We have been given hope

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President Obama’s victory, along with the success of marriage equality and recreational marijuana initiatives, as well as numerous Democratic victories in state and local elections shows the direction this nation is gradually moving in and gives us all cause for hope. The Millennium however has not yet dawned. Organizations such as the National Organization for Marriage and the New Jersey Family Policy Council will not be closing their doors and giving up.

Indeed, the dyed-in-the-wool fanatics who run those organizations will not lightly surrender either their cherished prejudices or their meal tickets. NOM, after all, is much more than a “cause” for those who run it – it is also a well-paid job. The utter lack of a grass-roots base for these organizations, the fact that popular opinion is against them and the bulk of their funding comes in large lumps from the Mormon and Catholic Churchs, front groups and a few wealthy donors rather than from ordinary citizens in no way convinces them that they are beaten. And why should it? As long as secretive major funders keep giving them money, they stay in business and keep on drawing fat salaries.

On the food chain, below NOM and groups like Family Policy, we sink into the fever swamp of the far-right wing, the denizens of which are fueled by the rants of people like Glen Beck and far worse. These extreme conservatives are believers in facile conspiracy theories and urban legends (such as Obama is a Muslim) and the most absurd versions of fundamentalist religion, are not chastised by defeats such as this election but are empowered and further determined in their fanatic refusal to accept change and recognize facts. It makes no difference whether those facts are of sociologic change or of science. When the normal mechanisms of democracy fail to support such true believers, they may look to other means. In their black or white world view, no measures are too extreme to be used in implementing  their dangerous ideologies. This election will infuriate them and they are a growing danger.

However, though the fundamentalists may fulminate and lament, this election demonstrates unequivocally that the politics of hate, of divisiveness and of minority disenfranchisement have been rejected by the majority of our fellow citizens. It may have taken some of them a while to travel down this road, but they have arrived at last and in so doing, have in a way come full circle – back to those essential American founding principles: equality of all before the law, the right to the pursuit of personal happiness and that our government is “of the people,” not of the billionaires, the K Street lobbyists and the power brokers of fundamentalist religion. We have seen the possibility that there is wisdom in “the common man.”  We have been given hope.

President Obama’s victory, along with the success of marriage equality and recreational marijuana initiatives, as well as numerous Democratic victories in state and local elections shows the direction this nation is gradually moving in and gives us all cause for hope. The Millennium however has not yet dawned. Organizations such as the National Organization for Marriage and the New Jersey Family Policy Council will not be closing their doors and giving up.