Civil Rights….What a Joke

27 Oct

This one has been stewing for a couple of days now.

I read a quote on the Facebook page of a mentor of mine the other day that I thought I could shake but the longer I let it go, the more it bothers me.  The quote was from a Tony winning Playwright, Doug Wright,

“I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they’re voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice, and say, “My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood.” It’s like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movements, and apologizing for his racism. You’re still complicit. You’re still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don’t get to walk away clean, because you say you “disagree” with your candidate on these issues.”

Oh, where to start?  The quote was on the page of a woman who I respect very much, a fellow blogger, who happens to be a lesbian.  I didn’t respond to the quote, I’ve never really been outspoken of my political views on my Facebook.  If the truth be known, I really don’t have much need for Obama or Romney.  It’s what my father always described as picking the lesser of two evils.  Neither one of them are any good, neither one of them are going to follow through with any promises that they may during the election, although they will both give the illusion of doing so, but you have to pick one, so you have to decide which is the least worse of the two.

But this quote just stuck in my crawl and I can’t shake it.  Let me preface this by saying that I am a bi-sexual woman in a loving, healthy heterosexual relationship.  I have, until very recently, kept my sexuality to myself, allowing only a handful of people to know the truth.  Even with that said, my sexuality is my business and no one elses so you are not likely to find me marching in the next pride parade (besides, I am not into crowds anyways).  My best friend of 15 years is a gay man so to say that I am biased should be an understatement.

Yet, I find this quote offensive.

I have recently come to the realization that I can finally label myself when it comes to a political party.  I am a Libertarian.  In layman’s terms, a Libertarian is a stripped down Republican.  I believe in most conservative ideologies but I believe that the government has no place in telling anyone that they can or can’t marry, that they can or can’t have total say over their bodies.  These ideas are religious ideology and should be left to the church.  If the government is to have any true credibility they need to stay out of the church and the church needs to stay out of the government.  I believe that anyone should be able to marry anyone they choose with no interference from the government.

With that said I have to look at this from the point of view of a realist.  While we remain in a two-party government system this is the way things will remain.  Meanwhile, in other news, the unemployment rate is higher than it has been in decades, job creation has stalled, my pay is not enough to support my family and my taxes are too high.  Jobs are being shipped overseas at an astounding rate, our companies seem to find it ethical to support the economies of India and Mexico and China rather than to take care of our own people and we as a country have just let them do this.  What jobs we do have left are rapidly being taken by illegal immigrants.  Health care, don’t even get me started on this one.  Every time I have been in a hospital waiting room the vast majority of the sick have been unable to speak English (and I am not just talking about Mexicans) and I know that most of them don’t have insurance so they are not paying their bills when they take their passel of children home.  Yet, my President wants to MAKE me get health insurance and then penalize me every year that I don’t have it and he is working to make it easier for the illegal immigrants to come here, legally now, but chances are they won’t face that same penalty.

There is the state of our America, on the Titanic, slowly sinking to the bottom of the ocean with not enough lifeboats and the few we have filling up with the rich (Remember the scene in the movie where Cal snatches up the little peasant girl so he can have a seat on the lifeboat and the mate lets him go even though he knows that the little girl is obviously not his) its kinda like that. So, this Doug Wright, a man who I suspect is not struggling much for money, who is not worried about the state of the economy or the jobs situation because his money comes from the Cal Hockley’s of the world and they are not worried about their jobs so much because the President who touted “Change” bailed them out of their financial woes, so of course Doug Wright can find nothing else to worry about then the civil rights of homosexuals.

Civil Rights…. What a joke!!

What is Civil Rights anyways?  The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as,

“The rights belonging to an individual by virtue of citizenship, especially the fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and by subsequent acts of Congress, including civil liberties, due process, equal protection of the laws, and freedom from discrimination.”

Let’s speak of the 13th and 14th amendments of the Constitution, if we may.  These two amendments were specifically written to protect the rights of African-American slaves.  The 13th amendment makes slavery illegal and the 14th amendment basically boils down to this, anyone born in the USA is an American citizen and Congress can’t make any laws saying otherwise; anyone born here is considered 100% a person when it comes to counting the constituents for voting purposes, no one who has committed treason against the USA can hold any government office, the Confederate states were up the creek without a paddle when it came to their war debt and the Congress had all the power in the world to enforce these policies.  So, I am wondering how this passage of legislation has come to serve as the holy grail of sorts for everyone else wanting any kind of protection under the guise of civil rights.

If the truth be known, there is no such thing as pure civil rights.  Chances are pretty good that if you defend one group’s civil rights then you are probably stepping on the toes of someone else’s civil rights.  In order to have true civil rights then everyone should have the same liberties as everyone else but you can’t do that.  Take for example, how is it OK for a Black person to use the “N” word but if a White person does we are violating the civil rights of the Black people.  Look at this example, really look at it.  By defending the Black people’s right to use that word and not allowing White people to use it you are violating the civil rights of the White people by denying them their freedom of speech.

It’s a Catch 22, you can’t protect one without violating the other.

Back to the topic at hand, take my best friend, I love him to death and when he finds “the one” I want to be able to give him the wedding of his dreams, I want to spoil his children, and I want him to be able to hold his lovers hand as he crosses over from this world and takes his final breath. I want for him all the things that I want for myself no matter who I make that final step with.  To deny anyone these rights, privileges and opportunities is inherently wrong.  The way to correct this dilemma is to remove the church from the government.

The concept of separation goes back to 1802.  Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying that,

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people who declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

The actual concept of separation is usually credited to John Locke and his ideology of the social contract.  Locke believed that government lacked authority in the realm of individual conscience, as this was something rational people could not cede to the government for it or others to control. For Locke, this created a natural right in the liberty of conscience, which he argued must therefore remain protected from any government authority.  In fact, in 1797, the US government ratified the Treaty of Tripoli which made clear that,

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…. that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

The courts have handed down decisions protecting the rights of the atheists to not be subject to prayer in school or to have to say “under God” in the pledge of allegiance but we will allow our government to tell us that abortion and gay marriage should not be legal.  These are not political issues, they are moral issues to be decided by individual churches and parishes.  Should church “A” decided that they don’t believe in gay marriage or abortion then that is their moral right to do so.  If church “B” should decided that they don’t have a problem with these issues then more power to them, they can perform all the gay marriages that will be happening.  But to allow church “A” to dictate to the rest of the country that their opinion is the only one that matters and therefore should be law is just as unethical as the government saying that gay marriage and abortion should be illegal.

But to deny that my pay check and tax rate are not as important as the rights of LGBT community is absurd.  My ability to support myself and my family are of GREAT importance to me and should be to any one of the millions of people out there who are struggling to make ends meet from week to week.  So if that means that I, a member of the LGBT community, am perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia then so be it.  Until we fully separate church from the state then these issues will never be resolved completely.

I’ve not found the closure that I had hoped for from this blog.  I still feel offended and if the truth be known, I am now afraid that I have probably offended someone else.  I guess that is why they say that opinions are like assholes, everyone has one…. And they usually stink.

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