THE DYESSERTATION: 2012 election shows more liberal America

U.S. Rep. and Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) speaks at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Times Warner Cable Arena Thursday, September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)
U.S. Rep. and Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) speaks at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Times Warner Cable Arena Thursday, September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

Ashley Dye writes THE DYESSERTATION for the Daily News. Her views and opinions don't necessarily agree with those of the newspaper or The Daily.

The 2008 General Election was heralded as one of the most historic votes on record. But Tuesday night may have topped it.

The election results showed a more liberal mindset in the country. And I love it.

The 113th Congress will have a record number of female senators: 20, up from 17 this year.

Wisconsin, Nebraska, North Dakota, Hawaii and Massachusetts elected five new female senators — four Democrat and one Republican. Two women from Texas and Maine are retiring and men won their seats.

In the group of the five senators, Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) became the first openly gay senator. And Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) became the first Asian-American woman in the Senate.

The nation also has its first all-female Congressional delegation. The New Hampshire delegation joins its governor, Maggie Hassan.

And the firsts don’t stop there.

Illinois elected Democrat Tammy Duckworth, who is the first female veteran with disabilities and first Thai American to be elected to the House.

This, of course, does not mean that the gender gap is closing. The 2010 U.S. Census reported 50.9 percent of Americans are women, yet only 20 percent of the Senate is female.

To be honest, it’s ridiculous that it took this long for these firsts to happen.

But it’s better than having two women in the Senate, as it was 1991. It’s progress. I can only hope that in my life, the amount of women and men in Congress will equalize.

Outside of electing politicians, the fight for marriage equality and the legalization of marijuana gained victories.

Maryland, Maine and Washington’s ballots passed marriage equality by about a four-point margin in each state. The states joined six other states and Washington, D.C., that allow same-sex marriage.

The three states were the first to pass marriage equality by vote after defeats in 32 states since 1998. 

While Minnesota didn’t approve same-sex marriage, they voted against an amendment to their constitution banning marriage equality.

It’s truly a sign of the times – America is becoming more open-minded. These votes made me proud to live in the country. There’s nothing more reassuring than when my fellow American vote to see those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community as not second-class citizens, but people who deserve the same rights.

Washington wasn’t finished with liberal voting, though.

The Evergreen State and Colorado will allow adults to possess small amounts of marijuana.

When news broke, I saw tons of people post on social media sites about their thoughts. There were tons of bad puns, but there were some pretty good arguments for it.

Even though I don’t live in those states – and I definitely do not plan on taking a road trip to smoke pot there, like some have said on the Internet – I think it’s a great idea. I believe taxing marijuana could be beneficial to the economy.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens, since it challenges the federal drug law.

The stresses of Election Day melted away as I stopped focusing on the presidential election and saw the votes unfolding in America.

It’s a step in the right direction. The voters are helping the nation climb toward an America I won’t feel ashamed to live in.

When I look back, I’ll be able to say the first major election in which I was able to vote included so many strides for equality.

While not all of the elections went the way I wanted, the country did much better than I had expected.

And for that, I can say in an unsarcastic tone:

Thank you, America. 


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