I think it fair to say that most Americans, during this past election, were mainly concerned with economic issues. I had democratic leaning friends who said they were voting for Romney based solely upon his economic qualifications. Other people were planning on voting Obams because they felt like corporations as people/a tax code that favors the wealthy isn't a system that will do much good for average Americans.
Ultimately, my reasons for voting came down to social issues. Eventually, I think, regardless of who is in office, the economy will right itself. Now, depending upon who you are, "righting itself" may signify different things. And in the end, I don't really care too much about those things. But here is one poignant example as to why I give way more shits about social issues than about how many dollars are in my wallet at the end of the day.
As I arrived at school on that lovely Wednesday morning, after the [not so shocking] vote, I couldn't help but smile at the fact that finally, after an entire year, KSL's (a local news station) unmitigated raging Romney boner would finally be rendered flaccid. Surely, the Lord, by this point, had wearied of all of the local prayers and supplications for Romney's triumphant ascendency to the presidency, so I'd imagine maybe he was smiling too.
I exited my vehicle, and took a deep breath, the crisp cool Erda air filling my lungs with the clean scents of a small town. No smells of burning decay, despite America's proverbial death the night before. Life would go on. And as I contemplated this life, going on, I started attempting to formulate a way I could, (as much as possible) in an unbiased way discuss some of the election results with my class. Because I was definitely pleased with the outcome. But I suspected that I had at least one Mittens supporter in my first class, and so would have to choose my words carefully. And that student aside, ethics require that I at least appear to be somewhat unbiased.
Class began, and the girls filed in. Immediately, a few of them brought up the election. After a few moments of discussion, it dawned on me that we had ended the previous class talking about the fact that homosexuality had been included in the DSM until the 70's, when it was shockingly discovered that homosexuals were no less mentally healthy than anybody else. In this moment, I recalled reading that both Maryland and Maine had passed gay marriage initiatives by popular vote.
I said, "the President stayed the same. The balance of power in congress largely remains unchanged. But I think the most significant thing that occurred last night, was the fact that Maine and Maryland both legalized gay marriage, by popular vote, for the first time ever." As I said this, I had my back turned to the class, because I was writing Maine and Maryland on the board. I heard what sounded like a sob. I turned around to see my transgendered student with her face buried in her hands, weeping tears of joy.
I said, "Wait...you didn't know yet?"
She said, "No, I hadn't heard if it had passed."
To add a little bit of context, this is a student from whom I had never previously observed any sort of emotional response—PERIOD—about anything. And knowing that a majority of people, somewhere, even though far away, had collectively shouted "we don't know you, but we love you, we support you, and we do not fear you," was enough to shatter her emotional barriers.
There was almost a palpable feeling of love in the room, a feeling of pride. A shared instant of enlightenment. In that moment, we all knew that somewhere, despite the odious storm of political bullshit that we had all weathered over the previous months, America had done something right, something profound, something beautiful. I spent the rest of the class desperately fighting back the happiest of tears.
This is why social issues mean something to me.
Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over a tax break.
Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over cheaper gasoline.
Because i will never see someone weep tears of joy over being able to purchase assault rifles.
Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over invading one more oil rich country.
Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over a government surplus.
Because things are just things. We can all learn to be happy and survive with fewer things.
My President supports love. My President supports equality in love. Sorry 1%. But I care about love, more than I care about your money.
I support my President.