August 2017

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Tomorrow is the presidential election. World, breathe a sigh of relief; our years-long election cycle will again grind to a close. Of course, it will start up again soon enough.

I am not so worried about the presidential election tomorrow. Oh, I am fervently in support of Obama, for a variety of reasons that I'm not going to enumerate here. Tomorrow's a big day here on ol' Maryland, though. Tomorrow, we vote on a ballot measure, Question 6, that if passed, will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Anyone who's known me for even a little while knows that this is a HUGE issue for me--yes, so huge that I am willing to overuse HTML markup and abuse caps lock to make my point! I don't follow polls because they tend to get me worked up for no good reason (since I can hardly change their outcome by myself), but I asked Bobby what the prognostication was for Question 6, and he said it's very close.

It's personal and emotional to me because my sister is gay. If Question 6 passes, it won't really change her situation, personally, since her wife is not a U.S. citizen and, therefore, they need federal law to change too in order to be able to live here. (I don't even know that they'd make that choice, but it would be nice for them to actually have a choice.) In terms of our family, then, it's more a symbolic victory than anything, but it does have very real positive consequences for other people I care about, including one of my dearest friends and his husband, who have been in a committed relationship for over 25 years and yet still lack even basic rights as a couple.

From a less personal perspective, I have very mixed feelings. Not about my support for the measure but about the fact that I'm even called upon to support it. I find it deeply, deeply disturbing that people are so quick to accept that a majority can vote upon the rights of a minority. We are all minorities in some way. That makes us all vulnerable to the whims and bigotry of the masses. Even if one supports the measure, why would one support such a precedent?

Of course, there's the religious angle. I'm not Christian. Never have been and am going out on a limb to say that I never will be. I resent being governed by another person's religious beliefs. I don't presume that others should be governed by mine. And the same Christians who are out there screeching to "Vote Against 6! Don't Redefine Marriage!" are the same who bleat about being persecuted. I'm trying very hard to remember that these idiots are still people and to not be hateful right now. *trying trying trying ...*

So tomorrow, I'll of course be watching the presidential outcome, but I'll be right and truly nervous about Question 6.

Bobby is experiencing something of a renaissance in terms of his political involvement. His undergrad degree is in political science, so he was always very well-informed and involved in the political process, much more than I was (although I also like to think of myself as informed, and I've voted every chance I've had since turning 18.) A few years ago, when we started shifting our lifestyle to be simpler and more sustainable, he was experiencing an extreme disenchantment, to the point that he was talking about not voting. Not voting!! That was sacrilege to me! I remember not knowing quite how to respond. His point, at the time, was that he could make more of a difference through personal action, leading by example, and educating others who wish to be educated than he could be participating in politics. To a point, I agreed and agree with him, but I didn't (and don't) think that extends to voting, which I do regard as a basic responsibility, nor do I think the two need be mutually exclusive. It was a point of significant difference, though, and I know myself well enough to know that it would have become a point of contention if it had extended to this point, where we're about to vote again. Luckily, it didn't; Bobby's experienced a resurgence of interest in politics to the point of becoming involved with the Carroll County Democrats. Tonight, he went to the Democratic headquarters down in Westminster, hung out, picked up a bunch of signs, and we put them up at the high school, which is a polling place. I didn't go to the headquarters with him because I had schoolwork to do and wasn't feeling very sociable besides, but I did venture out into the near-freezing night to poke the signs into the ground around the entrance to the polling place. I put in the sign in support of Question 6. It was worth the frozen fingers. Tomorrow, we'll go back after the polls close and yoimp them back out of the ground. Then there's a party at the Democratic headquarters that I should be more in the mood for when I've had the whole day by myself.

Speaking of Bobby, today is our eighth wedding anniversary. We tend to celebrate the anniversary of when we started dating, since our wedding was more a formality than anything, but we have always managed to remember--usually at the last minute--our wedding anniversary. Today was a professional development day at work, so the kids weren't there (schools are closed tomorrow, of course, for Election Day), meaning we could go out for a real lunch. (Most days, we have one 45-minute period free together, which limits our lunch choices to places that are both very local and very quick.) We went to the Trolley Stop down in Ellicott City, which was especially appropriate, since this was the first place we lived together and we were married at the courthouse there. The restaurant is in an ancient building and it kinda looks like a dump on the inside, but the food is amazingly good and quite inexpensive. We used to eat there about once per week when we lived in Ellicott City.

My grad school semester has officially started back up as of today. This semester, I'm taking an eight-week course (Antiquity and the Medieval World) and a sixteen-week course (History of Religion). This is my first time doubling up since I started teaching, so I'm a little nervous about that, but both classes look interesting and manageable, and I've got a good lead still on lesson planning. I've started reading for both, of course, as I am not called Hermione by my husband without reason.

One last thought before I go flop downstairs and watch something vapid (or not) with Bobby. We might get our first snowfall on Wednesday night into Thursday. (We got snow showers on the tail end of Sandy, but nothing stuck on the ground.) The current predication is for 6 to 8 inches, which would definitely take us out of school for another day. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever get my kids back on track before we go on Thanksgiving break.

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