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Time is running short this election cycle. In just four short weeks we will go to the polls to decide who will lead our country, who will make decisions at the state and local level – and we will vote on Proposal 2, the draconian anti-marriage amendment to Michigan’s Constitution.
This election is happening at a crossroads in American history. America is not only a place. It is not only a collection of 50 states. It is not just the people who live here. America is most importantly an idea. It is the radical notion that all people are created equal and that we are entitled to certain inalienable rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We have become the most powerful nation that has ever existed, economically and militarily. However, in the course of history whenever one nation has become all-powerful, that nation has always morphed into an empire. We are at a juncture where we need to decide if we will fall into the same pattern etched into human history, or will we preserve our country – our precious idea – of freedom and liberty for all.
In the course of our 240 year history, we have discovered that to be free is not about doing whatever you want to do. The true challenge of freedom is to have the courage to allow someone else to do what they want to do, even if you don’t like it. It’s allowing people who are different from you the space and the opportunity to live their lives by their own determination.
There are people today in leadership positions who do not share this vision of America. Far right wing extremists believe that since we have the ability to overpower others, that means we also have the right to do so. Increasing far-right political power is what matters to them in this election.
Michigan’s LGBT community is being used as political “red meat” in this election cycle. Proposal 2, the so-called “Gay Marriage Amendment,” is not really about same-sex marriage, it is about galvanizing the right-wing base in Michigan to come out to the polls on Nov. 2 to reelect George Bush. Our community, if we lose on Proposal 2, will be just another casualty in the war on America’s ideas of freedom and justice.
Every generation since the beginning of this great nation has been called upon to defend America and the ideals for which it stands. Some have done it on the battlefield, others in the streets, and some with pen in hand. Now is our time. We must stand up and defend what we believe America to be – a place where people can live in peace with each other, even if they disagree.
All LGBT people in Michigan are needed to help fight this insidious amendment. Go to www.fairmichigan.org and donate money, offer to volunteer, get information to host a house party – whatever you can do. Everyone’s involvement is urgently needed.
This election is probably the most important election in our lifetimes, with so much at stake and with us facing such divergent forks in the road. It is now time to pay attention, get involved and make a difference. If Proposal 2 passes, our state’s constitution will be inscribed with discrimination that will haunt us for years. We must not ignore this call to action. We must not shirk our responsibilities to defend ourselves and our vision of an inclusive America.