My most recent letter to the editor dealt with civil rights for the LGBT community. (See it here.)
The paper allows readers to comment on published letters. This letter got a lot of comments, most of which were people debating the “normalcy” of LGBT, not the issue of equality.
The single most inane comment was along the line of this: we had better think long and hard before changing thousands of years of cultural precedent and laws for a small 10% minority of people.
This is what we used to be about: protecting the rights of the minority from the whims of the majority. It is one of the hallmarks of what has made this country great.
Yes, we mess up. Even our Sainted Founders messed up with the Alien and Sedition Acts. We messed up when McCarthy and Nixon were on a Communist Witch Hunt. We get past the errors and are embarrassed by them; we try to do better.
It used to be the belief that it is better to let a hundred guilty men go free than to execute one innocent man. It used to be that how we got something done mattered more than what was done—the ends never justified the means.
This is why we have not, until recently, sanctioned torture. Jack Bauer would never have been idolized in the America I grew up in. But I did spend 4 years in Hawaii and 4 in Alaska, and some right wingers now claim—because Obama was raised in Hawaii—that somehow, Hawaii is not really a part of the United States. Funny, I remember the Pledge of Allegiance being a daily act in both places.
Watch the Samuel L. Jackson movie Unthinkable and then tell me you are in favor of torture.
Here’s the thing: if we lose our ideals in a struggle to be free or safe we will have lost what it means to be an American. Being an American means standing up for the little guy, the defenseless, the outcast. It also used to be what it meant to be Christian in America.
We must change whatever law is discriminating against a minority or we lose the right to call ourselves Americans in the tradition of our Founding Fathers.