Are We Anybody?
by Lori Heine
None of the candidates challenging President Obama for the 2012 election is saying very much about LGBT issues. At least, few are saying anything good. Politicians in general like to say as little about us as possible most of the time. This is, of course, because we are a minority of the population. The excuse is that we are a “controversial” minority, but the fact is that no matter how generally-acceptable a minority might be, in the eyes of those who hunger for power it doesn’t count for much.
Perhaps people have that backwards. Maybe the status of the most-controversial minority is the most important of all. Jesus clearly thought so. As did the Old Testament prophets. Funny that a political party supposedly so dedicated to preaching the importance of the Bible fails to recognize this.
People tend to think that only the issues that most obviously affect them are important. If they aren’t gay, they dismiss gay rights as a fringe issue. If they are white, they think little about the concerns of those with darker skin. They don’t realize there are many matters that seem to affect a tiny number of people, but actually—and profoundly – affect us all.
Just ask those who survived the Holocaust. At that time, many people thought the problems of the Jews affected nobody else. But as those in Germany, Poland and other Nazi-overwhelmed countries soon found out – the hard way – nations are not the only things that can fall, like dominoes, one after another. The rights human beings hold most dear can tumble down that very same way.
If rights can be denied to anyone, then they can be taken from everyone. If those of the minority are not safe, neither can anyone else take them for granted.
Are we anybody? Some people don’t seem to think so. They would do well to recall the words learned, in the aftermath of World War II, by schoolchildren the world over:
First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.
We need to speak to everyone we know about why the issues of minorities matter in this election. And we need to make sure they understand that these issues matter not only to us, but, with equal urgency, to them.
© 2011 Lori Heine
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