I couldn’t sleep last night. Like millions (presumably) of other Americans, I knew the Supreme Court would be ruling on two same-sex marriage cases. I wanted to be there. Live. In person.
And I was.
Boom! As soon as the DOMA ruling came down, my friend told me. I screamed to other friends. We laughed. We cried. Then, the Prop 8 ruling happened. We shared our thoughts, our reminiscences. We traded songs, comments, told stories about how it personally affected us.
In short, we celebrated. Whoo hoo!
And I never left my bed.
We take it for granted now that we can all gather around our virtual campfires and be together during important moments like this—via email, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and all the other ways we connect online (I can’t begin to cover all places).
In the old days of maybe even a year or two ago, we might have gathered around a TV set. Our phones would be ringing off the hook. That happened today as well; I got calls and texts. And it was great. Family members wanted to let me know that the decision came down. They wanted to celebrate with me. Friends wanted to cheer over the phone lines.
But the online world, especially Facebook, gave me something else: crowds, information, and most importantly, community.
All morning I’ve been posting thoughts and observations, liking people’s posts, and reveling in the joy that our country took two huge steps toward equality. And guess what? Just about everyone on my Facebook feed is pretty damn happy. I’m reading celebratory posts from friends, family, coworkers, and people I’ve never met.
I’m sure that on other pages, people are bemoaning the joint decisions. I saw poor Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council decrying it on CNN (can we say schadenfreude?) I’m sure that my feed has something to do with the fact that bigots were laying low this morning; I’m sure I’m also getting a biased look at the world, just as I would if I were standing in front of City Hall in San Francisco.
I know for those of us who are hyper-connected, this column seems, well, obvious. I mean, we’re online all the time. If you’ve made it this far down without checking your Twitter feed, I’d be surprised. Am I right? Chances are pretty good you’re reading the latest on the SCOTUS blog in another window.
This is the way we live.
I do know people who are—gasp—not wired all the time. They don’t walk around with their cell phones glued to their faces. They aren’t overwhelmed by alerts and dings. They don’t know that Google celebrated this victory with its own little art. They don’t constantly update their statuses. They don’t tweet about what they think, what they eat and where they go.
Often, I admire them, as I think about my own need to disconnect more often.
But today? I felt sorry for them. Because unless you were standing on the steps of the Supreme Court, this great online land of ours was the only place to be.
Janet Kornblum is a journalist and media trainer, celebrating today on and offline and looking forward to a season of weddings and parties.
Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr