I honestly, and perhaps naively, believed that the worst thing that would happen this November would be getting swine ‘flu. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had reluctantly agreed to let Russia take his uranium and France deal with it, SarahPalin endorsed Rick Perry instead of herself for once; there was a bit of Christmas spirit in the air, the possibility of a truce between the ever-warring forces of conservatism and progress, the dream that maybe, we could wait until the air gets a little warmer before marching all over town in favor of gay rights. For a little while, I believed that the world could give me some rest.

And I started coughing.

Today is Guy Fawkes’ Day in Europe, a day during which we are reminded that “gunpowder treason and plot” – Guy Fawkes had attempted to blow up Westminster – generally ends up lethally. Guy Fawkes died after being sentenced to death, drawn and quartered. Back in seventeenth century England, opponents to monarchy and advocates of popular upheaval died from their torture-inflicted wounds. Nowadays, referendums – the most democratic means available in the western hemisphere to create legislation – is used to withdraw rights from a portion of the population, to celebrate the victory of a majority trempling over the minority, and to ensure the continuation of segregation. The state of Maine has voted yes, albeit by a small margin, on Proposition One, asking to ban gay marriage.

A CNN spokesman highlighted the fact that submitted to public opinion, slavery would be legalized one more time. What is it about democracy these days that makes us hate popular opinion? What is it about sudden political activism that make us long for apathy? Remember, remember, the fifth of November, the night of gunpowder treason and plot. Naomi Wolf warned us against the fascist winds swooping the land of the founding fathers and raising inequality to the top of the Constitution, another Boston Tea Party filled by gun-toting Republicans afraid of their own so-called socialist shadows and backed up by brain-absenteists such as Michele Buchanan and Sarah Palin. Is it the type of social lack of concern and complete dismantlement of popular solidarity that drove us to vote on other people’s private lives?

I had to repress instant nausea upon seeing the results of the New Jersey governor election: outsider Jon Corzine, despite being backed by beautifully progressive and warm minds such as Melissa Harris-Lacewell, lost to another Republican, Daggett. Is it GOP Gloating Week all of a sudden? I am starting to wonder – is the Obamascare real after all, on those shores that had carried so much hope for change in the last year, suddenly afraid by the possibility of health care coverage and governmental control? Propaganda was so rife – and so well crafted – that it turned the people against what they had precisely requested from their leader, what they had called for all these years, what Clinton had so miserably failed to provide. Suddenly, Congress is being more progressive than voters; Iran is more willing to compromise than Americans; and Italians are asking for the President’s accountability while Guantanamo Bay detainees are still not given any date for trial, let alone release. The world has been turned upside down; the Land of the Free is the Land of the Gullible, and as LGBT members and supporters alike are mourning their bleak future, the associations promoting hate nationwide are rejoicing in their bigotry.

As contagious as the swine flu that swept me off my feet, may this winter of hate be quick to pass, and a new spring, a new decade bloom in which voters will once again flood to the poll stations to stomp their feet and slam their wrists to demand what they had wanted: a responsible governance, equality for all, and most importantly, this happiness they were supposedly granted by a Constitution that’s been dragged into the gutter for years.  No, electors of New Jersey are not improving their standard of living: food charities in Trenton are still running out of donations, and the unemployement level is still rising to improbable heights.  The Statue of Liberty may have been drawn and quartered under the Patriot Act, but I see of no reason why the night of gunpowder treason and plot should ever be forgot.

Read. Educate yourself. Listen. Watch. Be active. And if a storm is brewing over the heads of Mormons everywhere, submitting propositions in every state – our eyes are on Iowa – it will soon be carrying the anger of the discarded minority the Pledge of Allegiance had sworn to protect. Happy Guy Fawkes day.

Advertisements