It takes a village

This morning I read an article on Buzzfeed (yes, I am sucker for BF – it’s ok. It’s going to be ok.) about Riyadh Khalaf’s video about voting yes for a same-sex marriage bill in Ireland in May. You can read the article here, if you so wish, and the video it is based on is below:

I’m glad that as a society, we’re making gains on equality for everyone. We obviously have a very long way to go yet, and we do really shitty things all the time to each other that demonstrate very visibly how far we have to go, but we are gradually improving over time.

I can’t believe that in 2015 we don’t yet have full equality for basically anyone who isn’t a straight white. I know it’s completely true – your best chance at life is to be born a white straight male – but it continues to boggle my mind. Even something as normal as marrying (or even dating!) outside your ethnicity is still very hard for some people to grasp and accept. It’s funny that these same people want you to date/marry inside your ethnicity but outside your gender. Well, not funny. Anyway, there are a lot of stupid, arbitrary rules.

When I had my babies, everything shifted. Suddenly, I was part of a community of parents, one that I understood existed, but hadn’t yet breached (little birthing humor for you). They say that it takes a village to raise a child. In my experience (which is one person of this community), that is accurate. Beyond their loving and perfect-at-parenting-in-every-scenario parents (more humor for you), a wide variety of people in my children’s lives benefit them exponentially. But really, it’s not enough that they see all these people, they need to grow up in a society that doesn’t falsely value them over any other human based on something as bizarre as their pigmentation or who they want to marry. Other people have said it much more elegantly, that equality is essential. Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughter-house Five has the protagonist discover (with the help of aliens) that seven sexes are essential on earth and William Shakespeare has been reminding us for more than 400 years (four hundred years) that there is more in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy (I paraphrase but I’m sure you can Google Hamlet).

The point, I think, is simple. We need each other, probably more than we think. We are going to continue to have deep, unresolved problems if we can’t start by trusting our brothers and sisters in the world. You don’t have to like every individual you meet, but we are punishing ourselves if we don’t try to be fair and honest in our assessment of people based on the things that matter – the content of their character (I mean, really, who said it better?). Don’t tire in your pursuit of equality, my friends. Let’s be the village we need.

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