Is it like this across conservative America, too? Are there any smart, shimmering towns full of hardcore Republicans that frequently erupt in spontaneous outpourings of joy and wild bliss after some major sociocultural upheaval lands in its favor?
Here is my guess: Probably not.
Hey, I might be wrong. Do you know if tens of thousands of ecstatic citizens overflow the wine bars and buy up all the champagne in Utah and South Carolina whenever America, say, brutally invades some developing nation for its oil, or builds a new razor-wire fence against them damnable Mexicans, or when some duplicitous cardinal from the Catholic Church works like a demon to shield millions of church dollars from sex abuse victims?
Do overjoyed conservatives rush out in their finest, glitteriest, most awesomely silly partywear whenever the Defense Department approves a new, billion-dollar weapon of mass destruction? Are there outrageous public celebrations all over Arkansas and Kentucky when basic background checks fail to pass an acidic, NRA-molested Congress?
What about spontaneous, screaming hugs and rampant tongue kisses in the street in Alabama and Mississippi when SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act, or when North Dakota passed the most hateful anti-choice laws in America, or when Kansas and Texas dumbed down their school textbooks to lobotomy/troglodyte levels?
Hey, there might've been; I admit I don't live anywhere near America's legendary sinkholes of regression and conservative panic. But I'll just come right and suggest that there's just no way ultraconservatives enjoy anything like the street-rattling, confetti-strewn, life-exploding celebrations of newfound liberation similar to what San Francisco -- and nearly every other major educated, forward-thinking city and college town nationwide -- enjoyed this past week.
There are truly few words to describe the elation, the outpouring of love and drunken, celebratory energy that resulted from the death of DOMA and the demise of the hateful, homophobic troll that was Prop 8.
SF's City Hall turned into a rainbow. Pride parades nationwide exploded with woozy affection and freedom. The very pulse of the city quickened, the very temperament of the culture shifted toward the lighter, looser, more colorful and interesting and wickedly unruly. It is safe to conclude that this does not happen when conservatives win, well, anything at all. Not now, not ever, not like this.
Is it not sort of telling? Is this not one of the more surefire signs of progress and wobbly breakthrough in a given culture? Keep your bland 4th of July parades, your drunken tailgate parties, your blind jingoism, spoon-fed patriotism and your abject denial that America ranks right near the top in privacy-slamming, torture-endorsing and unchecked warmongering, and always will.
Give me instead this new kind of American pride we reveled in last week, one more colorful and unafraid, more messy and open-throated, a little less steeped in traditional American antagonism and opposition, fear and dogmatism, fanatical guns and exasperated God. Possible?
Look at it this way: When Prop 8 passed the first time, there were no parades, no scowling crowds of Mormons stripping off their strange underwear and waving banners of joy in the streets, celebrating this new and nasty constraint on love. Oh sure, maybe some relief flooded the nation's terrified fundamentalist megachurches, a slap or three was heard in Bill O' Reilly's fetish dungeon, maybe a few thousands Fox News homophobes tweeted their gay porn to each other, but that's about it.
But when DOMA and Prop 8 died last week? Joy immeasurable. Joy unmistakable.
It happened when DADT was killed. It happened after Lawrence v. Texas was decided. It happened after Roe v. Wade, too, though with a decidedly different tang. It certainly happened when Obama won, both times, though the outpouring of relief and celebration in 2008 when he finally ended the Dark Days of Bush was nothing short of historic, meteoric, downright intergalactic.
Do not misunderstand. When Bush won a second term, the nation was flooded, too -- with a wave of dark, leaden sadness. The Internet was jammed with countless thousands of dejected Americans, posting their apologies to the world. Similar energy is unleashed nearly every time there's a major conservative victory of note: a shuddering pall is cast over most of country, indicating gloom. Women cringe. Babies recoil. Flowers wilt. Science groans. Immigrants and minorities sigh in imminent pain. Gun makers and oil companies rejoice. Yay conservatism!
Maybe that's too simplistic. Maybe I'm reading in a little. After all, there are many ways to measure the unruly progress of the American experiment. There are polls and statistics, there are landmark legal decisions and the election (or rejection) of momentous pubic figures. There are prearranged celebrations and saccharine, carefully mapped parades, protests and rallies. We landed on the moon! We ended the war! Women can vote! The Bible is for paranoid, terrified children!
But to my mind, there are few more accurate indicators of constructive change than that wild, palpable buzz you find out in the streets after a major decision like Prop. 8; that intense, unmistakable lick and slap of upheaval that only comes when some hoary old roadblock has finally been blasted aside, when some rancid plug of conservative phlegm has been cleared from the collective throat. You know? Did you feel it, too?
I'm sure they didn't feel it much in...
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Mark Morford is the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, a mega-collection of his finest columns for the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate, and the creator of the new Mark Morford's Apothecary iOS app. He's also a well-known ERYT yoga instructor in San Francisco. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...