It was around 11:18 EST that word broke that President Obama had snagged Ohio and therefore basically bagged the election. Twitter exploded and soon the entire country -- and the world, for that matter -- knew who won the presidential election of 2012. But among all of the tweets, immediately my timeline began to flood with people talking about racists.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. After all, ignorance always follows events like these. So I did a little digging to find the source of all the outrage and soon I discovered tweets that said outrageously ignorant things like "We should have kept white in the White House," and ones that are to explicative to even state.
It's 2012. It's been 149 years since the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863 and the 13th Amendment ratified in 1864, and it has been 48 years since President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1864. Of course, just because a piece of paper outlaws discrimination and segregation, that doesn't mean that people don't hold that sentiment in their hearts. But what's the point of it in 2012?
It just makes me so angry that people still honestly believe in their hearts and minds that somebody's skin color is what defines them as a person; and as an extension, it makes me equally mad that people believe that somebody's sexual orientation is also what defines them, but we'll get to that later. This is 2012, and I cannot believe that I have to reiterate that point! The world is full of highly-successful minority men and women -- Oprah Winfrey, Oscar de la Renta, Ursula Burns and many others come to mind -- and so why is it that when Barack Obama is reelected (putting aside whether you agree with his policies or not) he is instantaneously barraged with a myriad of racism-charged tweets?
Going back to same-sex marriage and other truly promising victories of the night, I was very happy to see that Washington, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota all voted to legalize same-sex marriage because -- and I'm going to sound like a broken record here -- it is 2012. In addition to that, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin became the first out LGBT Senator in the U.S.! And of course, many people were almost too excited to see that Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use.
The point I'm trying to make is that the United States is changing. It really is. Our country is moving forward in terms of our open-mindedness and progressive ideals and finally -- albeit, slowly -- catching up to our neighbors to the north in Canada and many of our allies in Europe. Ten years ago, many of the things that happened tonight wouldn't even have been feasible, but they happened tonight. There is no room in this country for racism anymore. Period. I'm also glad that people are now realizing that there is no room for bigotry too, especially when it comes to the issue of sexual orientation. Ultimately, people will be people and that means that some people will be ignorant and say ignorant things, and no matter how much many of us wish that they would just grow up, they likely won't. But they're going to be on the wrong side of history, and that's their choice. The rest of us can work together to make sure that the idea that "all men [and women] are created equal" is upheld to the best of our ability and be on the right side of history. For me, that's just the way it is.