America Isn’t Easy

In case you’ve missed it, a couple of huge decisions have been made over the last couple of months.  I’m talking about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality for LGBT people, and the removal of the Confederate Flag from a state building.

As you can imagine, both of these decisions have been met with resounding “Huzzahs!” and “Boos!”  I will state right now that I’m on the “Huzzah” side of both decisions, but the “Boos” are getting a lot of media attention lately (or, maybe it’s just that I know more conservative people than I thought).

People who are against LGBT equality, or the removal of the flag of the south, are screaming about how our country is going to Hell in a hand-basket, or how we’ve lost sight of what’s important in this country.  But what it sounds like to me is they’re thinking about it in a “you vs me” sort of way.  Like, “If you get your way, then I don’t, and that’s not fair.”

But the thing is that these recent decisions aren’t personal attacks, no matter how much some people are assuming them to be.  It’s not like the LGBT community hopes to abolish hetero relationships, nor is it that black people want to become the “superior” race.  They just want to be considered equal in this country of ours, which is exactly what our Declaration of Independence says they are in the first place.  It doesn’t say “You have the right to . . . only if you’re a white, straight male:”

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Women have already had to fight to be considered equal, and it’s generally accepted that this wording was just in keeping with the patriarchal mindset of the day, but if you substitute “people” for “men,” it doesn’t change the meaning at all.  EVERYONE has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!  That means black people, LGBT people, immigrants, women, etc.

And for those out there who might want to cite religious reasons to be against these decisions, check out this wonderful article by a Minister down in Texas, or this other great article on opinions.

I understand that change can be hard for some people (or several million, as it turns out), but change is also a good thing.  It wasn’t too long ago that women were only allowed to “work” in the home, or only when men were off fighting a war.  But now women run entire corporations, and even run for President of the U.S.  And there was a time when interracial marriages weren’t “allowed,” and people were actually afraid to acknowledge their love.  But now, it’s a big ol’ melting pot of love!  Who knows what good can come from LGBT people being allowed to marry and have their families recognized alongside other families?  And only good things can come from black people not feeling bigotry whenever they walk into a government building somewhere in the south.

But here’s something that people on the “Huzzah” side need to remember; change takes time and effort.  And BOTH sides need to heed the words of one of my favorite movie speeches . . . America isn’t easy:

America isn’t easy.
America is advanced citizenship.
You’ve got to want it bad,
Cuz it’s gonna put up a fight.
It’s gonna say,
“You want free speech?  Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage, and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.  You want to claim this land is the ‘Land of the Free?’  Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest.  Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms.  Then you can stand up and sing about the ‘Land of the Free.’

Click the image to see the full speech from The American President:

America Isn't Easy

A truer statement couldn’t be said about this country.  While it might be easier for countries like Norway, England, Spain, etc. to pass laws without too much hullabaloo, each state in America is about the size of one of those countries.  It’s not that other countries don’t have their dissenters (I’m certain they do), but because their population is smaller than ours, we appear to have more of them.

So, as much as I would love to tell all those “Boos” to hurry up and join the 21st Century way of thinking, I can’t, because they have a right to their opinions, no matter how much I might disagree with them.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop disagreeing, because debating is how things can get discussed and improved.

It just means that we all need to take a chill pill and realize that we’re all entitled to our thoughts and beliefs, provided they’re not hurting other people.

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