Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vacation Interlude

We live in India, but we're not unaware of the things going on in the US on social media and the discussion (not sure that it's really a discussion so much as people yelling at each other on Facebook) that's taking place surrounding reality television and the LGBT community.

Here are a few thoughts:

1. The freedoms of speech and religion are not in jeopardy in the USA. Lets stop--rather hysterically--pretending that they are. Last time I checked, the government didn't have anything to do with anyone being censored. Recently, a reality television star made several prejudicial statements about gay people. Those statements were not in keeping with the values of the network that airs his reality television show, so they temporarily suspended him from the show. Most of us who are employed by a company have contracts that also limit the things we say in the public arena. If I were to make disparaging comments in a public arena, I would also, most likely, loose my job. Yes, you have the right to say most of what you want. You do not, however, have the right to continue being employed if you say something that makes your employer look bad. [Before anyone gets carried away with thinking that A&E might actually share the values that a majority of Americans now share regarding the LGBT community, I think we're fooling ourselves if we think this is anything but a massive PR stunt that will make both A&E and the show in question even more popular]

2. Can't we agree that reality television is really trite and that there are more important things going on in the US and in the world? Take a second a compare the US CNN site and the International CNN site if you think that Americans aren't distracted by nonsense. Shouldn't topics such as wars in Syria and Afghanistan, high poverty rates among children in the US, and a growing income gap grab our attention more than what some celebrity said? 

3.  In the ruling of the recent court case in Utah, the judge reaffirmed what should by now be common sense: families with gay or lesbian parents pose no threat to families with opposite sex parents. The repeal of parts of DOMA highlighted the completely disengenuous and wholly unsubstantiated argument that proponents of anti-equality amendments and laws have been spewing. They said that my family harms them; finally, the courts are standing up and saying "prove it!" And, guess what, the defenders of these hateful laws have been unable to do it. These laws are totally about private religion, or private animous, invading the public sector. In the USA, we have strong laws that prevent us from passing other laws only to demonstrate hate or discrimination to one segment of society. The various laws or constitutional amendments that bar same sex couples from getting married do not protect "straight marriage" as they are purported to do. They only promulgate hate. 

4. If your religious convictions mandate that you don't get married to someone of the same sex, then you are free to put those principles into practice in your own life. I do not subscribe to any such religion and I would prefer if you keep your views to yourself and practice your religion respectfully and privately. Thankfully now, a majority of people in America are in support of marriage equality. Our laws in the US are slowly, but surely, catching up to this new reality. I'm thankful for these strides toward social justice as they have a real and practical impact on my family. One thing I learned from our recent job search is that the world-wide marriage equality movement is not about abstract ideas. It's about security and safety for families like mine in many states and countries. If we've finally reached the point as a society where we can say that blatant homophobia doesn't meet with our beliefs and values, then I say happy new year. 

In other news, we're back from Prague and all four have a pretty nast case of jet lag. Here's to an easy day of unpacking and movies!  


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