07 November 2008
How the Helpless Become the Helpful
I consider myself an 'armchair activist.' I tend to be fairly out-spoken about my beliefs. In fact, on any given day, unapologetically and with much passion, I can be found:
- reading about equal civil rights
- studying up on legislation involving my rights
- sharing my beliefs regarding the fight for equal rights for LGBTQ Americans
- having heated, philosophical debates with anyone who will argue back about the parallels between the the women's rights movement, civil rights movement and today's LGBTQ rights movement
- emailing all the contacts in my address book about civil rights violations and what we can do about them, and
- posting blogs and blog comments about equal rights for ALL Americans, not just the ones we are comfortable with.
It's just my way...it's who I am - a grown woman with an opinion who has a vested interest in equal civil rights for ALL Americans.
Rarely; however, have I stepped up to the plate and done anything more than that, save for the occasional donation of a few dollars in support of equality.
My most recent financial donation was to the 'No on 8' campaign in California. Although I couldn't vote there, as a native Californian I felt the desire to do SOMETHING to help. It wasn't as much as I would have liked, just what Angie and I could afford at the time, and clearly, it wasn't enough.
As I watched the election results, the joy in my heart over electing our nation's next President was tempered with the heartbreaking and somber reality of the passing of Prop 8, a serious setback to marriage equality for Californians, and a blow to civil equality in the democratic republic that is America. Never before in American history have 'we the people' eliminated an ALREADY EXISTING civil right. Sure, we've denied rights - women couldn't vote, blacks couldn't marry whites, gays could get arrested for expressing their love in the privacy of their own home - but once a right has been established, America has NEVER taken it back.
Never. Not even once.
It is truly a sad state of affairs for our Nation.
With an ache in my heart, I watch the various news reports of mostly peaceful protests by 'No on 8' supporters, and I wish I could be there to be a part of it, to add my voice to the thousands of Californians who are taking to the streets for equal rights. I feel helpless, because I am so far away.
This feeling of helplessness is unacceptable to me. It brings to mind the feeling of being a victim of circumstance, like I don't have control over my own life, my own future, the future of my family. I don't want to feel like a victim - I am NOT a second class citizen, and I won't allow myself to feel like that. For me, out of helplessness is borne a sense of duty to others, and a desire to make a difference. I want to help. I want to put my talents, whatever they may be, to good use. Today, I signed up to volunteer for Georgia Equality. I'm also considering volunteering for YouthPride, to help GLBTQ youth. I don't know what types of activities volunteering will involve, but I do know this...I want to take back my PRIDE and DO SOMETHING.