What Happened to America?


Maybe I’m just naive. Maybe I grew up not having to worry about things like racism, bigotry, discrimination (with school bullying aside), and other such horrors that so many people apparently deal with on a day to day basis. Maybe the reason I find myself so reactive to discriminatory/bigoted politics is precisely because my mother is homosexual. I don’t know what it is, but the more I see these sorts of opinions in the news and the more that these opinions snatch people in–speaking of the discriminatory/bigoted opinions here–the more I find myself wondering what happened to the country I grew up loving.
I’m an American. I will always be an American and I have always loved my country. I’ve been proud of the things this nation has accomplished, and I should be, because without the accomplishments of over 200 years of history, I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t have the things that make my life so great–like free education and now practically free college and the options to make college possible. But, I find myself losing that pride in my country when I see this country battling with the same racist rhetoric that brought us to the Civil Rights Movement, or, if you want to take things further back, to Lincoln’s brave attempt to remove slavery from our historical present. I see religion being used for hate, being used to denounce others simply because they are different. These same people would have denounced people for their skin color because of religious beliefs some hundreds of years ago and yet they see no issue with doing the same to people of Muslim faith, to homosexuals, to transgenders, to people who aren’t Christian.
And this hurts. I grew up in a time when I thought these things didn’t exist. I grew up living a fantasy, and in the last 10 or so years I’ve seen that fantasy become shattered. The truth is a surprisingly horrible beast in this instance. I find myself questioning whether I want to call myself an American anymore if I will be associated with the kinds of people that would tell me that my mother cannot marry the person she wants to, or that she can’t have the same rights as me simply because she is attracted to other women. These people would tell me that my mother is a sinner, and because of that I will go to hell too and burn for an eternity. They hold their signs up and denounce my mother and my family for no reason other than they don’t agree with her lifestyle and because they hate my mother. Why?
My mother is not perfect, but that has nothing to do with her sexuality. I know plenty of absolutely terrible parents who are heterosexual and Christian. So why should it matter that my mother is homosexual? Why do these people hate her and those like her?
And why has this sort of hatred become so prevalent? It’s like we’ve de-evolved. We’ve gone back to the same hatreds that plagued us long ago, but instead of skin color, it’s sexuality. And not enough people see anything wrong with this. Here in California the religious right is attempting to ban gay marriage because they are under the delusion that marriage is a Christian institution. Nevermind that this is factually inaccurate and that marriage has existed since well before Christianity ever showed up on the scene. People like Bill O’Reilly would have homosexuals hide who they are simply because they don’t comprise a majority; this is, obviously, another logical fallacy. Nothing would ever get done in this country if minorities (racial and political) simply kept to themselves. I’m not saying you have to agree with the homosexual lifestyle, but to suggest that they should just pretend they aren’t homosexual just so you can feel comfortable is nothing short of hatred.
Why should my mother pretend to be heterosexual? There is no logical reason. My mother is gay. Deal with it. Stop telling her she is going to go to hell. Stop telling me that I will go to hell if I don’t stop her from being who she is. Stop telling others not to be gay, or that they don’t deserve to be considered human like you just because they don’t share the same values as you. Would you suggest we tell all the Muslims they can’t be Muslim anymore? Maybe we shouldn’t let atheists exist in America either, right? Well, the religious right would say yes to those questions because they believe they are the only ones who should have a voice. And I say bull.
This all has made me question what happened to my beloved country. When did we cross the line and begin accepting discriminatory politics again? When did bigotry become acceptable? When did true America die?
And can we bring true America back? Or is it too late?
I don’t have the answers. All I know is that I will be voting no on Prop. 8, protecting marriage for all, not just for those who happen to fit into the religious ideal. I will always support marriage for all, because we can’t call America a free country if we’re willing to take away rights from ordinary citizens all over now can we? This is a fight to be known as “free for everyone” not “free for everyone but gays and people Christians don’t like”. We’re not a Christian nation. We are a nation of many peoples, from many religions, opinions, ideologies, etc. And we all deserve to be treated as human, not as subhumans.

That is all…

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, postcolonialism, posthumanism, and fantasy.

3 thoughts on “What Happened to America?

  1. I agree with you 100% that America does have problems with racism, homophobia, and bigotry in general. Colin Powell, while announcing his endorsement of Obama said that Obama is a Christian, but why should it matter if he wasn’t?

    Unfortunately, throughout the history of the United States, there has always been bigotry, racism, and homophobia and there always will be, if not in the entire population, in small pockets.

    You blame the religious right and you are right to do so since they are partially responsible, but remember, atheists hate the religious for their beliefs as well. In other words, the religious right is not only responsible for bigotry.

    I actually don’t like Lincoln. He led an illegal war invading land he no longer had sovereignty over. History misrepresents South as being the aggressor, when it was the North. The South only attacked Fort Sumpter because the Union troops refused to leave. His emancipation proclamation was also hardly brave–it was merely a political ploy to restore interest in an unpopular war.

    Many Christians also don’t think that marriage is a Christian institution, per se, but an institution intended to create children and renew the previous generation. Since a gay couple cannot produce a child together, they see such a bond as a sham and such sexual acts as sinful, since gay sex, like masturbation, protected sex, oral sex, and anal sex, neglects its manifest function, paying respect only to its latent ones.

    Oh, you misused the word “illusion.” You meant delusion. Also you misused the term “logical fallacy.” You mean to say factually inaccurate or factually incorrect.

    Technicality: you are incorrect in saying that gays do not have the same rights as you do. They do. Like everyone else, they are allowed to marry people of the opposite sex in addition to the right to vote, speak their mind, etc. They just want the additional right of being able to marry people of the same sex(which oddly enough would apply to all people regardless of sexual orientation.) It’s a right they should have, but technically they have no less rights than you or me.

  2. I blame the religious right because the religious right wants to make the very prospect of homosexuality illegal; atheists, on the whole, do not want to make religion illegal. Big difference.

    Sorry, gays do not have the same rights I do if we remove their right to marriage. You can argue that if you want, but that’s far from true. They aren’t allowed to marry who they want. Technically speaking they always had the right to marry whomever they wanted to. We’re only now trying to take that right away, and that’s wrong.

  3. I’m getting sick of those commericals telling me to “Restore Marriage” about Prop 8.

    Gays and Lesbians should be allowed to marry whoever they want.

    Hopefully this thing doesn’t pass, and hopefully it doesn’t come up again.

    But this is America, where the Christan Right(wrong) just love to make a big deal out of everything so I doubt it.


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