This all men are equal business was a radical idea back in 1776. An idea that I believe those founding fathers failed to completely understand what they were getting themselves into. The world they knew was powered by white men doing precisely what they wanted. Anyone who was a white colonist, anti-English, gun-toting, slave-owning, Christian, colonist man was Equal. Everyone else...colored skin, other nationalities, native peoples, certain religions, all women... not so much.
These white idealists in 1776 opened a can of worms unlike any this Earth has ever seen. I think the reason this can was so big and why the worms were so right on target was because these people had felt discrimination. They knew what it was like to be treated poorly for having a religion different than the majority. They were persecuted by Royalty who lived a million miles away, whom they never saw. They felt hardship and pain under a governmental system that denied them rights and privileges. And they knew the truth that they were no better or worse than those Royals who were taxing them silly and condemning their god.
So they fought. They fought a massive war to prove that they were equal. That they could determine their own minds, and choose their own gods, and create their own lives in the way they saw most fitting for them. And they wrote down these principles as the basic rules of Freedom from oppression and Equality in the eyes of the country, by which this new land would live.
Freedom and Equality.
So, all men are created equal. Great.
But when women decided they were equal too, when they decided they had rights and a voice that was valuable and loud, when women decided to stand up to take charge of their bodies and their families, when they wanted that same thing- Freedom from oppression and Equality in the eyes of the country, suddenly those old rules from 1776 did not apply.
In the early 1900's women marched, and shouted, and fought and spoke out for the fact that people, whether man or woman, penis or vagina, any American had the right to vote. To speak their mind to their government and be heard.
And the fight for women's rights continues.
Ok, all people are created equal. Awesome.
But when the black people decided they were equal too, and they began to speak up, and they didn't want to be treated poorly for the color of their skin, and they didn't want to be condemned for their fathers and mothers being kidnapped and shipped to a new land like cargo, and they wanted that same thing- Freedom from oppression and Equality in the eyes of the country, suddenly the old rules of the Declaration of Independence did not apply. Again.
Fifty years ago Republican Senator from Georgia Richard Russell said about Civil Rights Act of 1964,
"We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states."Those anti-equality politicians filibustered (talked nonstop to prevent anyone in the Senate voting) for 54 days. 54 DAYS. Fighting against the most basic tenant of the Declaration of Independence.
The bill, as you know passed, and Civil Rights- EQUAL Rights for all colors of people became the law of the land. But we are still fighting for African American rights.
So now, today all people are created equal. Perfect.
But today, this moment, right now gay people, men who love men and women who love women are saying that they are equal too. They are saying that they should be able to marry whom they choose, they are speaking out to not be discriminated against for their biology that makes them fall in love, they are deciding that they want that same old thing- Freedom from oppression and Equality in the eyes of the country. But today, this moment, right now there are people standing up and saying actively and vocally that these rules from the Declaration of Independence DO NOT APPLY to some people.
Are YOU saying it?
A vote for the Republican ticket of Romney/Ryan is saying precisely that. These men have decided that only some people can be free from oppression. Only some people can have Equal rights. Only some people can choose who they love and marry. AND IF YOU VOTE FOR THEM YOU ARE SAYING IT TOO. You are saying that the rights you claim for yourself are not applicable or acceptable for other people. And it makes you a bigot.
I don't care what you think about taxes, or government spending. It doesn't matter to me whether you believe in Wall Street or Main Street. Problems with housing, education, economics can ALL be solved, when we are solving them together, all of us as Equals.
Even the strife of war can be sorted out if we begin from a place of PEACE. A place where we welcome in ALL people no matter what color their skin, no matter who their ancestors were, no matter whether they have boobs or not, no matter who they love.
Friends, countrywomen, family, we cannot allow this discrimination and violence to continue. My ancestors fought for Freedom. Freedom for white men to worship the god of their choice, for women to vote, for black people to be allowed to go to school. My ancestors fought for Civil Rights for us of this generation, so that we would not have to suffer the pain that they did.
I cannot sit by and not fight the same fight for people who are gay today. Telling some people- but not others- who they can marry, with whom they are allowed to raise a child, or with whom they can share a life is injustice at it very core. And if you stand by and do nothing about it, just watch the stranger pummeled with hatred, you are as guilty as those who are throwing the stones.
We must strive for peace. The founding fathers forgot to write it in, but I think they were beginning to understand the basic principle that we are all people created to eat food, who need water, who sleep every night and take a shit every day, and who ache for freedom and equality. Mostly, we are all people who need love.
Love is love. LOVE, no matter who you give it to, or who you get it from, is LOVE. We don't need less love in the world, we need more. We need to stand up and fight the biggest fight we've ever fought, with Love. For love. For our children and their children and their children's children's children to live their lives in a world swathed with Freedom from oppression and Equality in their eyes of their country, to live their lives swathed in nothing less than LOVE.