As election season begins to rear its ugly, annoying head, over the next few weeks it can probably be guaranteed that you’re going to see a firestorm of debate, inflammatory comments and offensive points and counterpoints as everyone with a TV or computer chimes in on our two candidates. Plans for the future, promises to the country, speeches and baby-kissing sessions galore: that’s what we can expect. A mentioning of “the issues,” and then how “my opponent, Mr. So-and-so” won’t be able to fix them. Case closed. In light of the recession and painfully tight job market, you can bet that the economy will be the number one issue, because money, that’s what matters. What about the important stuff though?
Brace yourselves; to get it out of the way, once again I will alert you to the impending liberal bias. Strapped in? Wonderful. Regardless of who is president, we’re going to be fine. I promise. We’ve had Republicans, Democrats and Democratic-Republicans hold the office; we’ve had a Nixon, a Washington, a Bush (TWICE), a Clinton; we’ve had Johns, many a James, even a Calvin and a Barack. We’re still here. The country has not gone up in flames due to how awesome or how seemingly incompetent our president has been at his job. We have our country, we have our economy, we have our money: all is well. Wrong.
Let’s rewind for a moment. Our country, while wonderful in many regards, has a rather iffy track record when it comes to a certain group of people (white Anglo-Saxon Protestants) treating others (everyone else) unfairly. Discriminating against Irish and Italian immigrants and Jews, and throwing the Japanese into “internment camps” aside, the most visible, most well-known portion of that dark history is steeped in slavery and racial discrimination against African Americans. Even though it took us a few years, only a couple hundred, we finally got over that hump. It only took a Civil War and a major civil rights movement spanning over a decade: riots, protesting, demonstrations, Loving v. Virginia (the one where people finally decided that maybe it IS ok to marry someone with a different color skin than yours). We’re finally, for the most part, getting to the point where that’s not a huge issue. Almost.
Now in the present, we’ve got a similar storm rolling in, as more and more in the news you’ll be hearing it presented as “a major issue in this upcoming …” –– the LGBT community. Or, mainly, same-sex marriage as it pertains to LGBT couples. This is our civil rights movement, the one in which my generation will get to play a part. I try to keep up on my news, and luckily, to my knowledge, we haven’t had any riots or wide-scale violence, at least not on as grand a scale as the 1965-68 predecessor. Bullying, yes, suicides, tragically yes, but I am happy to say that I haven’t heard or seen police with shields and sticks beating a parade of LGBT community supporters.
The similarities between the two movements are simple in that it comes down to an issue of human rights: the opportunity to live a happy, free life however and with whomever you choose, so long as you don’t infringe upon the rights of others or hurt others. That, to me, seems to be common sense; everyone should have that. We, at the moment, have a president who mentioned that yeah, that is something we should have, that’s something he supports. We did it! But we’ve had other people, prominent, powerful and filthy rich people (Rick Perry) who have said “there’s something wrong when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” Good news, they can, they just can’t force others to do it, because that may fall under the infringement or hurting others category.
But this is an issue we’re being handed. A certain group of people (LGBT) being discriminated against by another (radical WASPs). I, for one, think it’d be a good idea to not have another bid for equality take a couple hundred of years to get up to speed so we, as an intelligent group of people with functioning brains and hearts, don’t have to look back and shake our heads. Think of how stupid those people with the “No integration” signs look in the pictures you see in your history textbooks. Think of how stupid those people with the “God Hates Fags” signs look today on the Internet.