Don’t Insult My Country
This is more a rant about logic than anything else, so don’t run off thinking “omg, another American idiot.”
I got in a tweet-war today with someone who swore at the United States and insisted the country “fucked up” because gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (abbrev. LGBT) adolescents have committed suicide due to hazing, bullying, discrimination, and other such heinous acts of physical and emotional violence. Has the country failed, or have the individuals who were violent to these individuals failed? Is it our laws, which do not in any way condone unnecessary violence, or is it the schools, parents, families, and students who didn’t do anything to stop it?
I say the latter.
DOMA is a federal law that defines marriage as “the union of a man and a woman.” Yes, that’s unfair. Yes, that’s discriminatory. But it does not promote violence, and I frankly don’t see how that relates to the unfortunate suicides of adolescents.
DADT is actually a step forward. Prior to this policy, LGBT civilians could not join the military unless they lied about their sexual orientation. DADT allows LGBT to join the military as long as they aren’t open about their sexuality. Furthermore, nobody can ask about another’s sexuality. A good friend of mine was a Navy SEAL before he got discharged via DADT. However, if it weren’t for DADT, he wouldn’t have been able to serve in the first place. Yes, DADT sucks. But it sucks less than the Defense Directive. DADT was a compromise: the Defense Direction needed to go, but people “weren’t ready” to jump straight into being on-duty with someone of the same sex who may hit on them.
This person (who I will not name, though you can easily look in my twitter feed to see who it was) claimed both of these as support to his previous conjecture that “America has fucked up” because its laws “promote violence against LGBT people.”
Realizing he was beat on that front, he brought up Separate But Equal, a legal doctrine allowing for racial segregation. This doctrine was, again, a compromise of sorts. It came about after the American Civil War (1861-1865) when slavery was officially abolished. However, immediately introducing all African-Americans into “normal society” would be volatile, at best. There were too many people convinced that Whites were superior. Segregation and gradual assimilation was the best way to avoid a worse situation.
If I were to discuss women’s rights in the US, the case would be much the same. Change does not happen in a day. People fear what is different, and in a country as diverse as the US, there is a lot of that fear. In my opinion, the government is doing what they can to ease into complete equality. Changing the mindset of an entire country is not an easy (or fast) process.
Going back to the unfortunate adolescent suicides, the fault does not rely with the government. The fault lies with the people. It lies with the parents, of both the adolescent who killed himself and the bullies who drove him to suicide. It lies with the teachers and other school administrators who did nothing to stop it (or not enough). It lies with the children themselves, both for bullying and for giving into the bullying. Not with the entire country.
One cannot simply put a law in place to say “Treat EVERYONE with absolute equality or else!” There are laws against murder and theft, but people still murder and thieve.
The solution isn’t the law. The solution is the people. We need to tell our kids that it’s okay to be different. It’s okay to admit you’re atypical, and it’s okay if someone else is, too. We need to teach acceptance. We need to hold ourselves to higher standards and not give in to the cruelty of those who do not.
Do not insult my country for doing what it can to fix a bad situation. I know this country has a great many flaws, but do not blame her for what is not her fault. Blame the people who are too stubborn to accept change. Blame the people too ignorant to accept differences. And blame the people who are too blind to stop violence and hazing.