I watched Lincoln today. I really enjoyed it. I liked that he was shown to be a man with failings despite the fact that I think he is one of the greatest humanitarians ever. Today, as we watched the first black president give his ‘Second Inaugural’, I remember that just a few years ago I thought I would never see this in my lifetime. This is all thanks to a visionary man, that over 150 years ago gave everyone in his community the first chance to change their history, to be better humans. Now here we are in the present and I also think President Obama is a great man, not quite Abraham Lincoln, but a great man nonetheless.
In the movie Lincoln was seen to say “Euclid’s first common notion is this: Things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other. That’s a rule of mathematical reasoning and its true because it works – has done and always will do. In his book Euclid says this is self evident. You see there it is even in that 2000 year old book of mechanical law it is the self evident truth that things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other”.
This was easily applied to the slaves, by Lincoln and many of his followers, as they were men and women too, just like white Americans. However, to this day there are those who feel otherwise. It is a shame and it is shameful. Equality is a self evident truth and knowing that bigotry still exists, not only in America but worldwide, holds us all back from essential freedoms, both legal and metaphysical.
Many ascertained that equality was an essential right well before Lincoln. Almost 100 years before Jefferson deemed it so in the Declaration of Independence. In Massachusetts, Article I stated ‘All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness’. A few short years later a legal case deemed ‘slavery was incompatible with the principles of liberty and legal equality’. The progress was eternally slow, but there was progress.
In recent times, President Obama compared the travesty that is the struggle of the gay members of our community to that endured by the black men and women of America’s past. When reflecting upon Euclid’s words I have to agree. Why is it that we cannot respect the importance of these relationships and allow them to be realised? The only people it truly affects are the ones that are in them. A legal recognition of homosexual relationships may even make it easier for those who defy it to accept a situation that so disturbs them at this time. I personally do not care what instigates this, just that it happens and that essential equality is secured. It would prevent a world of heartache for those who feel they have to hide their true selves and for those that they hide from, who truly care about them.
On an aside and because I feel compelled to mention it, some things appear to remain unequal and the favour does lean toward the LGTBQI community. I have been to the Mardi Gras in Sydney and have seen several parades for recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex pride. The gross inequality I feel is present is that there is not a passionate celebration for overworked, exhausted, undersexed mothers and wives with 3 kids under 5 years, and a husband who has a ‘hobby’. While I am grossly disappointed, and have had it pointed out to me that the world calls it Mother’s Day, I do realise that puked on t-shirts, unkempt hair and bags under the eyes is no competition for oiled bodies, flamboyant feathered costumes and an abundance of lamé. The fabulous nature of these events defies equality to be sure.
Back to business…
It was encouraging hearing in the second inaugural speech President Obama again proclaiming that ‘all of us are created equal’. ‘Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well’. I believe that his wish to seek equality for all couples under the Constitution, regardless of sexual orientation, is a first step to having it universally believed. There has not been a war to achieve this but I do believe there have been enough lives lost. Maybe one day there may be an openly gay president, now that the premise has been challenged in an inaugural address, as slavery was in 1865. I just hope the reality doesn’t take over 150 years.
And for the record, I would be quite satisfied witnessing the inauguration of a woman president, even if she wasn’t a lesbian 😉