Election 2009: The Post-Mortem

Dear Maggie,

It was this time last year that I wrote you a letter. It amazes me, the difference of a year. Back then, we didn’t know how deeply and irreversibly you would affect how we saw the world, our values, and each other. We didn’t yet know that you were a Margaret Kelley, a Maggie, my Cranky Buttons, our baby girl; only that you were our little Thumper, long-planned and anxiously awaited. We didn’t yet know you, and what joy and challenge you would bring to our lives. We didn’t know what the world would look like when you were born.

In the year since our last letter, you have lived six of them outside of me. Health care is the battle now, with some fighting the fight to cover our most vulnerable citizens in the wake of a horrifying fear-based campaign. Dr. George Tiller, a true hero, gave his life in the abortion fight to ensure that women in life-threatening and gut-wrenching circumstances, the likes of which would break any person’s heart in two, could receive compassionate medical care.

Compassion and empathy, Maggie. If you live your life by no other principle, let it be the ability to try and see what it feels like to walk around in someone else’s shoes.

Also during this past year, a few states decided to enact laws in favor of same-sex marriage, one of the topics that I covered in that letter. One of those states was Maine, the place I grew up and still call home, and where your father and I plan to live out our golden post-child years. The measure was enacted by the legislature and signed by the governor, and under Maine law was subject to what is called a “people’s veto.” That is, if enough people oppose the bill, the citizens can vote to repeal the legislature’s action.

Tonight, the people of Maine voted by a slim margin to repeal the law, and the GLBT citizens of Maine were once again thrust into second-class citizenry.

I can’t put into words how bitterly disappointed I am, how sorry your father is. Bitter in the truest sense, that it makes me toss my head to get the repulsive taste out of my mouth, that I feel I cannot swallow the galling anger. Your aunt and uncle, who live in Maine, are sick over the repeal and questioning how they can raise your cousin there. I asked your aunt if she had heard any, just one, argument for Yes on 1 (the repeal contingent) that wasn’t based in religious tenets. She had not, nor had I. And it is there that I choke on so much angry bile; where I impotently spew about the separation of church and state built into this country’s founding documents. This country that I love, the country your father has worked every day of his adult life to study and defend, which proclaims that all are guaranteed equality and the pursuit of happiness. Bitter over the subjugation of this ideal? You bet. I’m so angry I could vomit.

But the tide is turning, Maggie. The vote was so close. Close enough to have flickered a little bit of hope, and it is on that flicker that we will sustain the fight. And we’ll do it; we’ll walk beside our friends, your surrogate aunts and uncles, and I hope that by the time you are old enough to marry that your love will be recognized and valid, no matter the sex of the person you love. Your father and I will fight for our loved ones struggling now, but we and your aunt Erika and uncle Erick will do it for you, and for Owen, and for our future children. We will fight, and we are going to win, so that you live in a world where love’s wonders and blessings are fully recognized.

We will win it for you.