A colleague and reader of this blog posted Amina’s “Ah non giunge” to Facebook last night, writing that after “months of stomach-churning terror” it seemed apt. He chose the 1957 Cologne performance, which I prefer; this is from La Scala in 1955 and features the crazy ornamentations wrought by Leonard Bernstein.
Can you imagine singing this at the end of a long “trapeze-rôle” opera, to borrow a phrase from Callas?
I am still cranky (behind on my work, too) after Sandy. I know some people still without power, and many New Yorkers and people in surrounding states lost everything.
Some of my friends here in Manhattan waited on line for three hours in order to vote. I’m not sure why the waits were so long this time around. One reason may be that we used paper ballots, supposedly the voting method least vulnerable to tampering. That said, anyone who doesn’t have an understanding employer or cannot spend hours away from an ailing family member is effectively disenfranchised.
I am exhausted and hung over with disbelief and joy following the election. At roughly 2:00 a.m. today I was in tears as I listened to President Obama speak these words:
This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities, our culture are the envy of all the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedoms which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.
Marriage equality was ratified in four more states. I lost friends to the AIDS genocide; I never thought that I would live to see the dignity and rights of LGBT Americans affirmed so resoundingly, just as I never thought that I would live to see an African-American President elected. As Andrew Sullivan wrote, November 6, 2012 was the single biggest night for gay rights in U.S. electoral history.
Women account for 20% of the incoming U.S. Senate. That’s still too little, but we’re moving in the right direction. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin will be our first openly gay Senator. Her sexual orientation was largely a non-issue in the campaign.
Tulsi Gabbard will be our first Hindu American Representative; she will also be the first female combat veteran to serve in Congress. When Vice President Biden administers the oath of office, she will place her hand on the Bhagavad Gita. (Representative Ellison took the oath of office using Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an; I wonder if her text will have a similarly illustrious history.) Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono will become the first Buddhist and the first Asian-American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.
New Hampshire has the nation’s first all-female Congressional delegation.
Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden: they tell us that President Obama and Vice President Biden love and respect strong, intelligent, accomplished women.
The evening’s only major blow: California failed to abolish the death penalty.
My favorite founding documents are the 1790 letters exchanged between Moses Seixas, warden of the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, and President George Washington, who wrote:
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
We’re not there yet, but last night brought us closer.
Yes we can.