GLBT Independence and Equality
Gay? 4th of July
"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-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,..." Declaration Of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson 1776 and unanimously approved by the Continental Congress.
As I watched the Boston Pops 4th of July special , (tradition in our family), an old and familiar feeling became increasingly stronger. Seeing the wide diversity of the crowd; young, old, male, female, black, white, Latino, Asian, the list is endless, stand together singing traditional American anthems was a moving experience. Age and skin color are recognizable, but what about the more subtle to see differences such as our community? Well we were there as well. Somehow during this event it didn't seem to matter.
This was a unified group. Brought together by the celebration of the Birthday of the United States of America. Those differences, visible or not were not an issue. Wasn't the diversity and needs of it's people among the reasons the Continental Congress enacted a formal Declaration of Independence? As stated by Benjamin Franklin, "We are a unique people, more rugged, possibly less civilized, ...we require a unique government."
In the quote at the beginning of this article taken directly from the Declaration of Independence it states: "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..." All U.S. citizens know this passage. We memorized it in school, we dissected this empowering document so aptly written by T. Jefferson, some of us even sang it. However do we really honor it?
Scholars and amendments have now shown that "all men" equates to all peoples. If so, then why must various groups of people fight to ascertain what our Founding Fathers decreed 225 years ago? People are still denied the right to "life" as they die for their skin color, gender, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation. People are still denied the right to "liberty" as they are jailed and persecuted for those same reasons. People are still denied the right to "the Pursuit of Happiness" again for the same reasons.
Does not the Pursuit of Happiness include the individual right to choose one's life partner? To have happiness by openly loving, sharing, and making that life together? Where in our founding principles does it say love is wrong? Can love be wrong? Isn't that a basic ingredient to "happiness"? Wasn't part of the problem over involvement in the lives of "Americans" by the governing country?
The Declaration further states; "That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,..." We are the governed. I for one do NOT consent to the denial of these basic freedoms which our forefathers by their own hand said were "self-evident". I agree with Mr. Jefferson, and the Continental Congress, these truths are indeed self-evident. Why then have politicians, (a dirty word in our forefathers time), religious leaders, and corporate executives twisted this wonderful work to suit their needs? And yes, sometimes politicians like wolves hide themselves in sheep's clothing and stand in pulpits.
This was seen long ago by many of the same men who signed this Declaration of Independence, and indeed by its author. I will show some examples;
"I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them. For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise."--Benjamin Franklin, 1787
"The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the Judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please."--Thomas Jefferson
"Let our government be like that of the solar system. Let the general government be like the sun and the states the planets, repelled yet attracted, and the whole moving regularly and harmoniously in several orbits."-- John Dickinson (Delaware Delegate), 1787
The situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth."-- Benjamin Franklin, at the Constitutional Convention, 1787
and last but not surely the least;
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."--Thomas Jefferson
I believe as shown by the quotes above, these people saw the beginning of "the twisting", the interpretation to suit needs even in the 1700's. Why then can't it be seen today? A common rebuke to GLBT rights is that we seek "special rights", I disagree. We seek, no demand, equal rights. The same equal rights Thomas Jefferson wrote about in 1776. The only reason these rights are seen as "special" is because we have to fight to prove that we are indeed part of "all men", in other words humanity itself!
As I watched Peter Jennings read the words from the Declaration, I interjected, "unless you are gay" after, "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..." It hit me, I had not lost my patriotic feelings for the United States. What I had lost was the belief in the interpretation of the documents on which this country is founded.
The problem is not that we require equal rights. The problem is that we have been denied what was granted us in 1776. As with the Civil Rights movement, we must prove that we are a part of the same "all men", human race, which Thomas Jefferson so eloquently defined in two simple words. In an email from one of those "interpreters" it was said that we, (the GLBT community) should be happy and content because we are free and protected by the Constitution. Well we are not, and to quote Benjamin Franklin, "A gelding would be honored to be called a stallion, however I am sure he would rather have restored what is rightfully his." In our case that would be the same freedoms and equality under the law as any other person.
In our world today, companies like Exxon/Mobil have added insult to the years of unequaled injury by rescinding these rights. The Boy Scouts of America does the same. Was anyone paying attention when they memorized The Declaration of Independence? Do they comprehend when they read it? Do they understand that the refusal and denial of equality negates the documents which we consider sacred? This denial and refusal of "equality for all" makes a hypocrisy of our Country, its Government, and the system we so proudly call "Democracy".
It is time we had our own "Tea Party". Stop buying from companies which openly deny our equality. Pass that Exxon-Mobil station, teach your children that happiness is a self-evident right to all, and that you don't have to wear a brown uniform as a child to prove that. Long ago the BSA was not trusted because their uniform resembled that of what was called "Hitler's Youth". Isn't what is happening within this organization just as much of brain washing as that of the notorious Adolf? More and more members of BSA and their supporters, IE Mr. Spielberg, are abandoning them because they see that discrimination is like a cancer. It may start in one area, in this case one group, but grows to others until it consumes and destroys all. If BSA and companies like Exxon-Mobil, power bigots religious or not, can brain wash the public or their "sheep" into believing that somehow we are not part of "all men", where will it stop? Who is next?
We all, yes that means YOU have a responsibility to ourselves to throw the tea into the harbor! No longer can we be complacent and jaunt to the bars instead of casting a vote or for that matter "giving a damn". Look at our last Presidential election, it became a Supreme Court appointment because the vote was too close to make obvious the American citizen's wishes. We have only ourselves to blame for this last conundrum.
We cannot change the past, we can and must learn from it. We can and should change the present and the future. I would hope that we as a community would like to pass on a better world to our youth, GLBT and not. Sure we may all not have children, but these are children of the world just as we are equal citizens of the world, whether "they" like it or not. Our GLBT brothers and sisters have died for this country as well. What statements to we send by hanging in the chat rooms, bars, bed instead of taking an active part in our world? How do we honor the past murdered and persecuted by looking the other way? I see many sites with tributes to victims of hate crimes. And that's good, however, not enough. I am sure if they could speak to us from their graves they would say "That's nice, now do something. Don't let another die!"
It has been suggested that I send this "Gay 4th of July" to our President and other leaders. Here I would like the feedback of our readers. I am but one person, does this speak for you? Send me your thoughts .
Some quotes and some historical dated was found at http://www.constitutionfacts.com/
Send your Gay 4th, community thoughts!
Len (also known as the site host-Codi)
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