Thank the gods 2016 is over.
I think it’s been a rough year for many people. My rough 2016 actually stretches all the way back to fall 2015, when my wife and I upped stakes and moved back to the mid-south to take care of her mother.
The stress of that time — her mother’s health, the terrible condition of the house we bought, the shock of discovering that all traces of the friendly South we’d once known were gone — almost undid us. We felt abandoned, hated by our neighbors and resented by her family.
Things improved when we were able to tread water enough to reconnect with our friends, plug back into the community of accepting nerds and geeks we’d missed.
But the presidential campaign, culminating in the election of a liar, a swindler, and a bigot, convinced us that nothing could make up for the fact that we don’t belong here. And never will.
So we’re moving back to California.
Back to a state that takes life seriously, and so passed the most restrictive gun control laws in the country.
A state that takes liberty seriously enough to want to offer it to refugees from a horrible civil war.
A state that knows the pursuit of happiness means respecting the many diverse ways that its citizens go about it.
I can’t wait to be back home.
I refuse to believe that Trump’s election is a moment of ‘crisis’ for liberalism.
We’ve always been under siege. We’ve always been fighting uphill.
We were fighting uphill when we were abolitionists. We were fighting uphill when we worked to win the right to vote for the women of this country.
We were even fighting uphill when we wanted to stand with Britain in World War II. Not many people know this, but many in this country wanted to stay out, to let the Nazis and the Soviets divide up Europe between them, and let Japan have Asia. It took liberals like FDR to stand up and say, “That’s not the world we want to live in.”
Every time, we have been in the right. It has just taken a while for the rest of the country to see it.
I am reminded of MLK’s phrase, “the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.” I remember the victories of the recent past, when we expanded the right to marry to same-sex couples. When we finally decriminalized a drug less harmful than alcohol. When we made health insurance affordable for 20 million more Americans.
This is not a crisis for liberalism. It isn’t the last gasp of conservatism, either, a desperate attempt by the powerful to stave off change.
They are always fighting us. And we are always winning.
This time will be no different.
Same-sex marriage is not a religious issue. It’s a legal one.
When you get married, you give your partner certain rights, and the two of you can act as one person. You can buy a house together and be treated as if you both owned it. If you have children together, you both get parental rights.
You get these rights because the government says you have them. No religious leader can simply point to two people and give them the ability to make medical choices for each other. The two people have to be adults, they have to decide to get married, and the person that marries them has to have been given that power by the government.
For the government to say that two people of the same sex can’t get married is like saying they can’t buy a car together. It’s an arbitrary refusal, a failure to fulfill one of the core functions of government: to enforce contracts.