“. . . It hasn’t learned . . . You must do more. You must work harder . . .”
Elie Wiesel’s story of surviving the unfathomable horrors of forced labor in a Concentration Camp during World War II is a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit. Many have written about that terrible time, but few have captured the essence of the depths of despair, the suffering, and the loss of human dignity that Wiesel has.
Wiesel was only a child when he was sent to Buchenwald-Auschwitz. His mother and sister were selected and sent immediately to the gas chamber. He and his father were selected instead for hard labor. Eventually, after unimaginable hardship, Elie survived to relate how, when people hate, they become corrupt and lose their own sense of humanity.
Wiesel has traveled the world, won a Nobel Prize, and written countless books, essays, and articles about the importance of treating one another with dignity. His message is that despite our differences, we are linked by our humanity. It is a powerful message; one that is filled with optimism. But Weisel is equally pessimistic about the world in which we live. He recounts the many injustices that even today are perpetrated against people. So, he continues to work hard, although he is now in his 80’s, to make the world a better place.
Because he has seen the worst that people can do to each other, he remains a watchdog for us all; reminding us that we cannot give up on improving the world. If we do, we allow the forces of evil to gather, gain strength, and rise to destroy us.
So, while we were victorious in electing for a second term a President who is in favor of equality for all Americans, we must remember that we have a great deal of work left to do. There are plenty of people who continue to see LGBTQ rights as a threat to their own rights, who perceive that granting full equality will somehow undermine their very existence, and who hide behind their religion to make LGBTQ individuals second class citizens.
The best way to allow those who hate so vehemently to gain momentum is to remain silent. That is what happened in Nazi Germany, and it is not too far a stretch, considering statements that have been made recently about placing LGBTQ people behind barbed wire or killing them, to realize that it could happen here.
If we remain silent, we are inviting the horrors of the holocaust into our own homes. We must do more. We must work hard; harder than ever before, to grant equality to all Americans
Yesterday, my neighborhood was littered with political signs; most of them representing all that I decry. To me, they were about oppression, repression, and a return to silence. Today, those signs are down. They lost this round, but they are more than ready to take up the banner of hate at a moment’s notice.
Today I put my American flag in the middle of my front yard. I did it with pride. I did it so that anybody passing by understands that I stand for dignity, truth, freedom of expression, and the rights of all Americans to be true to themselves.
I am an unapologetic patriot. I believe in an America where people like Elie Wiesel’s don’t need to worry about their family’s futures because of their religion. I believe in an America where African Americans can choose where they want to live. I believe in an America where a woman can consult with her doctor to make decisions about her own body. I also believe in an America where, despite our differences of opinion, we respect each other, treat each other with dignity, and have equal rights.
My vision of America is not that we are a nation of disparate parts; my vision is that we are all struggling together for a better future for this generation and for generations to come.
But my vision takes a lot of work. It takes persistence, patience, and a positive attitude. Little by little, I see America as a land where the promise of equality for ALL Americans will happen.
We cannot let the triumph of this election lull us into a false sense of complacency. We must continue to teach the world what it hasn’t yet learned; that treating people as less equal is inherently evil. If we word harder . . . harder than ever before, the world WILL learn, and the promise of an equal America WILL be fulfilled!
. . . And I’m just a mom who loves her son . . .
(Previously published in www.thequ.co)