And just like that, Amendment One has passed. The majority in North Carolina have voted on the rights of the minority. Not only is this a sad day, it sends a scary message to us all.
I watched the news throughout the day and followed my friends at voteagainstamendmentone. While we knew the conclusion earlier in the night, it wasn’t until around 11:30pm CST that I finally took a screen cap of the polling numbers, updated Facebook, sent out a tweet to my followers and called it a night.
Every single time one of these votes happen, memories of Wisconsin come flooding back. The time and dedication. The door knocking. The storytelling. The pain of defeat. The anger. The frustration. The confusion. It all comes over me in a wave of emotion. Nearly six years later and yet it’s still so very fresh. Why? Because it’s a direct attack on me and those that I love.
I figured that tonight would be a good night to reblog a post I shared back on November 13, 2006. The post is a bit lengthy, but I’m hopeful that the words, feelings and thoughts will resonate and give comfort to those who just went through this defeat…
Well, it’s been almost a week since Wisconsin voted in favor of the civil unions and marriage amendment. I figured it was time to take a few minutes to share my thoughts and feelings with you… I don’t expect this to be a long post, rather, I just wanted to get out some of the thoughts that I have floating about my head.
First, I want to say that being out of the area for the election was tough. I know that it was lovely Orlando, but most of the night Tuesday was spent in my hotel room watching CNN and on dial-up to CNN.com watching the results come in. Very early it was decided that the amendment would pass, however, I stayed up to watch precinct by precinct come in. Yes, it was a forgone conclusion, we lost. And not by the 3-4% points that were predicted in the polls, nope. This amendment passed with nearly a 20% lead over the No voters.
Hmmm. That result triggered many reactions from anger and frustration to sadness to resentment to being Ok. I was mad that voters would do such a thing. I was mad that more friends and members of the gay/lesbian community didn’t get out and be vocal. I was mad at all of the people who told me “I’m voting yes” as I was out canvassing. And I was mad at Fair Wisconsin for giving me hope, creating, what I felt, to be a false sense of confidence.
Of course, as the anger subsided, sadness was waiting around the bend. All of the efforts, the time, the money, the knocking, the lit-drops, the letters… For what? (actually, I guess that’s a little bit of sadness mixed with frustration :) It was very disheartening to know that this thing passed in double-digit numbers.
So where am I now – now that it’s been a week and I’ve had a chance to digest a little? Well, I’m Ok. Yes, I still have a little bit of resentment there as I almost feel as though I was given a false sense of hope (more on this in a minute). I’m Ok though because the night wasn’t a total loss; quite the contrary. We ousted many individuals from government positions that did not support the gay/lesbian cause. The democrats took control of the house and senate. The political “right” realized that while the wedge issue of gay marriage may have driven up numbers of their base, it was not enough to win an election. Is that in itself a sign of change? I think so… Hmmm… rather, I hope so.
Not only that, but as we learned on Wednesday, Arizona was the first state in the entire country to finally take a stand and tell the world that they weren’t going to let their constitution be changed.
So really, I have to step back and look at the whole picture – and I ask that my friends do as well. While it certainly didn’t seem like a very “fair” night, the bigger picture hopefully shows signs of change. Not only that, but it was also very rewarding to read articles/posts from campaigns saying that Fair Wisconsin had an impact:
If you can win by losing, score one for Fair Wisconsin, the well-funded grass-roots group that led the unsuccessful fight against the amendment. In his victory speech, Gov. Jim Doyle, who scored his own impressive seven-point victory over U. S. Rep. Mark Green, also put a spotlight on the group, thanking it for its efforts.
Even Republican honchos begrudgingly credited Fair Wisconsin Wednesday for a strong get-out-the-vote effort that helped Democrats up and down the ticket.
Just how surprised were the GOP bosses by the turnout?
Before the election, their data concluded that Green needed 940,000 votes to unseat Doyle. In the end, Green topped that goal by 36,000 votes, yet he will soon be out of work.
“Usually, if you exceed your vote goal,” said Republican Party executive director Rick Wiley, “you win.”
So much for conventional wisdom.
So with all of that said, why the feeling of resentment toward Fair Wisconsin? Well, I guess in my mind, there has to be someone to blame. I do realize that, yes, I am being unfair, but I’ve come to realize over the past few days that it is something I need to do right now. Do I think Fair Wisconsin did a good job? Hell yes. Am I glad I supported them with time and money? Hell yes. And you know what? I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.
I know as time passes, so too will my frustration and resentment. I think probably the biggest thing that gets me is that feeling of false hope. Now I realize that you can’t ever make a difference, let alone win a campaign, if your slogan is “We already know we’re gonna lose,” but I just don’t understand how we were so wrong. We didn’t win by a few percentage points like we talked about Saturday before – instead, we lost by nearly 20. That seems like a pretty big gap to me – what went wrong? I guess that’s my biggest unresolved question out of this whole thing: what went wrong? I don’t know that we’ll ever know the answer to that question. What I do know though is that even in writing this, I can already feel some of that frustration dissipating…
So to conclude, I would like to say “thank you” to all of my friends and co-workers who stood with me on election day. Thank you to all of you who supported the concept of a fair Wisconsin. Thank you to those who sent me emails, or stopped me in the hall, or gave money/time because you knew it was something _I_ cared about. Those things shall never be forgotten.
Regardless of the outcome on November 7, 2006, I still believe in a fair Wisconsin – and someday, I know we’ll get to a point in time where a fair Wisconsin stands up and says NO to this kind of mean-spirited thing. We didn’t a week ago, but we will.
We have to.
With a lot of love and appreciation,