American’s overwhelmingly agreed that it is time to elect the first African American President because he was the most qualified candidate for the position. After over 200 years, we have come to terms with the issue of race being a barrier to lead the country.
While it may seem that as a country we think progressively, it is ironic how not always so progressively we think as individual states.
What else are we American’s saying?
The good news is that about 133.3 million people cast ballots — or about 62.5% of the electorate. In 1964 when Americans elected Democrat Lyndon Johnson in a landslide less than a year after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, turnout was 62.8%.
- In California, Proposition Eight, which would have eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry, lost 53 percent to 47 percent. In May, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex unions. California voters have put a stop to gay marriage, creating uncertainty about the legal status of 18,000 same-sex couples who tied the knot since May.
- Arizona and Florida also approved constitutional amendments recognizing marriage only as a union between one man and one woman. In Arizona, Proposition 102 passed with 56 percent of the vote. Florida voters approved that state’s amendment, 62 percent to 38 percent.
Arizona, California and Florida were the only states to weigh constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions, down from 11 states in the 2004 election.
Who knew this was even a problem in Arkansas?
57% of voters in Arkansas supported a measure to prohibit unmarried sexual partners from adopting children or from serving as foster parents. The measure specifies that the prohibition applies to opposite-sex as well as same-sex couples.
Colorado evidently needed a change.
The once red state, voted blue with 53% of the vote going to Obama. Voters in Colorado rejected a measure defining a person to “include any human being from the moment of fertilization,” which would have applied to sections of the Colorado Constitution that protect “natural and essential rights of persons.”
Is it time to end affirmative action and judge everyone an an equal basis of qualifications and not heritage? Is America ready to do this?
Colorado also had an affirmative action proposal which was based on the idea that preferences based on race or gender are no longer needed. Colorado voters appeared to be almost evenly split on the affirmative action issue, the measure was failed 51-49%.
Not unlike the Colorado initiative in theory, voters in Nebraska approved a measure prohibiting state governments from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to people based on race, ethnicity, color, sex or national origin. The vote effectively bans affirmative action programs in the state.
Other notable initiatives;
- South Dakota rejected a proposal to prohibit abortions except in cases of rape or incest or where the mother’s life or health is at risk.
- In Michigan, voters chose to amend the state constitution to permit human embryonic stem cell research with certain restrictions. The embryos, which must have been created for fertility treatment purposes, would have to have been discarded otherwise, and they may not be used more than 14 days after cell division has begun.
- Medical marijuana won in two states. Michigan became the 13th state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, with 63 percent of the vote. Voters in Massachusetts approved an initiative to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
- In Washington, 58 percent of voters supported an initiative to allow adults with six months or less to live to request lethal medication prescribed by a physician. A physician participating “in good faith” with the request would not risk criminal prosecution.
- Massachusetts, voters rejected a measure to cut the state personal income tax rate in half for 2009 and eliminate the state personal income tax starting in 2010.
- South Carolina voters supported an amendment to its constitution that changes the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16. Isn’t it 18 elsewhere?
- Missouri voted to make English the state’s official language.
Some of these initiatives may seem a bit silly to some of us. Do we really need to let everyone know that our state speaks English? In reality, if a politician wants the Spanish speaking vote or if a business wants the Spanish speaking dollar, guess what, se habla espanol.
Gay Marriage is something that I’m not as concerned about as I am about getting out of two wars and a recession.
I suppose that now that the election is over and Sarah Palin has returned to Alaska, we can get on with who we really are. Americans looking forward to a Thanksgiving feast.