Wednesday, July 1, 2015

in the saddle

Rights are not and should not be up for a popular vote or up to the states to determine. Rights are absolute and cannot be dependent upon anything other than the fact that the person is a human being and is a citizen of the US. If those two conditions are met, YOUR belief system about what is MORALLY or spiritually right or wrong does not matter and should not.

I excerpted what is above from a facebook post I saw this morning. It caught my attention because it reflects how I think and expresses what I have said to anyone who has been within earshot of me when the subject has come up.

Way back, around 1972, a candidate running for office in New York State suggested that the state have a referendum on the issue of whether abortion should be legal. This was, of course, before the right to have an abortion became the law of the land.  

I was just a young man at the time--certain I was an old wise one--and my reaction to this notion was that such an idea was laughable and preposterous.  I reacted similarly a few years later when the Equal Rights Amendment was, in fact, put to a popular vote.  I can recall getting into some heated discussions about that one. I was already a college professor at that time. At work, with my family, and with friends-- I missed no opportunity to express my frustration that equal rights would come up for a vote.

You can't vote for or against human rights. As we approach July 4th we should remember this--and remember this every other day as well.  You can't vote to decide if it is okay to do something that deprives another person of a right.  The Equal Rights Amendment was especially frustrating perhaps because of its title.  Can you really vote against the concept of equal rights?  Apparently in the state of New York and throughout these here United States you could.  

I understand that with the ERA, despite the title, the content of the amendment was vague such that even libertarians feared that its passing could result in less rights not more.  However, I will argue with anyone that many of the people who voted against the ERA did so because they felt that women are inherently inferior--and this includes women themselves.  Some of the conversations I heard during that time were mind boggling. "Women don't want equality."    Ridickalus.  

But it would not matter if women, gays, members of religious groups, political parties did not want equality.  You got it. And you can't vote to decide not to have it.

Several months ago I saw a youtube post about some folks in Mississippi who were voting for politicians on the basis of how religious they were. One opined that the country will be in good shape "once we put God in the saddle."

If you believe in God, God is in the saddle whether you like it or not.  Regardless of whether you do or do not believe in God, there are certain truths that govern our universe despite humankinds attempts to steer the horse in an unnatural direction.  In the saddle, as Thomas Jefferson penned nearly 240 years ago, are certain "inalienable rights."   And you can't vote on whether someone has these rights or not.  Our country has the huge scar that even after the declaration of independence, the lawmakers deemed that black men and women did not have these rights and it took 100 years, a courageous president, and a war, for that outrage to be outlawed.

The last line of the excerpted quote is something to be hammered out to your children. 

Your belief system about what is morally or spiritually right does not matter when it comes to human rights. 

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