By Margaret Hedderman
About a week ago I called about a “quaint cottage” near my work. The woman, whom I shall call Blanche, sounded lovely, as did the cottage. It was on a beautiful Eden-like garden property shared with another house. I asked if my boyfriend and I could come take a look, and she said:
Oh, you’re not married? I’m sorry, but I have never allowed unmarried couples to live on my property. That’s your life choice, but I will not disgrace God by allowing you to live in my house.
Now, this was a new one for me. As a straight, white, well-educated female from a family of the same, I have never encountered such blatant and open discrimination. Though Blanche was perfectly cordial and polite, her judgement of my “life choice” for half a second made me feel somehow inferior. I can only imagine how millions of Americans feel when faced with discrimination far worse than this everyday.
And then came news Wednesday afternoon that President Obama had finally come out in support of same-sex marriage. (Do you think I would’ve given Blanche a stroke if I’d said I was gay?) After years of “evolving” on the topic, the President said, “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
If he hadn’t alienated enough American voters with his skin colour, this statement sure as hell did.
“Just when you thought the conservative movement couldn’t be any more energized against President Obama, he gives us another gift,” said the president of Citizens United, David Bossie. “Add it to the list of atrocities.”
Oh yes, the atrocities of treating one another as human beings. What a heinous crime! For all the advances we have made in the last 50 years, there seems to be as much unadulterated hatred in this country as there was during the Civil Rights Movement. And yet, rather than spark riots, it only fuels approval ratings. It’s commonplace to hear politicians and pundits speaking out against basic human rights.
For a country that deems itself far superior in all regards to every other nation on the planet, we sure don’t show it. From everyday life to national politics, there is a complete disregard for treating one another decently, morally, and justly.
“The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the golden rule — you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated,” President Obama said. “And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids, and that’s what motivates me as president.”
Do you think if Rory and I were family friends or relatives of Blanche she would have treated us like inferior beings? Would you be as judgemental to someone you know as you are to someone you don’t? It seems a lot of people out there have forgotten about the golden rule, so thank you, President Obama, for remembering it – and hopefully leading the way in treating all Americans equally.