Contemporary Expression


Post Election Muse
November 10, 2006, 4:14 pm
Filed under: candidates, change

Post Election Musings are all the rage. When I sat down to decide what to say I read over Randy Tarkington’s note to the Vote No volunteers in Tennessee and relaized he said everything I wanted to say – so here it is:

“As I am sure you all know, the votes are in and Amendment 1 passed in Tennessee. Like all of you, on many levels I am very disappointed with the final numbers. On the other hand, we cannot let those overshadow all the good that has happened. Before Amendment 1, we were not connected as a state. Now, across Tennessee, we have made friends and we are better prepared for the next battle. It is sad to say, but there will most certainly be further battles. Next time, we are better prepared. We can also take some solace in the fact that the Tennessee amendment did not shut the door on civil unions or domestic partnerships. It is a small consolation but it is one we can take with us. We can also celebrate the election of Steve Cohen to the Congress. He has been a true friend to the GLBT community and it is so great to have someone in Washington from Tennessee who will support our efforts for equality. We won several precincts in Davidson and Knox County. Overall, we got 32% support in Davidson County and almost 30% in Knox County. I think it is progress that 1 of every 3 people in those counties stood for equality. However, we clearly have much work to do in small towns across our state. We must find ways to come together throughout Tennessee whether it be potlucks, coffee houses, or houses of worship. There is much work to be done all across the state and we must do it neighborhood by neighborhood. We have so many faith leaders who endorsed our campaign. In addition, 11 congregations supported us and sent a clear message that GLBT persons are welcome in their churches and synagogues. That is a major victory to know that we can find places to worship and be loved and accepted as the persons that we are. I think that is a major step forward in Tennessee. Speaking of churches, I have to state my profound disappointment with some of the things I saw on Election Day. In Davidson County, over 1/3 of polling places were churches. Several of these churches had on their outdoor signs messages proclaiming their support for Amendment 1. We should all be allowed to vote in locations that are neutral. Please join me in writing the Division of Elections and their Director Brook Thompson (tennessee.elections@state.tn.us) and demand elections which are fair. Clearly, this is not the reason for the results of the election; however, we deserve a fair election and we should demand it. Nationally, we won in Arizona where for the first time, a marriage amendment was defeated. In addition, the number of Americans voting No to these Amendments was considerably higher than in 2004. The days of using marriage amendments as political wedges may be coming to an end. We should all celebrate the defeat of Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania who has built his career on his anti-gay and intolerant record. Once again, thank all of you for your dedication and support. As I move forward, that is what I take with me. I will forget the nasty phone calls or even the final tally. Instead, I will take with me the Stand For ALL Families event or Writers Helping Out in Nashville. I will remember the hard work of all the great people at Initiative Fairness in Memphis or the congregation of the Oak Ridge UU church who wrapped their church in ribbon and declared it a hate-free area. I look forward with great hope because of all of the hard work on college campuses across Tennessee. My life has been so enriched by the volunteers who came to the headquarters and answered calls, worked the polls, hosted house parties, or just stopped in to pick up a yard sign and say thank you. Let us not forget the disappointment of the vote count but focus moving forward on all the good that has come. Finally, continue your support of the Tennessee Equality Project. If you are not officially a member, join today. There is much work to be done. TEP is ready to move forward and continue the fight for equality for all Tennesseans. Please be a part of that effort by becoming a member, hosting a house party, participating in the Advancing Equality Day on the Hill on Tuesday (February 20), attending a Lobbying 101 workshop (locations to be announced soon), making a financial contribution, or considering serving on the TEP Board of Directors. I assure you that what you will receive from your involvement will far exceed what you give. Personally, this experience is one I will never forgot. So many of you have changed my life forever and I am forever grateful. I will take all of that with me wherever I go and because of you, I know that we will prevail in Tennessee. As you might have noticed, I like to find inspiration from the words of wisdom of some of the great thinkers and leaders who have come before us. So, I close with these words with much gratitude and hope for the future. These are the words of Henry David Thoreau who said, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost: that is where they should be. Now, put foundations under them.”
Let us all work together to do just that.”

Randy TarkingtonCampaign Manager, Vote NO on 1

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