Had an interesting conversation with my friend Alex today. It got me thinking about all the things I see in my Facebook and twitter feeds. All the issues and causes and politics we care about. One of the things people ask me is why I care about equality issues for people who do not look like/love like me. I say the answer is as simple as my favorite Bouncing Souls lyric:
People say, well, if they don’t care, then why should I care? I say, if I don’t care, why should anyone care?
If we are serious about caring for our neighbor, as the President said tonight or as the Bible says for those who follow that, then we must care about those who do not look like ourselves. Why does a white, suburban, work-at-home mom care about organizing a hate crimes event for LGBT individuals and people of color? Because I am exactly the person who should care!
There are no “my issues” and “your issues.” There are no “women’s issues.” There are no “gay issues” and “straight issues.” There is one issue: All people are created equal. All people are born with the right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness. And when we find that people are not treated equally, it is our duty to be a part of that solution. Because if you just sit back and say, “Well, that’s not my problem.” Or if you say, “But that doesn’t really effect me.” You’re lying to yourself.
When people I love are treated like second-class citizens because of their sexuality or gender identity; when I’m treated like a second-class citizen because I want to be paid equally and have autonomy over my body; when my neighbor finds hate-speech scrawled on his block wall… It is a problem. It is a problem for each and every one of us. We are all diminished when bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and inequality are left to fester because it is, “not our problem.”
So, yeah. I’m organizing a hate crimes event. I’m taking my tea cup full of water to the forest fire. And I will keep doing it. Because it is the right thing to do. Like my husband says, “We’re the Bristols. We do what’s right, even if it is hard. That’s how we roll.” So, I hope you will roll with me. I hope you will sit back and look at the big picture for just a moment and realize that all these “hates” have the same root.
And nobody wins when there is hate.