Four years ago we suggested that the current occupant of the White House would be a total disaster for gay men and women in the USA and those around the world. We claimed he would elect a conservative to the Supreme Court and then equal marriage, gay equality under the law, and gay human rights could all be under threat.
Well he did exactly that - not once, but twice. Two years ago Brett Kavanaugh went on to the Supreme Court and now it's Amy Coney Barrett, who's even more right wing and dangerous than Kavanaugh. We all now just hold our collective breath. It's not just Americans who need worry, the bigotry of the USA will be seen by many as a justification for other countries to follow suit.

Four years ago there were 218,959,000 people eligible to vote in the USA and yet only 138 million of them actually did. This time around the Democratic voter-targeting firm Catalist have projected that about 156 million people could vote in 2020, an enormous increase from last time. Likewise, Public Opinion Strategies, a leading Republican polling firm, recently forecast that the 2020 contest could produce a massive turnout that is also unprecedentedly diverse.

"I think we are heading for a record presidential turnout at least in the modern era, and by that I mean since the franchise went to 18-year-olds", in 1972, says Glen Bolger, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies. "And I mean not only in total numbers [but also] in terms of the percentage of eligible voters [who turn out]. The emotion behind politics is sky-high, and I don't think it's just on one side. I think it's on both sides."

This coming Tuesday, the 3rd November, could well see a radical change of direction for the USA and an end to the dangerous madness of the current administration.

Democrat Joe Biden, the former Vice President who served alongside Barack Obama 12 years ago, could sweep to power taking control of both Houses of Congress. This could well be another momentous decision taken by the American people just as in 2008 when they elected their first ever black President.

Looking back, it was for 8 years a difficult administration for Obama and Biden, marred by some appalling behaviour by those in the House of Representatives and the Senate who blocked many of the reforms that the two of them hoped to achieve. Now the Democrats have a chance to turn the tables - if they are successful in gaining both Houses they can push ahead with the reforms that are so badly needed in today's America. Tuesday will be another big day in the USA and there's little doubt that the result is going to hotly contested and disputed.

So as Americans make their decision, we turn the clock back exactly 12 years. We remember the hope and history of those days with Russell Olivera Jr. In 2008, Russell was Executive Director & Founder of QBliss the not for profit gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersexed, and their allies community and life website and he reflected on Barack Obama's historic victory which he believed at the time had the potential to reshape America.

As I sit and watch history change before my eyes, I think of all that have come before, all that have seen so much through their lives, who now witness something they believed they would not see in their lifetime.

Those people lost faith in us all. I know that like those people I have had moments in my life that I lost faith in us. We have seen in recent years the ugly truths that have been given to us. We have watched a world lose faith in us and stood by watching injustice after injustice. We have been heavy hearted, hurt, exhausted, and have given up. We wanted change.

Now, we stand in a moment in history that will never be seen again, we have captured the attention of the world in a positive light, we found change, we have a new hero, a man named Barack Obama…a man that has brought hope to the broken dreams of what America is and can be again. We have we found our new hope for a changed America. One where colour lines may in fact be gone. A place we can again be proud of.

Barack Obama represents so many things to so many different kinds of people. An African American president opens the door and shows us all, our kids and our future that for the first time in our history anyone can truly be president of this beautiful country, there is room at the table for all. What will the future be, what will happen tomorrow, the next day, next week, next month, and next year?

Now, as I sit and watch what will be next I am certain that history is moving forward, someday we can have a president of any race, any gender, any religion, and any sexual orientation. I believe these things are possible, with hope, faith, love, tolerance and a drive from us all to move forward and come together as one family. Unity is power if we let it be.

Russell Olivera Jnr was the Executive Director & Founder of QBliss the not for profit gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersexed, and their allies community and life website. Just as Barack Obama took office in 2009, QBliss celebrated their 10 year anniversary.

 

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