Sooo, the results are in and 40% of the citizens of North Carolina are upset, frustrated, sad and/or [insert the obligatory angry adjective here] and the other 60% are [insert appropriate adjective here]. This state is the 30th state to institute a ban on gay marriage and other types of domestic partnerships will likely no longer be recognized. I just really don’t understand how discriminatory laws like this can still occur in 2012…
I don’t understand because there is this concept called a “fundamental right”…where something is so fundamental to our idea of humanity that it transcends the legal system. These fundamental rights are considered so important, that any law restricting it must pass strict scrutiny (where the state must show a compelling governmental interest that is narrowly tailored to meet that interest).
The United States Supreme Court has legally recognized 3 main fundamental rights, which include:
1) the right to travel
2) the right to vote, and
3) the right to privacy, which includes:
a. the right to procreation,
b. the right to an abortion during the first trimester,
c. the right to private education,
d. the right to contraception,
e. the right of family relations, and last but not least,
f. the right to marry…
But I guess the right to marry is not a fundamental right… if you are a homosexual. I guess because homosexual love is wrong and “threatens” the sanctity of heterosexual love. Because you know, the marriage between a man and a woman is the “right” kind of love, and it is everlasting and never abusive and never ends in divorce. And homosexuals are the root of all evil and the cause of moral turpitude and war, famine, and natural disasters. (And in case you didn’t know…you were supposed to read this paragraph in your sarcastic voice).
Or what if you are someone like myself…who is not a homosexual…but who will most likely not have a “traditional” marriage, which from the illustration above proves that, what is considered a “traditional marriage” changes with time. What if I really wanted to be a co-parent and adopt…because I honestly don’t see myself getting married to a man within the next 3 years and I want to be a parent soon. I am seriously having “iwannabeamommy” syndrome going on right now. And she would be the perfect mother…I know it. She is soo good with kids and she is so “motherly”…she loves to take care of others, and cook, and clean, and do laundry, and take them to doctor appointments. And we would adopt a little girl, with honey brown skin and thick black hair. We would adopt her from Asia or the Middle East and save her from being a sex slave, or seen as the property of a man, or a life of poverty. The little girl would grow up to be smart, and beautiful, and strong, and independent because both of her mothers are …and we would remind her every day about her worth as a woman and most importantly that she is loved. And now I’m going to stop before I make myself cry…
And again, I am not a lesbian but I know that I would rather have a family with a woman who loves and accepts me for me. She makes me feel more beautiful than any man ever could because she is not telling me bullshit just to get in my pants (and NO we don’t get down like that). And she accepts the fact that I am ADD and OCD and slightly paranoid. She accepts and actually encourages my delusional love for Jeremy Lin (who I would marry and have all 10 of his children) and she doesn’t leave the toilet seat up when she uses the bathroom and she doesn’t fart in her sleep or try to molest me in bed and I know she isn’t going to wake up one morning and tell me I am fat and ugly. And most importantly she has been by my side longer than ANY man ever has. So we have decided that we are getting the hell out of this state and starting over elsewhere. And hopefully along the way we will both fall in love and marry amazing men…but if not, we still have each other. And if I feel this way about a woman I am not even romantically in love with, then I can’t even imagine what people are feeling, who are.
The night was hot as usual, but thankfully there was a slight breeze and the mosquitoes were merciful. James was sleeping soundly in his bed…dreaming about what 8 year olds normally dream about. In the distance, there is a rustling of what sounds like a medium-sized animal creeping towards the village. Suddenly, a scream of alarm breaks the silence, followed by a chorus of other screams…but these screams are no longer of surprise, but rather of terror and cries of anguish. The once peaceful night is no more.
Before he can fully comprehend what is going on, James is roughly pulled out of his slumber. His night of dreaming has suddenly turned into a nightmare. Men with guns are pushing him on his feet and away from his parents. His parents try to go after him, but their efforts are useless. James is helpless as he watches his parents get executed in front of him…first his mother, and then his father.
So…what happens next? The police arrive, right? These men are arrested and sentenced to pay for their horrible murders, right? The answers to both of these questions are “no”…because unfortunately for James, and thousands of other children like him, this did not happen in the United States. This happened in central Africa, where the villages are remote, there is no 911 emergency number, and where there will not be any retribution for the senseless attacks on his village or for the murders of either of his parents.
This is not a post about Joseph Kony, the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), or the Sudanese government…it is about James and the thousands of children like him. The thousands of children who were forced to take arms, to kill their parents, to kill other civilians, and watched as people were mutilated. They lost their homes, their siblings, and their childhoods. These children will no longer dream the same dreams.
I know some of you are thinking…this is “old” news by now but the sad thing is, there are still so many people in this world who have never heard of Joseph Kony or the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army). I was going to let this topic pass me by, but with the recent arrest of George Clooney on March the 16th, during a protest against the Sudanese government (this arrest was unrelated to Kony or the LRA) and after watching the movie, Machine Gun Preacher (2011), starring Gerard Butler, this week…I just could not stop thinking about the atrocities happening half a world away.
Before you shake your head, I already know the criticism that comes with this situation. I know the main argument is, what can the United States do? This is not our battle to fight and the U.S. does not have any interests in Sub-Saharan Africa, except for concerns regarding oil. I agree with that concern, but isn’t the value of human life more important than the value of oil. Are we just supposed to sit back and let the mass killings of innocent civilians go unpunished…especially after we are aware of it.
Another argument is that, the crimes against children have been exaggerated. Invisible Children claims there have been about 30,000 children abducted while Machine Gun Preacher claims there are about 40,000 children abducted. My argument is, isn’t even 1,000 children, just one too many. I’ve heard how Kony is in hiding and how the LRA have dwindled to an army of only a few hundred soldiers, but regardless these men are still responsible, it doesn’t matter if there are only three of them left. And should we now teach war criminals that if they hide long enough, the world will forget about them and no longer pursue them?
The NGOs have also been scrutinized for the way they have been dispersing funds. As an advocate myself, who does work for a non-profit organization, I can tell you first hand, that it is not cheap to travel to D.C. and that funds do have to be allocated for travel and meal expenses. But you don’t have to donate to these organizations to make a difference. Spreading news by word of mouth is free. You can make your own posters and t-shirts. Calling and writing your district representatives and senators costs little in time and money. Yes, the U.S. government is made up of the few, the rich, the elite…but they are always aware of public opinion polls and key word computer searches are always tracked. I do believe there is power in numbers and when the general public act as one voice, there is a better chance that voice will be heard.
I honestly do not think that Kony will be captured in 2012 nor do I think that the U.S. will do more than they already have, which consist of deploying 100 combat-equipped U.S. troops to Central Africa in November of 2011. With this being an election year, I also do not think President Obama or the Republican nominee will want to introduce the thought of another foreign war funded by American money and American troops.
But still…I truly do believe in the power of emotions. I believe that stories like James’, Jacobs’ (from the Kony 2010 video), and so many others like them should be heard and acknowledged. While I don’t have the solutions, I know that most people feel that anyone who commits a crime against humanity should be punished and because the heart usually wins over the mind, despite all the concerns I voiced above, I think that with public pressure and awareness, Kony and others like him, will one day answer for all they have done.
If you are unfamiliar with Joseph Kony or the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) please take the time to watch these videos. They provide basic background information.
I don’t claim to know all the facts and I realize that there are so many more complex issues surrounding the crisis of North Uganda and South Sudan. These are just my thoughts on the situation. I love feedback. Please feel free to share your comments on this post below.
DISCLAIMER: I am not promoting nor am I affiliated with the Invisible Children, Machine Gun Preacher, or Amnesty International.
For more information visit:
James’ Story http://www.machinegunpreacher.org/kids-stories/
Machine Gun Preacher http://www.machinegunpreacher.org/
Invisible Children http://www.invisiblechildren.com/
LRA Crisis Tracker http://www.lracrisistracker.com/
The Ugandan Civil War and the LRA http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/lra.htm
Amnesty International http://www.amnestyusa.org/
All Africa http://allafrica.com/