Columns

OutLoud: 2009

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Audacious hopes for the New Year.

Sally74By Sally Sheklaw

I want a new president. I know we’ve just elected one, but I’m impatient. Besides, wishing for what’s already happening might somehow grease the karmic skids and make everything else I’m hoping for more likely to come true. Whatever it takes, I hope the change we believed in on election night pans out.

 What would happen if we all took time to envision the kind of world we want? Let’s go for it. Let’s believe that the promise of liberty and justice for all really does include all of us. Let’s dream big. Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding? Call me old school, but I hope it’s not too late for the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

 I hope our national priorities move toward ending militarism, racism, and poverty. I hope the promise of equal opportunity and human dignity becomes reality for everyone—youth, elders, people with disabilities, people who are incarcerated, immigrants, people who are poor, homeless, hungry, people of every religion and no religion.

 I hope we stay committed to withdrawing from wars, saving our planet, and building a sustainable economy. I hope CEO salaries go down and workers’ wages go up. I’m not afraid to say it, I hope we DO redistribute the wealth.

 I hope more people become community organizers and work for universal healthcare, affordable housing, and clean energy. I hope green jobs flourish, unem-ployment plummets, and unions grow stronger. I hope we re-regulate the auto industry, the corporate tax structure, insur-ance and pharmaceutical companies, and the media.

 I hope birth control is made as accessible as Viagra. I hope the diet and fashion industries’ obsession with thinness gives way to healthier, more realistic images of what’s beautiful, and that everyone stops hating their bodies. I hope AIDS becomes rarer than polio and that everyone who has HIV gets everything they need to stay well.

 I hope government dedicates itself to protecting the most vulnerable among us, and that it publicly acknowledges that those include lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex, and queer people. Especially LGBTIQ youth. I hope we get serious about preventing hate crimes.

 I hope the new commitment to education means good schools, with well-paid teachers, accessible to everyone. I hope we close the achievement gap. I hope that new federal standards will require women’s history, black history, immigrant history, indigenous history, and LGBTIQ history integrated into every school’s curriculum. I hope women’s sports receive the same funding and promotion as men’s. I hope no boy is ever again teased for being too swishy and no girl has to hold back out of fear of seeming too tough, too smart, or too strong. I hope trans kids get whatever support and medical services they need to become their true selves early in life, and I hope they can use whatever the hell bathroom they choose. I hope we’ll all feel free to express our gender and our love however we want without having our spirits—or worse—beaten out of us.

 I hope the new president appoints progressive Supremes to the high court and that they strike all unconstitutional laws from the books. I hope marriage equality becomes the law of the land. I hope, at long last, that LGBTIQ discrimination bites the dust.

 I hope my hopes are not a pipe dream. I hope you’ll express your hopes, too.

 And about that new president? I hope he’s kept safe. I hope our country will no longer be governed from an undisclosed location and that we’ll keep seeing him on TV and YouTube and all those cool T-shirts reminding us that change is not only possible, but inevitable, imminent, and already under way.

 Sally Sheklow hopes with her domestic partner in Eugene, Oregon.

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