My community is among others under serious attack by the current Administration. It’s painful to witness that the very hard-won freedoms our community has struggled piece by piece to achieve are at grave risk. Whether by executive order, aided by cohorts in the Senate, or by packing the Supreme Court, our freedoms are being hacked away.
I never dreamed I would ever have to write such words as those in the above paragraph. However, to remain silent in times like these is to endorse by default the actions of leaders who trample upon the rights of others by fiat. This is no time to passively sit in the bleachers and watch as the rule of law that has held the United States together as a nation is disregarded and overruled.
The bully-pulpit that should be used against foreign adversaries has been directed towards law-abiding American citizens. If the Administration and its enablers do not like certain types of people, it openly advocates against and seemingly incites legal and criminal physical violence against the selected out-groups. There appears to be deliberate use of divisiveness to create discord in the country.
From the viewpoint of a member of the LGBT community, this feels like a clear and present danger to me and others like me. Additionally, radical factions of the majority religion have been asserting a dubious version of “religious freedom” as a way to subvert our community’s freedom. Such things that most people give little thought about, such as ordering a cake to needing medical care can be denied by people claiming “religious freedom” to do so.
Thankfully, allies of our community and of other minorities understand that the curtailment of our freedoms is terrible. They understand that when one group of people lose their freedoms, all citizens’ freedoms are also at high risk. History bears this out.
As much as I would rather write a happy-go-lucky feature fluff piece to share on the weekend, I cannot, in good conscience, sweep these worries under my carpet. LGBT people from across several generations, including my own, along with friends, allies, and myself have been investing blood, sweat, and tears to attain the freedoms that are finally, legally ours. These are freedoms we do not take for granted.
Today, we choose to live positive, fulfilling lives. We have worked hard to get over the effects of bigotry, homophobia, pain, and the negativity directed at us. We fully intend to man and woman the ramparts in our continuing struggles for freedom and equality.
Any erosion of freedom is a threat to the viability of our nation. We are all entitled to enjoy the freedoms that come with being Americans. These freedoms give fullness and meaning to life. Everybody has the right to criticize those who deny the humanity of others. Everybody has the right to embrace their own and each other’s humanity. We all share in the responsibility to see that freedom is equally enjoyed by all members of our society and not unevenly distributed among the powerful few.
Through the years of my activism, I’ve learned the hard lesson that fear limits me and my vision. Bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and other hatreds are blinders to what can be achieved by an enlightened nation. Now is one of those times in our country’s history that we are called upon to transform hatred and fear into freedom and liberty for all.
Freedom is never permanently achieved. It must be carefully tended. The struggles for freedom sometimes must be re-fought. The oppression of the black community, Native American community, women, the elderly, LGBT community, members of minority religions, non-believers, the disabled, and others can and must be overcome if we are to remain a healthy, viable democratic republic.
If and when I lose my freedom, yours will be in dire danger of being snatched away, too. Freedom and Liberty for All is more than just a catch-phrase. Freedom and Liberty for All is the foundational ideal of this nation.
The journey to restore and retain freedom is beset with political and religious slogans as hazards. Apathy lurks as our internal saboteur. Wise travelers know their abilities, limitations, talents, and inner worth. This knowledge empowers them to walk the bright path of compassion and equality for all.