Monday, November 10, 2008

Still Afraid

As anyone who knows me can guess, I am thrilled with the outcome of our recent presidential election! However, some events that occurred that day leave me sad and afraid for the direction this country is going in.

Specifically, on election day, four states passed bills and amendments that promote hate, discrimination and prejudice. I am talking about the various anti-gay legislations that were passed in Florida, California, Arkansas and Arizona. I won't attempt to talk about the details of each, because honestly, I don't need to know all of of the intricacies of each to know that they are wrong.

I am reminded of how it might have felt in the very early days of Hitlers reign in Germany. I imagine that he had a small and vocal group of supporters, who were full of hate and irrational fear. I imagine that many non-Jews must have either been unaware of the movement, or felt complacent because it didn't effect them. I imagine that by the time it became clear to the general population, just how evil this man was, people felt powerless or too afraid to speak up against Hitlers army.

Now let's look at America in 2008: The small Christian fundamentalist Right has been allowed to speak loudly about their views. Most Hetero Americans are looking the other way. It's not our concern; it doesn't really effect us; we have enough other things to worry about (economy, the wars...)

And so because so many of us didn't stand up for basic human rights, many people in 4 states have lost their rights! Based on religious fears and arguments that are based in fear and hate. Does the wording "between Man and Woman" really justify and warrent such hate?

I am married to a great guy. We have 3 beautiful and healthy kids. We voted for Obama, we own a home, and have good jobs. Life is pretty darn good for us. We have nothing to gain or lose from the issue of gay rights. Right??? Wrong! We have every thing to gain or lose. I want to live in a society that is fair to all. I want to live in a society that does not foster hate or discrimination. I want my children to be free to be themselves (whoever that may be).

So on November 15, I will take part in this:

I hope you will do so too.

If our country does not reverse the course we are on with this issue, I fear that soon there will be people forced to walk around with rainbow stars attached to their shirts and coats: No longer allowed to enter a store or office through a front door, no longer allowed to sit at the front of the bus, and no longer allowed to be parents.

Let's speak up now, while we can.



KJ said...

Thanks Heidi. I will enjoy hearing about the event. There is one in Phoenix too. Unfortunately, Jess and I are unable to go. We did attend a protest last night.

PennyCandy said...

Gays are not the first group of people to be discriminated against in the United States and they won't be the last. As with all of the other groups this will have to work its way through the court system and eventually arrive at the Supreme Court. To compare the U.S. to Hitler's reign is a bit melodramatic. After World War I Hitler built his base and he told the German people what they wanted to hear; which was that they had been "stabbed in the back" by the military and that Germany had not lost the war the military leaders just decided it was easier to surrender. They had been a monarchy since Germany was an organzied state and most of the German people resented the style of government that had been forced on them by the Allies. Even more than that they resented the reperations that they had to pay to the allies for the war damages that they caused and that they had lost key territory. Hitler offered a way to get all of that back and more and he gave them someone to blame. In Germany the perfect storm was brewing and WWII was in fact the completion of WWI. I also think that even rational people will get their backs up if they are being compared to the Nazi's and the support that they would have given to the gay community dries up because the attitude becomes why should I help and support you if you are going to insult me. Just my thoughts.

PennyCandy said...

Oops I have a couple of typos. I cut my finger open so it effects my skills at the keyboard.

HeidiTri's said...

The people who are being supportive are not being insulted. It is the people who are turning their backs while basic human rights are being taken away that offend me.

I was making the comparison that in Germany an entire group of people was condemmed and identified as second class, (then eventually non citizens) while the rest of the country turned away and ignored the issue.

If that's too extreme for you, we can compare it to the Japanese "internment camps" that were built here in America during that time. Again, an entire group of people were condemmed and had rights taken away because of irrational fear. The majority of Americans looked the other way, or were brainwashed into believing that it was a good idea. Or just didn't care enough to even know that it was happening.

Saying that this is not the first or last group to be discriminated against does not justify the discrimination, or provide a reason to remain silent. Yes, this will unfortunately go throught the court system. But, just like the woman's sufferage movement, and the civil rights movement, demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience will occur long before it gets to the court, and will hopefully move the process along.

Discrimination and hate are wrong. That's the bottom line. Do you chose to fight against them, remain silent about them, or actively perpetuate them? Those are the options as I see them.I chose to fight againsst them.

PennyCandy said...

Okay, yes the Japanese were placed in camps and that was an executive order and the goverment eventually made redress for those wrongs. This is different it was a democratic election and while the gay community and their supporters are upset with the outcome the voters spoke which is their right to do. So it will have to go too the courts. Democracy is not always pretty and it doesn't always go the way we want it to (the McCain people have 4 years under Obama and the democrats had 8 years under Bush) but it is better than many of the other choices. While I agree that the discrimination is disheartening it is going to take time for people to accept the change that is before them; integration did not happen over night and this will not happen over night either. I was not justifying the discrimination I was pointing out a fact; people are afraid of the unknown or the unfamiliar and that fear leads them to discrimination that is not going to change it is the way people are and because of that other groups will be discriminated against.

NP Diva said...

I'll be fighting against them, too, Mom.

HeidiTri's said...

Thanks Shay! That's my girl!! Is any thing being organized in NP?

HeidiTri's said...

For those who are following...
This conversation has continued via private email between PC, KJ and one of our very caring aunts.

It's been a great discussion, and I'd encourage others to share their thoughts. As KJ said, conversations are needed to help people hear all sides. I think it's important to think about this issue on personal levels. AS in, who do I know that this laws effect directly and negatively?