When some event or some law affects a personal culture or group you identify with (maybe you’re Asian or a senior citizen or a Unicycle enthusiast), you’d probably tend to pay very close attention to that development until its final conclusion. Women most likely felt that way when they fought for their right to vote, African-Americans probably shared a similar sentiment when they campaigned to be recognized as more than 3/5ths of a person.
Back then as it is now, special interests were the strongest voices in these kinds of fights for equality and rights. Southern plantation owners didn’t want to change their way of life and stop making their livings off the backs of slaves, so the Civil War broke out. Women didn’t want to be confined to the house anymore so they took to the streets and shouted a lot and generally bothered all the men, so we gave them the right to vote in 1920 (and then they all took booze away from us during Prohibition, c’mon you hotsy-totsy dames!). If you think about it, pretty much every major cultural group represented here in the United States, with the exception of white people and mainstream Christians of course, had to wage some kind of political fight (and in many cases deadly campaigns) in order to gain their official “acceptance” (uneasy as it may be) into the whole of US society.
In the grand scheme of the globe, the vast majority of minority groups living in this country get treated pretty decently compared to how they might get treated in, say, a country like Iran or in Malawi where they just put you on trial or send you to a witch doctor if you identify as homosexual or other “social deviation”. Right now in one of the most, if not the most free nation in the world, we’re going through one more of these periods of transition in America, from being assholes to a specific group of minorities into a society that accepts them for their differences even if we disagree with their choice of religion or her insistence that your wife should be allowed to get a job outside the household (ha!, women…).
Funny that many of those special interests and influences that kept down other minorities for so long are, in many ways, the same exact people who are now speaking out on Islam as a religion of terrorism, a people who don’t deserve to be considered Americans, or compare same-sex marriage and allowing gays to openly serve in the military to bestiality.
At the moment LITERALLY the only thing that stands in the way of gay people getting recognized as full 100% bona fide acceptable human beings (it’s the law now, buddy!) are one thing and that one thing is Republicans. They’ve actually stood in the way of many things since the elections in 2008, actually just sat there and blocked not even willing to negotiate at all, one iota, no-thank-you-sir not touching that issue one bit. Healthcare Reform, unemployment benefit extensions, immigration reform, economic assistances and tax breaks for small businesses and people who had their houses foreclosed on by the banks, these are just a few of the vast ocean of things Republicans are just flat out shutting down time and time again, right in our faces.
Our entire government and American way of life is built upon having two opposing sides in charge that work out their differences and come to Congressional compromises that push things forward in the country. A healthy country cannot exist if one party has resigned itself to whining and crying on the floor of the Senate and refuses to work with their colleagues. These same exact politicians are the ones who pander to that same exact base of Americans who are willing to “vigilantly” stand up and burn Korans at the end of Ramadan and think that homosexuals are abominations of Satan (and think Sarah Palin is a holy saint who God has anointed to be the next president of the United States!).
And I hope it really bothers all of these people.
I hope it bothers them enough to want to vote on November 2nd in their local elections. I hope it bothers them enough that they go and register to vote RIGHT NOW and insist to all of their friends and close family that THEY get registered to and cast their ballots in these upcoming elections.
The powers that be are betting on the lethargy and apathy of most people your age, especially college students and people too busy playing Farmville to move from their computer chairs, but the only way to try and prevent the next two years from REALLY sucking balls is by taking 10 minutes to go down to your local polling place on election Tuesday and make your voice heard (whether you’re voting for the idiot or the good guy, it’s your right to cast a dumb vote!).
You think the break down in serious people working in government to get things done is at a bad place now think of the utter deadlock that’ll occur when Democrats lose 10+ seats in the Congress and the new Republican majority wants to ban Muslims from owning property in any part of Manhattan or wants to pass an economic reform in the guise of more tax breaks for the wealthiest 5% of society.
And not only will atrociously unqualified and down-right unelectable candidates like Christine O’Donnell and Meg Whitman and Sharon Angle and Carl Paladino and Rand Paul get elected to important positions of government, but their wingnut supporters will celebrate these victories as a sign from on high that this kind of backwards, fire-brand, do nothing but speaking really loud type of government is the way God wants things to be in 2012. If there is one thing the Republican/Tea Party base is really good at is it believing really strongly in a cause (religious or political) and voting during election cycles (OK, two things then).
SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR REGISTER TO VOTE AND MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR TUESDAY NOVEMBER 2ND 2010 AND VOTE! Kids these days…
[Ed. note: Rock The Vote seems to be the only major organization involved in voter registration these days, unfortunately, but your local DMV and Post Office are other places you can start your magical journey into the wondrous realm of registering to vote]