Is it just me, or isn’t it awesome finally hearing some positivity in news and politics? Tuesday’s election was a big deal, yes. Barack Obama, our first African-American/mixed-race president, was elected for his second term. This is s historical landmark for this country. Despite how you feel about his politics, I feel proud to be a part of the generation that helped make history again. Yet, besides this, there are a number of changes that have been brought about through Tuesday’s huge voting turn-out.
Same-sex marriage rights were recognized in three different states, and one state opposed a ban on same-sex marriage. That may sound rather small, and to me it seems like it’s not nearly enough for how far we’ve come in recent years. I believe that however many years down the road, people are going to look back and wonder why it took this long. There’s still a lot of ground to be covered, but any start is a good one.
Women, young voters, and minorities showed out in droves in order to cast their ballots. These people made up a large part of the electorate, and it’s exciting news. Instead of being complacent and seeing their vote as “not meaning anything,” these groups are making a difference by going out and casting their opinion. It seems as though the tide is turning in terms of who’s making up the numbers at the polls, and for some it’s a long time coming.
Although I don’t see it as important as the previous issues, those in favor of the legalization of marijuana received a vote of confidence and a pat on the back. Both Colorado and Washington voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. With this comes some heavy responsibilities, though. New legislation is going to have to be made regarding driving under the influence and public safety. In addition, the federal government still deems marijuana use illegal, so technically those indulging can still find legal trouble. Despite this, it’s a positive step for enthusiasts.
The public has shown its positive attitude on diversity with many other historical elections taking place. The representative elect for Texas, Mary Gonzalez, is the first openly pansexual official in our history. Our first Asian American senator elect, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, was also voted in. It doesn’t stop there, though. Tammy Duckworth, a disabled Iraq veteran from Illinois, is the first disabled woman veteran in the House of Representatives. In addition, our first openly gay person was elected to the senate: Tammy Baldwin, the senator-elect from Wisconsin. Despite how you personally stand on their personal lives, it’s nice to see some diversity with regards to our representatives in the government. Not all of us fit into the same mold, yet we’re Americans. Why wouldn’t we want others to be represented in the same way we’ve been for years now?
I’m personally very happy with the results I’ve seen with our 2012 election. Finally we could see positive statuses on Facebook with regards to politics. Although it may have been a bit of a messy, negative campaign for both candidates, positive changes have been made without all that. Our nation is becoming more accepting of diversity, and why shouldn’t it? Why not afford others the same freedoms and comforts that the majority of Americans have?
I now look forward to future elections with excitement. I predict the turnouts will be even better due to this positive reinforcement. People are seeing how much their votes really matter, and this trend is likely to continue. There’s never a better time to say that you’re proud to be an American. Oh, and I forgot this: Puerto Rico for 51st state!