This has been a horrible night for North Carolina, diversity, Progressives, businesses, libertarians, and even some thoughtful Conservatives. The results are not good, they are not fair, and they do not represent the best of this State. When the best that can be said is that there is hope that in a decade or so people will be more loving to their fellow human beings and less hateful (or that at least the usual suspects: Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, and Asheville [and maybe Charlotte, Watauga, and Wilmington] voted against the amendment), it is small solace. But there is hope (below the fold) if we keep it alive.
Personally, I have not felt this bad about an election result since November 2004 (and in many ways this is even worse). Then I was in Law School and could not understand the result, and more important than the result was the political discourse that led to the result. After burying my head for a few weeks and feeling sorry about what had happened, I started to want to do something about it. About what at the time was a political discourse based on fear and hatred. Luckily for me, I was approached by Lance McCord who had an idea for starting an online discussion that would bring voice to another point of view, another way of thinking and another platform for Progress. He also knew the perfect person to help get it started (James Protzman).
From that need to do something, BlueNC was born. Almost eight years later, BlueNC is a healthy, thriving ecosystem that is helping. Thanks predominantly to James.
Despite our best efforts, sometimes Progress will still lose. National forces may overwhelm the traditional coalitions that have provided the Democratic base for our State, such as in 2010. Cultural issues may bring out old fault lines that overwhelm common sense and decency as has happened tonight (and I must say that some of my most religious friends were the most vocal in opposing the amendment, so it is not completely a religious issue). But the answer to these losses is not to go away and to give up.
The worst feeling in both instances for me was wondering whether I had done enough (and knowing that I could have done more). I had legitimate other concerns in my life in both time periods, but there is always more that could be done and each of us has something to give. Which is what drove me in 2004 and will drive more now so long as hope is kept alive.
Progress only comes from participation, from being involved. Participating through new media, but also getting involved community organizations, registering voters, working on campaigns, and running for office are all critical to moving forward. So I challenge everyone here to take a look at what else they can do, be it big or small to move towards a better State.
I am positive that something good will come from tonight by motivating someone, somewhere to make things better, and I am equally positive that the BlueNC audience members will be a part of that something good in whatever way that they can. Just keep fighting, participating, and believing. There are other elections; there are other fights. And there will be a future in North Carolina for equal rights, so long as we do not give up.
To be cliche, I will borrow a line from the first movie that I took my daughter to at the theaters this week: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." Dr. Seuss (the Lorax).