I am sure I am not the only one tossing and turning tonight, given that it is past midnight and it is now officially Election Day. My heart is heavy with anticipation and worry and all I can do is let go and trust in the process, which isn’t easy, given that voter fraud in this election is a real concern.
As I try to fall asleep and prepare for the surgery I have in the morning, I can’t help to think back to what happened to Tray, my husband, roughly a year ago. As some of you remember, Tray suffered severe complications after surgery. He was on the strongest pain medications the hospital could give, and at the highest dosages, and he was still screaming at the top of his lungs. The only relief he got was when they finally just gave him so many medications he couldn’t remain conscious. As if seeing him in so much pain didn’t crush my heart enough, I remember when a doctor walked in and told me that Tray needed emergency surgery or he’d lose both legs and both kidneys. As his medical Power of Attorney, signing the consent forms was the easy part. The hardest part was when they woke Tray up just enough for me to tell him. I just held his hand and told him that the doctors figured out the problem and that he needed emergency surgery on both legs. He looked at me with years streaming down his face and just said: “Please don’t let me die.”
Thankfully, after three surgeries in under a week, Tray began to heal. He had to learn to walk again, and crossed every obstacle like a champ.
For any spouse that has had to watch their loved one suffer, and wasn’t able to do anything to “fix” them–you know this: in those moments, all you can do is be there. Every time he opened his eyes, I was there holding his hand. With all of the things he had to worry about, being alone was never one of them.
In the past four years, President Obama made an executive order that all hospitals receiving federal funds must allow visitation for same-sex couples. In the past few weeks, Mitt Romney announced that he thought hospital visitation was a “privilege” and not a right for same-sex couples and that hospitals should not be obligated to allow visitation for spouses/partners of same-sex couples. If he is elected, he intends to reverse this order. My heart hurts thinking of what that would have meant for me and my husband just one year ago.
Mitt Romney also said that “it’s not right” that same-sex couples are parenting children and that he will work to write marriage discrimination into the US constitution. Given that whoever is elected today will likely appoint a couple of Supreme Court justices, the consequences of this election are real. Rights for LGBTQ individuals are one of the biggest civil rights battles of our time, and I strongly believe that it is a battle that will be won in the courts. That becomes impossible with Supreme Court justices appointed by Romney.
I hope that by this time tomorrow, I am rejoicing in a country that decided to move forward, and not backwards. Mitt Romney is racist, sexist, homophobic, and classist, so unless you’re a wealthy, heterosexual white Christian man, there’s a good chance his election would bring you back a solid 50-100 years. Please don’t let that happen.
It is nights like this that I appreciate the beauty I have in my life and my husbands snoring sounds more like music than a dying animal. It is nights like this when I am reminded of how I am a second class citizen in America, that I hold on tightly to what I have.
And I leave with my favorite quote from the week:
“I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they’re voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice, and say, “My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood.” It’s like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movements, and apologizing for his racism. You’re still complicit. You’re still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don’t get to walk away clean, because you say you “disagree” with your candidate on these issues.”