We all grow up with a vision of what is right and just in this world. Many, if not most, of us grow up with the idea of pursuing "the American Dream". For some that has meant the pursuit, as when it was first enunciated in 1931 by James Truslow Adams, of achieving a "better, richer, and happier life". In his book, The Epic of America, Adams stated it this way:
that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.Oddly, in view of today's circumstances, Mr. Adams was a banker.
For some of us, Adams' dream has proved to be pie-in-the-sky. We'd be happy with this:
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.The inalienable rights include, but are not limited to those three items. They are, as I saw it as a child, the bare minimum.
It turns out that I was intensely naive.
There are those who feel that even those inalienable rights are too much to be conferred on some of us. PA state senator John Eichelberger, for instance begrudges us the right to life:
Video by ZJ Antolak (ZJemptv)
They’re [homosexuals] not being punished. We’re allowing them to exist, and do what every American can do. We’re just not rewarding them with any special designation.Allowing us to exist, Mr. Eichelberger? How white of you! Of course, that which can be allowed, can be disallowed, as we shall see below.
We all know about what's been going on in Uganda. Now there is a House Resolution (H.Res. 1064) that will give our Congresspeople a chance to express their outrage at what Uganda has been considering...or agree with Uganda that GLBT people should be put to death...or at least imprisoned for lengthy periods of time.
Does anyone really expect that this will pass unanimously? Or do you, like me, expect that a substantial number of Republican lawmakers will agree that the lives of GLBT people are subject to the generosity and whim of people like John Eichelberger.
Meanwhile Uganda has gone "pro-gay" all of the sudden:
Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo said the revised law would now probably limit the maximum penalty for offenders to life in prison rather than execution.Are we expected to be thankful for this? We can keep our lives, provided our liberty is denied?
"There have been a lot of discussions in government...regarding the proposed law, but we now think a life sentence could be better because it gives room for offenders to be rehabilitated," he said in an interview. "Killing them might not be helpful."
--Reuters, The Montreal Gazette
Of course, Uganda is not America, right? Not so fast.
Chris Matthews: So we should outlaw gay behavior?So our liberty is tenuous at best as well.
Liberty is a concept of political philosophy and identifies the condition in which an individual has the right to act according to his or her own will.The price for acting according to our own will can be deadly.
And what do the cops do?
We’re hoping that this particular community, the transgender community, reaches out to us and provides us with more information that helps us figure this out," he told Fox 26 upon arriving at the crime scene.How should we know? We don't kill our own.
Myra Ical's murder is the seventh unsolved murder of a transperson in Houston over the past decade. Maybe if some of those murders were solved, the police might get more response from the trans community. Then again, maybe it would be better to try to stop the murders from happening in the first damned place.
America. Your America. My America?
Home of the brave? Land of the free? Too survive as an openly transgender woman takes a lot of bravery. But we are much more likely to end up dead than free.
How can it be, in this land we call home, that the best that some of us can hope for is, to quote the mother horta, through Mr. Spock, No kill I!?
Unfortunately, in a land inhabited by people bent on denying us life and liberty, even suggesting that we should be able to pursue happiness is a joke. Even pursuing comfort runs afoul of not only those like Messers Spriggs and Eichelberger, but also people who are otherwise seemingly fair-minded.
Eliminating job discrimination (ENDA is languishing in the house, if not dead...and rumor has it that it's the fault of us trannies), eliminating discrimination in housing and public accommodations (not even on the horizon), even the right to offer to die for our country if we had a desire to or felt an obligation to do that (DADT, and if anyone thinks transfolk will be included in any resolution, I've got this bridge...)) are all denied us.
Adopt a child who needs a parent and love that child as our own? Sorry. All homos are perverts.
Marry the person we love? End of the world as we know it.
If we can't even achieve the basic comforts of life, thinking about pursuing happiness is a farce.
Life if we can avoid being killed in a country filled with people who hate us...if people allow us to exist, liberty until someone somewhere passes laws criminalizing that existence, and pursuit of dung.
Happiness which has to be hidden from the world is not true happiness.
The Bloodied Dream