11 May 2012

Make New Mistakes

When I was a child, I didn't believe that discrimination really happened. I thought it was a story out of the history books. If it did happen, it was only very stupid people who were doing it, and all anybody would have to do is ignore them.

Now that I'm no longer a child, I can see that we are not yet a place where everybody is treated equally. Not everybody has an equal chance. Not everybody will treat you fairly. It won't always be stupid people with no power, armed with words. It might be educated people, powerful people, people withholding income or justice.

Whenever I say something like this, someone inevitably comments that "life's not fair." Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Life isn't fair. And it should be.

There's been a lot going on in the news this week in the US of A about homosexual rights. In North Carolina, voters passed an amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex marriage. A CNN article on the topic notes that backers of this ammendment "celebrated by serving wedding cake to their supporters in a Raleigh ballroom." Then on Wednesday, the president publicly voiced his support for same-sex marriage.

Suppressing the rights of one group in deference to the beliefs of another group is disturbingly anti-American, even if our history is littered with such episodes. Our forefathers claimed to found this country on the idea that all men are created equal, even if their vision at the time was somewhat... uh, limited. But we've added clauses to that original idea as time has passed -- equal: no matter their gender, no matter the color of their skin, no matter their religious beliefs, no matter.

To quote a very famous man, I have a dream. 

I dream of a future where even the hot topics of today are so thoroughly incorporated into society that same-sex marriage is hardly worth noting, that "women-owned" doesn't have to be a specially-protected business category, that you can't look at groups by income and see a distinct difference in skin color.

I want a future where those fights are so thoroughly won that my grandchildren can't even imagine a world where there is any question about them.

I want to live in a future where the big debates are something I can't even imagine today--the rights of ameobas, perhaps; or the comparative rights of martian colonists.

I want to be the old woman on whatever the future equivalent is of a front-porch swing, complaining that kids these days don't appreciate what my generation went through, being mildly disapproving of whatever the new social debate is. I'm hoping for the ethics of telepathy. I would love to be grumpily disapproving of telepathic implants.

Let's get on that.