With the closing of election season, we can revel in two immediately obvious conclusions: First, the incessant, oft uninformed political chatter on social media will end and second, the re-election of President Barack Obama wasn’t the only thing social liberals had to cheer about.
The New York Times of Nov. 12 boldly said socially liberal legislation being approved by their respective publics indicates “a rapid shift in public opinion.”
The approvals it alludes to include Maine, Maryland and Washington legalizing gay marriage and the defeating of a Minnesota state constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage.
Outside of legislation, of course, social liberals also cheered the re-election of Obama to the presidency, particularly given his support (even if tardy) for gay marriage. Beyond the president,
Tammy Baldwin doubled up on history by becoming the first woman from Wisconsin and first openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered person in the country to be elected to the U.S. Senate.
Victory, a self-titled gay and lesbian activist group, noted that 121 openly LGBT politicians have won their bids for state and national public office.
One particularly noteworthy win comes to us from Texas (Texas for gosh sakes!) as Mary Gonzalez, an openly pansexual woman, won a seat in the Texas state legislature.
The Wall Street Journal of Nov. 8 reported that 2012 is also the “Year of the Woman,” a moniker which is doubly worthy of an eye roll because it has been grossly overused and because it overstates the proportion of women’s influence relative to men’s.
Nevertheless, what inspired the title to re-emerge is the election of more women to the U.S. Congress than any other time, including 1992 (which was also called “The Year of the Woman” mind you). Progress is progress, and with nearly 100 women now in Congress, it is a sign of
growing parity between the sexes – at least nominally.
I say all of this to simply applaud the growing social liberalism in our country. I should think anyone with an eye toward equality would cheer these developments.
While I may delight in the elections and legislation, I cannot disregard the person who still does not think gay marriage is something that should be legally recognized. In my own personal experience, seldom has someone held a social position out of malevolence. Does that excuse the result of their worldview? Certainly not.
However, social liberals cannot change opinions by simply enacting macrocosmic change. Rather, it is through the avenues of discourse and passionate exchange we will reach our destination.
I am so deeply excited about the social progress our country has made as demonstrated by elections. People with different life experiences and orientations offer different perspectives and opinions. In a venue where the battle of ideas for the good of our states and country should be raging ever furiously, we need the most diverse collection of advocates we can find.
To put it more bluntly: We have enough older, wealthy, white men in positions of power.
As one of the most outwardly socially liberal universities in the state, Eastern Michigan University has an obligation to advocate for equality — arguing for it, voting for it and defending it with inspiring zeal. Happily, that seems to be getting easier.