Tuesday, August 14, 2012

And there was no one left to speak out for me


In terms of political perspectives I can range from an extreme moderate to a Liberal.
It often just depends on the topic.
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me,   and there was no one left to speak out for me. 
This was said by Martin Niem├Âller, a German pastor who initially supported Hitler's rise to fame.  Now the above quote is very rough, different groups are often replaced within the text here but within the same idea.  It's talking about how the Nazi regime was taking people and outlawing things one-by-one and the excuse that the rest of the country was using was, "it's not me."

It's one of my favorite quotes because it was later used in the civil rights movement and it means a lot to me.  It's talking about how if you don't stand up for people, whether or not a situation directly applies to you, what is going to stop a government or political group from focusing on you later on?  
 
This morning I read an article from Time that featured Chef Art Smith and his views of the Chick-Fil-A controversy called Take Hate Off the Plate.  I think the article is great and touches on a lot of wonderful qualities of folks who want to see that they receive the same rights as anyone else.  What was ugly were the comments that followed the article.  These are comments that are consistently used by people who oppose gay marriage and gay rights in general.  The entire article promoted love but they still prospered in hate.  

What I found really interesting was their protest against being called "bigots" and "haters."  That's probably one of the few times I've heard someone use "hater" in their arsenal of political rhetoric.  I'm just going to throw this out there and say that I think 15-years old tend to use that vernacular but hey, I could be wrong on that one.  However, the word "bigot" is often used and there is a lot of animosity that would be built up because of it.  The definition of bigot is:

a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance 

For all people who get riled up when they see that word in posts and commentary, that's what it means and that is the behavior that you are displaying.  It's used against you because that is what you are expressing.  Don't all of a sudden act surprised.  Through adamant behaviors, attempting to deny other people of rights solely on who they are, that would be hatred and intolerance.

It's a huge pet peeve of mine.  With the internet or the fact that every U.S. citizen has access to public education, you should some semblance of a vocabulary and being able to cite a vast array of sources.  Now that may be harsh but historically people of color, women, and gay people have had to defend every aspect of who they are and some more than others depending on the time period and political circumstance.  If all of a sudden you get a little uncomfortable because you get called a bigot, well my advice would be to stop being one (oh I know, it's the same argument bigots use for gays- full circle).

In saying that the gay community spreads more STDs through their multiple relationships- that's just not remotely true.  The gay community is very active in promoting sexual health education, unlike many stringent heterosexual communities.  Because of this, states like Texas have some of the highest rates in high school drop outs, rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and teen pregnancies- in comparison to the rest of the U.S.  They're not the only ones but again, this is basically proof that abstinence-only education has done very little in actually preventing any of the above.  So saying that the gay community is responsible for all of this is completely wrong and I've seen this argument a few times.  Those same people using that as a basis for their intolerance need to reflect on their own communities first.

This other gem of an argument from one of the posts said that she hadn't seen any crimes committed against the gay community.

You have got to be kidding me.

Unless you're living under a rock or completely unaware of just basic news (but then again ignorance is bliss), you would have seen that people who are deemed as being other are bullied, harassed, punished, tortured, etc. every single day.  Many of which are completely illegal acts.  

There is the case of Dhurvan Ravi, where he used his webcam to film his gay roommate having sex and then posted it online.  His roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide and Ravi was found guilty.  The jury found he used a webcam to spy on his roommate Tyler Clementi in Sept. 2010 and that he did it and told others about it because of a bias against gays.
 
I realize that I have so many privileges in writing this post.  I'm a cisgender woman who is married.  That in itself gives me so many easily attainable rights than so many others I know.  Whether or not I have friends in the gay community is not important here.  What is important is that I know the treatment of people in the U.S. has been wrong for a long time and want to do everything within my power to make that change.

Look at everything I've written, because sometimes all I have to say is, "what the hell is going on?"

We should not be treating other people with such hatred, intolerance and disdain.  
We should be following the type of things we learned in Kindergarten aka the Golden Rule.
treat others how you would like to be treated
 


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