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Equality August 1, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Politics, Society.
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Last night, I finally watch the movie “Milk”. It stars Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the gay civil rights activist and city supervisor in California. It is based on his life from 1972 and 1978. (He turned 40 in 1972.) Being only six years old at the time, it was a period of history I have no memories, especially of the cultural events during that time. However, I was struck by the parallels to the recent news of Havard professor Gates arrest this past week. Complete discrimination! I don’t understand it. What I was surprised about with the Gates situation is the amount news focused only on the police officers actions, and not those of Gates or the 911 call center… which is where the race was actually brought into the situation. It was not the good neighbor who mentioned race, but the 911 operator.

And as much progress as Harvey Milk was able to accomplish we are still struggling 30 years later… why is gay marriage still an issue? Again, I do not understand. Why is discrimination by anyone, against anyone else okay?…. And now, as I write this, I am watching several episodes of Morgan Spurlock’s 30 Days. These shows are 45 minutes of enlightening insights into various situations of differences. On this DVD was 1) a border patol officer moving in with a family of illegal aliens 2) an American computer programmer who was laid off moved to India to work in a call center and 3) an atheist woman moved into the house of family of devoted Christians.

Spurlock read the results of recent US surveys that found atheists were the single least trusted people in the country, less trusted the Muslims, recent immigants and homosexuals in terms of sharing Americans vision of society. In a country founded to separate church and state, providing people with complete religious freedom and equality to everyone, we are failing miserably. What strikes me most about the episode on religion is the way the devoted family has no recognition of their close-mindedness. They were not open to the possibility that there were other views of spirituality out there… this is how religious wars are started!

I am always interested in how other people see things. However, I do not judge those feelings nor do I care how others feel about mine – except if it results in discrimination. But as I think back, I apparently do. In my post about our next car, I realize now that one of the primary reasons I would not get a foriegn car is the feeling of others looking poorly upon my choice of vehicles. Why is it that in this country, we can not feel comfortable or safe being different?

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