in a better direction.

Thanks -

As one difference becomes acceptible (in this case a black man), it slowly makes all differences more acceptible.

Seriously, what part of "Yes we can" didn't you understand?

I had just gotten home from watching the election returns with friends, and I was checking some results on my computer. Suddenly, I heard this huge cheer coming from all around me. It wasn't a crowd in the streets, or a visible celebration, though it sounded like one: as though there was a victory parade right outside my windows, on all sides. It was people in a bunch of townhouses reacting to the fact that the networks had called the race for Obama. Everyone was cheering. About fifteen minutes later, someone started shooting off fireworks. Horns were honking, people were cheering. It went on for at least an hour.

You should have seen lower Manhattan.

I screamed so much I sound like Charlie Rangel today.

G, yesterday, California voted to enshrine discrimination in their state constitution: to take away the freedom to marry for lesbian and gay Californians, and to refuse to recognize as legal around 18,000 marriages performed between June and November.

(On Monday George Takei and Brad Altman were legally wed: today, their home state and their nation regard them as two single men who happen to share an apartment. If Takei and Altman were to move to the UK, their marriage would be recognised as a civil partnership here: they would have more legal rights in this country than they do in their native land.)

Two other states (Florida and Arkansas) also passed a ban on same-sex marriage today, and a third (Oklahoma) passed a ban on unmarried couples adopting that was targeted at same-sex couples, who are already banned from marrying in Oklahoma.

In the US military, the US will allow LGBT people to die for their country, but not to serve openly and with honour.

Seriously, what part of this don't you understand?

Or, as a Welsh friend put it: it's so nice to know that in America any millionaire can be President.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Obama was a millionaire when he started running. It was the sales of his book put him into the 7-figures.

Or, as a Welsh friend put it: it's so nice to know that in America any millionaire can be President.

That would be a more serious criticism had Obama inherited his money. Given his background, though, it would be more fair to say that in America anyone can become a millionaire and then be elected president.

On Monday George Takei and Brad Altman were legally wed: today, their home state and their nation regard them as two single men who happen to share an apartment.

That's not quite true, or at least it's not obvious right now that it's true. Even before the Supreme Court ruling that allowed gay marriage, California had a domestic partnership law that recognized gay couples as something more than "single men who happen to share an apartment". The wording of Prop 8 says nothing about domestic partnerships. There's no reason to think that their legal status will change- especially since the final authority on the matter will be the same Supreme Court that decided in favor of letting gays marry.

it's so nice to know that in America any millionaire can be President.
Jes, you really need to address your cynicism problem. Yes, we've got problems, but we're making progress. Obama is, I suppose, a millionaire, but both he and his wife came up from nothing on the power of their intellects and the firmness of their dedication, and Obama's only been a millionaire since he started selling books in huge numbers a couple of years ago. Bill Clinton grew up with little more than Obama, was almost broke when he entered the White House, and was left office with a negative net worth, albeit with huge earning potential for the first time in his life.

The California vote sucks, but five years ago it wouldn't have been close, and I hope five years from now it won't be close but in the other direction. Here in Massachusetts, where it's been legal for years, the only people who fulminate against same-sex marriage are rightly seen as the cranks and bigots they are. As someone once said, the arc of history is long, but it curves towards justice.

Well, it took centuries before a non-Italian became pope after Hadran VI. Now we have two of those in succession* and a black African is a real possibility in the future (although likely a reactionary). If those papists can do it and change, America can do it too. Next step: acceptance of evolution (also after the RCC did it) :-)
Rachel Maddow** for president in 2016!

*despite talk after JP2's death that now it would be another 3-400 years with Italians only
**after conversion to Islam and severe tanning ;-)

Roger Moore: California had a domestic partnership law that recognized gay couples as something more than "single men who happen to share an apartment".

But something less than a married couple.

Warren Terra: Jes, you really need to address your cynicism problem.

When it comes to US politics and US self-praise, it is not possible to be too cynical.

A.J.: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Obama was a millionaire when he started running. It was the sales of his book put him into the 7-figures.

If true, that does actually make a difference, yes. ;-)

On the more topical theme of "Random Election Thoughts", Andy Serwer had a really nice http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=11&year=2008&base_name=were_all_americans_now#110678>post href> at TAPPED last night. Here are a couple of paragraphs near the end of the post:

Obama's gift is that he understood America's great secret, that Americans have a deep and abiding need to love one another, and that we only lack the courage to do so. The theme of Obama's campaign has been a simple affirmation that we are in fact, one, in ways Malcolm never could have though possible and in ways Martin Luther King only dreamed of.

Red Staters should take heart in the knowledge that this ideal is not exclusive. Obama's victory does not mean this is no longer your country. It is not the country conservatives believed it was, but it is theirs as much as it is ours. This is a nation of whites, blacks, Asians and Latinos, gay and straight, conservatives and liberals, small towns and coastal metropolises. No passion can ever break our bonds of affection, no matter how often it may seem so. McCain was wrong: this isn't a proud moment for African-Americans. This is a proud moment for America.

Also in the vein of random election-related thoughts, the http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield/yes-we-did-now-what>following href>:

The Field has learned that the Obama campaign is granting its staff organizers "four additional weeks of severance pay, health coverage through the end of the year, every reasonable accommodation to get us employed on the transition team, inauguration team, and in the administration afterward." (More details forthcoming today.)
As we would expect, a classy and a careful organization, from the beginning literally past the end of the campaign. They know their organizers are making sacrifices to work on the campaign, and they also know they need workers who aren't all dilletantes.

BTW, there is actually one very very scary thing we have avoided...If you look at the vote count in Missouri (too close to call) you'll see McCain up by about 6k votes...and that Ralph Nadar has about 18k votes. What if this had come down to Missouri and yet again Nadar had taken defeat from the jaws of victory from the Dems? I think Nadar added value in the 70's but really this is the second time the guy has cost a Democrat a state, he really really needs to think about what he is doing.

Here is link

http://www.sos.mo.gov/enrweb/statewideresults.asp?eid=256

California voted to enshrine discrimination in their state constitution

And a few years before Obama was born, Arkansas amended its constitution to avoid desegregating its public schools. And yet today we have a black President-elect. Yes, your gay child can become President. The road isn't always straight or easy, but there is a road. There are many obstacles and curves along the way but we continue on one step at a time.

[Nader] really really needs to think about what he is doing.
Yeah, that's gonna happen. When pigs fly.

And my conservative friends/acquaintances are so bitter this morning. So sad for them...

True, so sad for them. Here's one conservative that isn't bitter and didn't vote for Obama.

In fact, I would say the attitude difference between the first Clinton election and this one is remarkable. IMHO, that has to do with the election of the first African American president (with apologies to Bill Clinton's ego on this subject). It was always something more than just a silver lining that Obama might win. I am proud that I live in a country that would elect a black president.

It was interesting to me to hear the reactions of African Americans on the radio today expressing their disbelief that this occurred during their lifetimes. I have been interested in the reaction for some time because of the occasional comments that it wouldn't happen due to racism. In fact, my experience amongst my own conservative friends was one that if he were republican (and had a bit more experience :)) we'd be on the streets campaigning ourselves.

So the mood was far from somber amongst my friends given the circumstances. My party needed a swift kick in the pants anyway and I see this as a sort of purification vote in terms of ideology. But more importantly, I am happy that this election showed the country, and African Americans in particular, that so many in this country are not racist. And there are more conservatives than are given credit for (i.e. the vast majority) that are proud of the election of a black president in spite of ideological differences.

And, for me at least, the position is one to be respected as the representative of all the people. So here's to President-elect Barack Obama, soon to be the first African American President of the United States!

there's still some question of whether a woman can - or a Muslim, or a gay person, or any of myriad other groups. Sadly, I think the "maybe someday" conversation is still likely to occur in a variety of contexts for quite some time.

I wouldn't mind a female president at all, but it wouldn't find it very exciting either. That probably has to do with the fact that there already have been quite a few female heads of government and even more female heads of state. Also, I always have to think of Maggie Thatcher, but that's admittedly a bit unfair, there are much nicer examples.

As for ethnic minorities, that's fine with me and I'm happy that we have black president now, both because it means a lot in the US and also because Obama's cosmopolitan background hopefully will inform his policies to some extent.

I don't want any head of state, Muslim, Christian or whatever, who is overtly religious because I strongly believe in laicite, but as long as they treat religion as a purely private matter and don't bother me with it, I guess I can live with it.

A gay/lesbian head of government/state would be cool, but that's going to take a very long time in my setimation. Maybe the current mayor of Berlin has a shot someday, after all the Germans loved Joschka Fischer, who used to be a pretty violent street-fighter with some terrorist connections, lol.

But at the end of the day I care more about what these people actually do, than who they are.

bc, no lie, I'm hoping folks like you are the majority of the Republican party, 'cause we need honest people like you to keep us honest.

What if this had come down to Missouri and yet again Nadar had taken defeat from the jaws of victory from the Dems?

All's well that ends well.

I am proud that I live in a country that would elect a black president.

Well said. In the context of this particular country's history, it's something worth being proud of.

Thanks for your positive thoughts and good wishes, bc.

Thanks -

A.J.: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Obama was a millionaire when he started running. It was the sales of his book put him into the 7-figures.

If true, that does actually make a difference, yes. ;-)

I did some research, and the answer depends on when you think he started running for President.

The Obama family was wealthy before 2005, at least by my standards. Mrs. Obama was a lawyer/hospital public affairs VP, and pulled in low-to-mid 6 figures. Mr. Obama made about $100K per year, between the IL Senate and teaching at UChicago. They had a million-plus dollar house, but the bank owned most of it. After his speech at the 2004 DNC, they made about $3M in book royalties during 2005 & 2006. In 2006, they had about $1.3M in assets.

I think it would be accurate to say that he was, technically, a millionaire when he announced his candidacy, but not when he started to think about running.

In any case, I think there's something slightly strange about the sentiment that you have to be a millionaire to get elected President. I find it hard to imagine that someone who could figure out how to get elected President in the U.S. wouldn't figure out how to make themselves a million dollars on the way. That Obama earned his money by getting sane people excited about participating in politics strikes me as something we should be praising.

bc: So here's to President-elect Barack Obama, soon to be the first African American President of the United States!

Well, that's something we can all agree on! :-D

I think it would be accurate to say that he was, technically, a millionaire when he announced his candidacy, but not when he started to think about running.

For obvious reasons the term "millionaire" has lost a lot of its descriptive value over the decades when it comes to categorizing to somebody as "rich". One million in 1970 would be equivalent to roughly 10 million today, and conversely somebody with 1 million today would have had the equivalent of only 100.000 in 1970. Also, the value of the primary residence is generally not counted when evaluating someone's wealth.

I was cheering and crying as well (in my very red NJ suburb, which was quiet as the grave). Yup, we did!

But as to O's constitutional creds, I'm not forgetting that FISA vote. The man is not perfect and will need lots of prodding.

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