Finally, my home state of Maryland has stopped waffling on the right of gay people to marry.
On Tuesday we citizens overrode an attempt to defeat by referendum a state law allowing gay marriage. We are one of several states that made Tuesday a historic day for upholding marriage equality.
As I and many others keep saying, opponents of marriage equality are so strident and desperate precisely because they know in their bitter little hearts that the struggle for marriage equality is ultimately going to prevail. If this reactionary desperation sounds familiar (think defenders of slavery, defenders of denying women the vote, defenders of racial segregation) it's because it is. Nobody is quite so mean as the eagerly privileged when they see their privilege slipping away.
I'm proud of the 52 percent of fellow Maryland voters who stood up for marriage equality.
The 48 percent who voted against it? I'm not so proud of them.
The good news: Because President Obama won on Tuesday, we will not have 4 years of serial liar and cold-blooded cad Mitt Romney's hand at the tiller of the corporate state. This will be good for people who, say, would rather not lose their health coverage the moment they are diagnosed with a pre-existing cancer; or who aren't fond of the idea of a federal government sympathetic to denying women contraception; or who suspect that 30 years is long enough to disprove the idea that lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs and opportunity for working people; or who think that gutting FEMA and cutting government regulation of industry might not be such a good idea in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the mounting deaths from weak food and drug safety standards; or who would prefer that the White House not consort with the most wildly racist, misogynist, and homophobic constituencies in America.
The bad news: Because President Obama won on Tuesday, we will have 4 more years of crafting secret kill lists that include U.S. citizens; 4 more years of the National Defense Authorization Act and its spectacular violations of our privacy and civil and human rights; 4 more years of ducking anything like serious health care reform; 4 more years of automatic coddling of Wall Street and other corporate autocrats; 4 more years of gorgeously passionate presidential speeches followed by reliably craven inaction or betrayal; and 4 more years of kowtowing to the bullies of the Republican wing of the Corporate Party, which has already begun with Obama's I'm-so-much-nicer-than-you stance toward obstructionist Republicans in his victory speech, and his (heh-heh, it's a joke) offering to wash their cars and walk their dogs if they'll only push him around just a little bit less.
was an unscripted dose of reality. As the deadly wind and water flattened homes and flooded the Jersey shore and streets in Queens and lower Manhattan, Americans saw, courtesy of Mother Nature and climate change, precisely the purpose and necessity of a well-funded and capable government.
Every nationally-televised image of hundreds of submerged homes and thousands of pedestrians trudging across bridges might as well have had a caption reading, "Are you sure you don't like government?"
In 48 spectacularly tragic hours, the roof was swept off of a year's worth of lies about self-reliance and "freedom" from government and the virtue of going it on your own. This false narrative was always a temporary ruse, you understand; the Mitt Romneys and Donald Trumps of the nation, who make their fortunes from the political and military force of big government, have always understood that trashing the idea of government in order to deceptively flatter working- and middle-class whites' sense of individual power would only work in the window between revelatory catastrophes. The rich were betting, understandably, that this window would extend at least beyond the election. They bet wrong.
President Barack Obama cannot take credit for this instant's storm of clarity, although he certainly benefits (check out Republicans Chris Christie and Michael Bloomberg lately!). Mitt Romney cannot be blamed for it, although splinters of his rottenly dishonest platform about the venality of government are now among the flotsam being carried down the Hudson. And it remains to be seen how much this profound lesson will register next Tuesday.