It's Election Day.
That means that by the end of today (hopefully) we'll know who the next president of the United States will be. There are going to be a lot of really ecstatic people and a lot of really sad and/or angry people depending on the results.
For me, I'm going to be either somewhat sad or in a stupor for the next four years. Why, AJ? Shouldn't you only be sad if Romney wins? Why wouldn't you be one of the ecstatic people if Obama wins?
Well, it's because of my friends. Not all of them, but some of them. Particularly the ones that I consider(ed?) myself close to who voted for Romney. Even if he doesn't win, it still means that people I value as close friends, people that I've shared some of the most personal parts of my life with, people who've shared personal stories with me, people whose defense I run to without a second thought, voted for a man thinks of me as a second-class citizen not worthy of equality. It means that they supported a man who thinks that single-parent homes like the one I come from are a disgrace to our great nation and are a leading cause of gun violence. It means that they care more about them keeping a little extra money per year over equal rights for everyone. It means that might rights as a gay man come second to everything else. That hurts. Immensely.
How dare my friends say "AJ, I love you and support you and will always be there for you" with their mouth but then mark away the chance I have at living an equal life to them with their hands? "I'm just voting this way because I like Romney's economic plans." Without getting into the details of that statement (To be honest, I don't know the first thing about economics and don't really believe that any person has the *right* answer on how to fix our situation), you just said that your family keeping a few extra dollars per year is more important than someone you call one of your "closest friends" being able to marry who he wants and have the same benefits as when you marry your wife and being able to see his husband in the hospital etc. "I mean, I agree that you should have equal rights but I'm really worried about the economy." EXCUSE ME?! So you're more worried about your family only being able to spend 5 days versus a week in the Hamptons next year than my rights being restricted from me for the next 4 years? Oh, you're not that wealthy? So, how's Romney plan going to help you that much anyway? I just don't get it. I, as a person, could never vote for someone who wants to limit rights for others while also making sure that those with money remain the only people with money.
But, AJ, if you voted based on social issues, why are you getting upset at others who voted based on economic issues? I'm upset because I fear that some people just use economic issues to mask how they really feel about issues. I've heard it so many times from so many people that I care about that I can't help but wonder about it. I've spent several nights staying up all night crying about things going on in my life and theirs. We've been there for each other's darkest moments and our brightest. How can we be so close yet my rights mean so little? How can they say they support me but then vote against me?
It just doesn't make sense to me and it hurts. If voting a certain way isn't going to affect your life but has a huge impact on the life of someone you say you care about, then why not vote to support them? That's what a true friend would do.
So, I'll be sad either way tonight. I'll either be sad because the person elected will do everything in his power to make sure that I'm never treated equally in this country or because people I considered friends will be upset because that man didn't win.