Democrats Do Not Win --- America
Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay
For weeks now, I have been
mentally crafting the headline. Always some version of, "Can
You Say Mandate?" or "This is a Mandate!" Anything to get rid of
that idiotic belief the 2004 election gave George Bush
political capital to spend freely, and then coming within a
hair of destroying the US and making a good-sized dent in the
I've also been thinking about
Abraham Lincoln --- and Johnny Horton. You all may not be fans,
but Johnny Horton's songs can still bring tears to my eyes. And
one that never fails to do that is, "Johnny Reb:"
"When "Honest Abe" heard
the news about your fall
The folks thought he'd
call a great victory ball
But he asked the band to
play the song, "Dixie,"
For you, Johnny Reb, and
all that you believed"
Maybe it's because we're all
from Illinois --- me, Abe, and Barack. Maybe it's something
about Midwestern values --- maybe I'm just reaching for a
reason. Or, maybe it never happened and I've been all
teary-eyed over something that was fiction. But Abraham Lincoln
did say something that I absolutely believe to be
house divided against itself cannot
It's time to stop being a blue
America and a red America --- to stop focusing on what
categorizes and divides us. It's time to work to find ways to
That's the promise I saw in
Barack Obama. That's what we should be celebrating today. I
believe that is why Americans turned out in such record numbers
and stood for hours in lines that wrapped around blocks. Obama
said it in his acceptance speech at the convention --- this
election was never about him. This election has always been
about us --- all of us.
Americans want our country
back. We want our elected officials to work for us instead of
against each other. And we don't want the next campaign to
start tomorrow. Remember in the movie "American President,"
where Michael Douglas says, "I was so busy keeping my job, I
forgot to do my job"?
If we learned anything on
election day, it's that the government of the people, by the
people and for the people, NEEDS the people.
Here's our window of
opportunity. I fervently hope that my instincts were correct
and this American President will reach across the aisle and
bring everyone to the table. And it is my prayer that everyone
will come to that table and take their seat.
We have a lot of work to
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of the news commentators said you will never forget where
you were when the election was called last night. What
else? I know I'll always remember seeing Jesse Jackson
with tears flowing down his face and Oprah peeking
through the crowd in Grant Park.
particular memories will you be filing away? Share them with us
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Walk It Off
Did your candidate win? Are you pleased with the
election results? If so, congratulations! You'll feel
good for some time to come.
But, what if your candidate did not win? How will you deal with
that disappointment? I can think of many, many, many ways to
deal with disappointment...but as a fitness professional, I
come back to the idea that with any bad news, you should
probably walk it off. Or burn it off with some cardio. If you
choose to burn it off, you should start feeling better in about
If you choose to walk, it might take a little longer, but
hopefully, you'll be outdoors enjoying the scenery and maybe
even taking in a little sunshine for some badly needed Vitamin
D. Focus on what you're doing. Give your brain a rest. Feel
your legs move, listen to your soft footfall and
As Soren Kierkegaard said:
"Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day
I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from
every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts,
and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk
away from it."
Either way, you'll be doing your body and your head a favor by
removing the disappointment chemicals from your cells. Remember
to drink water. And keep walking!
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the Best of Nights --- It Was the Worst of
Years ago, I
lived and worked on a steamboat on the Mississippi River,
complete with three-story glass windows overlooking the bright
red paddlewheel and a calliope that could be heard for as much
as five miles. I have many wonderful memories of that time and
a few, while not as wonderful, no less memorable.
I remember getting off the
boat in St. Paul for a short vacation. I went ashore at the
last minute, so I was there as they pulled away from the dock
and headed downriver, back to New Orleans. It was the first
time I had ever stood and watched them sail away. People were
excitedly waving from the railings. The calliope was playing
"Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans". All of my
friends were busily working.
Standing there, watching
them all sail away was one of the saddest moments of my life.
For that brief instant, I felt totally bereft.
I hadn't thought about
that for years. Not until last night. Not until I was watching
what seemed like the entire country celebrating the triumph of
hope --- hearing them chant "yes we did" --- and knowing that
we didn't. As Americans, we share in the promise
of this new administration and this new president who talks
about inclusiveness and equal opportunity for all. But as gay
Americans, we were once again left standing on the dock. The
guarantee of equality still doesn't welcome us
We suffered devastating
losses in Florida, Arizona and California. In Arkansas, they
even went as far as voting to not allow us to adopt or even
serve as foster parents. More money was thrown into these
initiatives than ever before on any social issue. And, for the
life of me, I can not see what was won.
Already the Task Force and
HRC are regrouping and focusing on the next step. There will be
more to say but, for me, it will have to be another
Right now, I think I need
to go for that walk.