Tony E Dillon-Hansen
17 Feb 2013
Diane Ravitch said about education reform that “The greatest obstacle to those who hope to reform… is complacency.” While she may have been speaking about education, her comment reflects upon any noble crusade for reform.
Listening to the news recently, one would think that we have achieved great milestones with respect to equality as pertaining to the LGBT community. While we may have finally crossed some dimensions of the struggle, there are still many throughout the United States that do not enjoy any semblance of equality whom those in specific states or cities enjoy (notwithstanding the federal DOMA restrictions). We may have had our moments including when a President (whether premeditated by political campaigning or not) recognized the civil rights strife in the current era as inclusive of the LGBT community. We, however, cannot rest on our laurels thinking the war is won. We cannot become complacent.
The work of many years and the milestones that we have achieved, thus far, can easily be vaporized if we do nothing to keep the pace moving forward. The Promised Land cannot be thought of as here and now, but instead, that moment will only be when equality is achieved for all of our brothers and sisters.
For all of the advances that we have gained, there are those that are actively working to stem or to reverse the tide because they have now had to endure major setbacks. We do not have to think too far back to remember how that feels on our side. In 2010 (just couple years ago), judges were voted out of office because of narrow-minded bigotry while more states voted to exclude marriage from loving couples. In Iowa, we are but a couple votes away from having a constitutional amendment proposal in Iowa to exclude marriage. To think we have somehow escaped the gravity of bigotry and right-wing mantras in American politics is erroneous and dangerous to the cause of continued freedom.
Further, complacency sanctions people to be lulled into inactivity and even arrogance. Even great athletes lose important matches and games if they think they have finally achieved the winning point without actually finishing the win. The time to rest is not now. The time now is to keep the presence in the face of, as well as to keep the pressure upon, lawmakers to help equality to remain alive. The time now is to help friends and family to remember what equality and freedom mean at the ballot box. For those that have yet to enjoy equality, we must help to further their cause because we are reminded of how breathtakingly close we are.
We know the people of the far-right are planning the next move, and again, they will be well-funded. They are digging through numbers and stories to find material that they can use to destroy equality. They are planning on less active voting in the next elections. They will use fear; they will use so-called traditions; and they will use fabrications and distortions of truth to further their agendas. They will paint pictures of burning Rome, will recall angry prophecies of the Bible and will ridicule ideas that promote diversity. They will cast terrorism and diversity as mutual enemies of the state. We know this because we have seen this. They are still using these tactics and we can expect them to continue this pathology of destructive lies, especially if they think we are complacent with our recent victories.
Conservative Barry Goldwater said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice…moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” Complacency cannot be our resolve, but instead we should be even more vigilant. No society can base its traditions upon lies and deceit unless they are all liars and deceivers. No society can continue to be great when the whole of its members are disallowed to expand in culture, knowledge and skills. As Martin Luther King Jr said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We must further the cause of equality without prejudice, respect of diversity, respect for all families, and adherence to the truth. We must do this not just in our community and state, but we must also help our LGBT friends and family elsewhere.
We should be extreme with defending our rights because they are granted to us by a higher power. Equal justice and love for neighbor is essential to what Jesus taught. No one should be allowed to distort that, and no one should place liberty (or equal justice) in the wavering hands of whatever the current tyrannical majority believes. Nor should we allow hateful lies to stand uncontested.
Freedom, justice and equality may be birthrights, but we know that some would ensure that we do not get to enjoy these God-given benefits. They purpose their negative lives so that we do not get our share of the pie. They may do this because of some false notion of a superiority complex or they may simply not want to share the fruits of society with all. If they will not allow us to celebrate and to enjoy our birthrights, we must be ready and willing to fight.