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by william e. kelly

VOTE 2012:

The contract of “Civil Equality” does not hold Americans to any single political party, ideology or religious, cultural, social or sexual orientation. It asks only that we be loyal to our Constitution and embrace the ideal of an inalienable right to pursue happiness and fulfillment to the best of our abili- ties. In the bargain, we rely on the “accepted norms” and needs common to our time. Both evolve through generations as byproducts of compromise between majority and minority views. Free societies and governments are evolutionary, the sweat, blood and tears of numerous minority groups punctuate America’s short history in search of civil equality. Each maneu- vers for a seat at the table in order to avoid being minimized, marginalized, excluded or exterminated. And yes, all minorities and majorities bring with them their biases and prejudices. If opportunity and freedom are the heart and soul of the American dream,

the means by which her citizens can provide for themselves and their loved ones, is what allows us to realize her promises. Time and circumstances are not equally experienced however and establishing a means often requires an assist from the more advantaged among us. Accordingly, our nation’s founders provided us taxing and spending powers and a Constitution. Yet, America’s promises are not entitlement to guaranteed equal shares of fortune or misfortune. They merely provide the opportunity and freedom to maximize our fortunes and minimize misfortunes without interference from the prejudices or biases of others. We who live the realities of same-sex attraction are witness to this ongo- ing process. Post-Stonewall, the LGBT community watched the walls of

civil liberties, financial well being and lead us toward or away from the promise and dreams that our heterosexual counterparts enjoy. We are so close—do any of us dare sit on the sidelines now?

There is no escaping that the 2012 elections will affect

CIVIL EQUALITY OR GAY GHETTOS “with barbed wire, higher walls and reinforced closets...”

gay ghettos and suffocating closets fall. We are on the cusp of civil equality unlike anything we’ve known. The generation of instant communication and social networking is building a nation where minority and majority communities exist openly, with faith that the bonds of commonality in this diverse democracy will unite and protect us. The caution that follows is not intended to be “yellow” press, but there

is some degree of truth in saying “Decision 2012” (the coming presiden- tial election) could see the return of gay ghettos with higher walls and reinforced closets more foreboding than those from which we evolved and escaped. There is no escaping that the 2012 elections will affect civil liberties, financial well-being and lead us toward or away from the promise and dreams that our heterosexual counterparts enjoy. We are so close—do any of us dare sit on the sidelines now? As minorities before have done, the LGBT community must assert the power of its vote NOW—or risk being set back decades! In November we will choose who will lead us to a more perfect union,

while securing the freedom promised to all who serve it. Yet, civil equality is not inevitable and like no election in my time, 2012 is poised to make history. As a couple who happen to be gay, it is difficult for my husband and me not to focus on the civil equality we fought with others to achieve. Votes based strictly on singular issues, such as party affiliation, race, religion and sexual orientation, further the tunnel vision of partisan politics that have brought our nation to its knees these past years—this is not what we want or need. But, if we elect those who view us as less than equal and less than deserving of the American promise and dream, what will we have gained? Remembering that a nation divided cannot stand; VOTE, ASK OTHERS TO VOTE AND FOCUS on what and who will best serve our common interests as the diverse American community we are. Will they share common bonds, needs and dreams? To those who feel we have no responsibility for others: Consider that we

survive as a free people only as long as we seek to balance opportunity and capability, with personal responsibility and charity, to ensure the dream of America’s great promise, is within reach of all of us.

Just THINK About It! 28 RAGE monthly | AUGUST 2012

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