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Don't Listen to Debbie Downers: Tuesday Was a Big Win


Anyone who thought a big blue wave would fix everything in an instant doesn't understand the history of this nation.

Today, you're going to see a lot of pundits and "very deep" on Twitter types tell you that this election was a complete disaster for Democrats and that doom is about to rain down upon all of our cursed heads. I want you to look that person in the eye and then kick them in the ding-a-ling.

Somewhere along the way political punditry figured out that "Democrats in disarray" is a take that is forever renewed with the rising of the morning sun and also pays really well -- it's something editors love to run because it draws eyes and reactions. This election should be etched into everyone's brain that those predictions of miraculous overwhelming victories only happen in Star Wars movies when they blow up Death Stars, and those unimaginably horrific defeats only happen in Star Wars movies where they don't.

No, liberals and progressives didn't win the Senate, but no one really predicted them to. I know everyone thought that Beto O'Rourke was the second coming of Jesus and Kennedy, but he was running in a deep red state. The last guy to lose there lost by more than a 16 percent difference, but Beto closed it to less than 3 percent. Sure, we all wanted him to win, especially all the media outlets who all told us this was the race to follow, but he didn't. However, now we got ourselves everyone's favorite new dream candidate for 2020 so I guess that balances out?

Meanwhile, we actually won back the House of Representatives. In order to do that we actually had to flip districts. Here in my own state of Oklahoma, we had a woman, Kendra Horn, flip a district that's been red since 1975. Nearly half a century of Republican control there ended with her win. And with the big victory in Congress comes all sorts of fun stuff, like the fact that the House has already said they kind of want to see Trump's tax returns, which we know is going to go over great with him.

Additionally, there were actually a lot of massive victories for LGBTQ people. Massachusetts by a huge margin passed a referendum to keep the law that banned discrimination on gender identity. Colorado elected the first openly gay governor in American history, and Kansas voted for Sharice Davids (pictured), a queer native American woman, to Congress. Additionally, there were a large number of LGBTQ candidates elected to state and local offices all over the country. Yes, quite a few were defeated, but so were some outspoken anti-LGBTQ people like frump queen and homophobic county clerk Kim Davis, as well as Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

Let's be real here, this was not going to be a super amazing victory. They're never super amazing victories. The huge wins in politics are usually once in a decade or more and most of the time they swing back and forth within a moderate window. Yes, some of these losses are heartbreaking and frustrating, but that's the fucking game.

If all it took was really hoping for a victory to get a victory we would all have literal participation trophies. Making real, lasting change is hard. I know that watching some of these bigotted trash goblins like Steve King in Iowa get reelected, or idiot crooks likes Brian Kemp in Georgia win, makes you think that it's impossible to ever change people's minds or make this world better, but let me remind you that not even a decade ago you couldn't get "gay" married in most of this country. Stacey Abrams ran as the first black woman to represent a major party in Georgia, something that honestly you wouldn't have seen just 20 years ago in that state. Georgia is the state that has Robert E. Lee chiseled into the side of a mountain that the KKK used to hold rallies on as a huge state park. And she still could win if it turns out Kemp rigged the election or if more ballots come in.

I know it may seem incredulous to us that anyone could still vote for Trumpist goons and bigots in this day and age but we know they do. We know they do it all the time. Hell, the majority of history in this country that isn't about wars is about overcoming idiots and bigots to make things better for everyone. We've got a 250-year history of it and we're not even close to being done.

You're not going to win each and every election and make change each and every time you want it. It's not that easy. It's never been that easy. People who tell you it's that easy are idiots. When they tell you that because everything isn't fixed after one election, everything is doomed, or that politicians are all idiots or crooks, they're trying to sell you on their own agenda and it's usually centered around listening to them or putting them in charge. There are going to be those folks who are going to take a huge dump over entire parts of the country for not voting how they wanted when some of these races were far closer than they have been in years or even decades. Screw those folks.

It's been 50 years since Stonewall and while we have the right to marry, we still don't have national job protections or freedom from discrimination by federal law. And what rights we've attained are being pushed back. But we do have rights that we've fought for over decades of grinding and toil.

Setbacks and attacks are always frightening and stressful, but not winning everything in one shot isn't a defeat. Change is a grind, a never-ending task that takes years, if not decades to achieve. It shouldn't be like that, but it is. That's the way it's always been because what we consider equal and fair is always changing. This is just the beginning of winning things back and setting them on the right course. Don't listen to the naysayers or shit-talkers. They're either already set, trying to sell you something, or too lazy to fight anyway.

AMANDA KERRI is an Oklahoma City-based writer and comedian, and a regular contributor to The Advocate. Follow her on Twitter @amanda_kerri.

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