Friday, November 9, 2007

JMO - Values and our humanity

While listening and reading about the debate over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), I was struck by some thoughts on humna nature and personal values everyone uses to guide themselves and make decisions in their life. It struck me that the worst of those who preach are more than likely the least who really understand the issue, the reality of the issue and the consequences in people's life. They hold to what they describe as their personal values and won't waver from them in the face of what they call the enemy which is simply reality.

The first thought was the saying, "The truth of someone's value is not what or who they include, it's who or what they exclude." That was evident when many who support the pro-LGBT cause decided to remove the inclusion of transpeople, or gender identity, expression or presentation, and felt transpeople were ballast to a sinking bill when faced with the conservative or religious right's view about these people, rights and marriage. And so they jettisoned transpeople from the bill and in their reality.

The exception was Representative Tammy Baldwin. She gave a short, magnificant and magnanimous speech about the failures of Representative Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi and all the representatives who were for the non-inclusive bill. She, and I suspect a few others, decided inclusion was the only answer, and exclusion was not the answer, but merely the politically expedient ones others used to make a show and get votes in next year's election.

The second thought was the saying, "Any principle or belief followed outside of reality is hollow." This is what I consistently heard from the conservative and religious representatives, citing reasons or excuses for voting against the bill, but in reality all those reasons and excuses were falsehoods. They had nothing to do with the actual bill but with their idealistic view of who is acceptable to discriminate against, namely homosexual and transgender people.

The bill including language palatable to the religious community, to allow them to discriminate against anyone they don't want to accept in the church or commercial interests, and to those advocating the "protection" of marriage by exempting any connection between non-discrimination and existing marriage statutes or laws, like the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The writers of the bill simply caved in to protect their political ass(ets) for next year's election.

The third thought was the saying, "In the practice of our beliefs, we make concessions and draw lines between who or what we accept and don't accept." As noted some people's line are imaginary in the real world, some people's lines are drawn for personal reasons for their political survival, and some people's lines are relative to the situation. But then some people's lines are so far out there, it's rare any issue gets even close.

This is a point, how big of a frame of acceptance do we make with our beliefs to establish values and allow humanity into the picture of our life, leaving everyone else outside of our reality? And that's the real issue. It's not about our principles or beliefs, but the frame of our life and view of reality. Everything else are the tools we use to build the frame. After all, like everyone else, we put our frame on the wall of humanity and reality.

So, how big is your frame? How large your humanity?

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