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Democrats Do Not Win --- America Wins!

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

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 planet.

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 true;

"A house divided against itself cannot stand"

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 unite us.

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 do.

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One 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.

What particular memories will you be filing away? Share them with us at admin@onthegayhorizon.com  .

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 Walk It Off

By:  Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher,  On the Gay Horizon

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 30 minutes.

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 breathe!

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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It Was the Best of Nights --- It Was the Worst of Nights

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 aboard.

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 day.

Right now, I think I need to go for that walk.



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