Everybody’s talking about the Great Depression these days. The trouble is, it’s not easy to tell when someone is raising the specter of the past to mobilize with fear, or reminding us of a history lesson, so we can build a better future.
And what about that better future? What does it look like?
Today we have a man with brown skin running as the presidential nominee of a major American political party. Surely this is an image of the better future imagined by voters, long, long ago?
But how long ago? Was it those who voted for the 1965 Voting Rights Act? Or the 15th Amendment to the Constitution? Or the constitutional signers for Delaware, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, in the 1770s and 80s? It has taken generations to get this far. And still the news accounts talk about the race question. Even now, for some Americans, a brown-skinned President is not their vision of a better future.
Here in California, voters will be deciding on a constitutional ban on gay marriage in November. As with Obama, the outcome is uncertain. Will the majority see this as a step in the right direction? A step towards a better future?
And what of defeat? For the same-sex couples in California, defeating the initiative would be cause for celebration. And a bulwark for further momentum. But it wouldn’t be over. Actions can be legislated, but not attitudes. With a little time, elections and even Supreme Court decisions can be reversed. We The People reserve the right to change our minds.
Elections in America are important milestones. They take a snapshot of us as a people. Getting the vote out is important, so that we can see as much of the picture as possible. So that we can see how far we have come, and how far we have to go, on our journey towards a better future.
Please vote in November. For whatever future you think is better.