Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Standing Up for the Little Guy

Time and time again the majority has always ruled, and unfortunately, they've not always erred on the side of common sense. Whether it be stifling the human rights movement of numerous minorities throughout the years, voting in favor of multiple wars we had no business fighting, or collectively alienating a particular religious or cultural group for whatever ridiculous reasons, the hindsight afforded to us of past faults and folly is rarely applied to present day conundrums. However, despite reflections of public opinions in polls, on ballots, and in the media, it seems the tides are changing, and, if for a moment, the majority has found it's place: standing behind the little guy.

Yes, times for the gays have not been great these past two years or so. With the passing of gay marriage in California, then the removal with Prop 8, and a following rebuttal lawsuit, we now hang in limbo for the US Supreme Court to hear the case. And it's anyone's fight at this point. However, with the voting to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy of the US Army, and a guaranteed failed appeal, the majority is starting to tentatively lean in our favor. Following the tragic suicides of five GLBT college and grade school students who were ruthlessly bullied into taking their own lives, a massive outpouring of support has flooded the internet with the It Gets Better project. Hundreds of people, from everyday gays and friends of gays and big name celebrities to high profile politicians like Senator Clinton and President Obama have historically lent their voices to an anti-hate campaign that has fostered the creation of over 5,300 videos on YouTube. Even that queen chick I'm always bugging on had a few words to say about the bullying (the broader term of simple "bullying" was used, 'cause Lord knows an Arab queen could never publicly defend the gays without getting her ass handed to her by her more traditional countrymen, but we all knew what they were talking about).

And the movement of the majority doesn't stop there. As previously mentioned in an earlier blog, there was a massive movement in defense of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, when some crazy old dude tried to stage a book burning. The movement not only led to public outcry to protect the Quran, but protests, petitions, denouncements from more political figureheads (Clinton again...she rocks, doesn't she?), and a particularly memorable stand-in where people of all religions laid their hands over a barbecue grill so a Christian fundamentalist group couldn't light the coals to burn the revered pages and covers. Turmoil still stirs against Muslims as emotions rise over the recent debate over the placement of a Muslim-funded community center near the Ground Zero site. However, the power behind either side of the debate has balanced as an equal amount of people have come face to face with the opposition to support the decision. While there is still some bad blood over the attacks on 9/11, it seems the majority of America has finally developed the brains to discern between Muslim extremists and true Muslims of Islam.

Unfortunately, we didn't have the mental capacity for such 9 years ago when the war in Afghanistan began. A nation broken, hurt, and angered, made the emotionally fueled decision to support George W. Bush in his bid to go after Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in the middle eastern region. Now, many years later, after wising up to the shady dealings that underlined this so-called war on terrorism, many people have denounced the U.S.'s presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and have spoken out against the continuing failings of the government. But such frustrations have not spread to our soldiers, some of whom were beguiled into enlisting, thinking they were going to kill terrorists, some of whom were misled into believing they were going to liberate a nation oppressed by a horrific dictator. Many did not choose to serve under the truth of the matter, nor did they wish to continue once they found themselves in the very real circumstances of a fictional war. And we as a nation have not turned our backs on them. Well, the majority of us haven't.

Protesters were making headlines for some time, showing up to the funerals of soldiers KIA, shouting hate-filled chants, claiming the deaths of the soldiers was God's wrath being unfurled upon a nation that supported homosexuality. Bringing with them a black cloud to hang over an already darkened day for the soldier's family, they made their unwelcome presence known and tainted what should have been honorable memorials for soldiers who gave their lives doing our government's dirty work. But, a small town in Missouri was not about to let this happen for Corporal Jacob Carver. Upon hearing via word of mouth and Facebook that such a group planned to adorn his burial, not hundreds, but thousands of people from miles away arrived as early as before sunrise to secure their positions near the funeral site. Arriving in buses and caravans, nearly 3,000 people lined the roads with American flags waving to keep the protesters at bay. Most people had never met the young corporal who lost his life, many didn't know his family, but they gathered together to push out a tiny group of radical hate-mongers to protect his memory and his family in their time of need. The protesters were forced to set up nearly a third of a mile away from the funeral and despite attempts to shout across the town, their opponents out-shouted them and drowned out their message, forcing them to pack up and move out.

America was formed by the little guy, the ones whom, tired of being pushed around by a haughty king in a far-off land, sailed across the sea to escape the autocracy. But somewhere along the way we got too big, too strong, and slipped into the position of the oppressor, quickly forgetting what it felt like to fall beneath the ruling thumb of The Man. Laws that were created to protect us suddenly worked against us, and the power of the majority at times brought historic shame to our name. Granted, there were times when our government stepped up for the little guy amidst angered cries of the majority: a black girl may never have set foot in a white public school if a judge hadn't ignored the racist cries of a southern majority decades ago; blacks and whites would not have had the right to marry if the California Supreme Court hadn't ignored the cries of 92% of Californians who felt the races should not mix. And despite the efforts of 52% of Californians two years ago, a judge still had the cajones to stand up for the little guy and declare Proposition 8 unconstitutional. A group of a people with no personal affiliations to a religion risked burning themselves to protect it's holy book. A state of citizens with no personal connection to a soldier came from miles around to stand up for his right to have a peaceful burial.

They say never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. Well, you better watch out for the power of large groups with balls and even bigger hearts. We will prevail...we must if there's any hope for this land and what we should stand for.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American peeps...stand up for the little guy...DAMN THE MAN! (sorry, I had to say it)

1 comment:

Lyn said...

As always, yet another wonderful piece my dear friend.