It has now been over a week since the 2004 presidential election took place and 59,459,765 out of more than 120 million U.S. citizens reelected President George W. Bush to a second term in office. President Bush won by 3.5 million votes. I have had some time to reflect on this historic election and allow my emotions a chance to calm down. An opinion written on an emotional high or low would be beneficial to no one. Two days after the election, a student for Kerry said to another student wearing a “W-Four More Years” T-shirt, “The country is going to shit.” The Bush supporter responded, “Yeah, whatever.”
Eleven states have outlawed gay marriages, paving the way for the government to attack more civil liberties. Yeah, whatever. Our president has misled the country with his reasons for engaging a war in Iraq. Our fellow brothers and sisters are dying every day as they still search for weapons of mass destruction and wage war against people who have no fears in battle, did not seek war, and have now basically lost everything. Not to mention the number of civilians we have killed and wounded in the process. Yeah, whatever.
After this election, civil rights for Americans seem uncertain. Eleven state governments have successfully enacted an amendment to define marriage, a term defined by monotheism. And where has separation of church and state gone? If our government can regulate against one minority group, then I feel that there is nothing to stop it from doing it to another. If there are enough people in 11 states that cannot see that the rights of homosexuals are no different from the rights of everyone else, then would those 11 states still allow Jews to attend synagogue, Muslims and Buddhists to still go to their temples, or Christians to practice their faith as they please? Should we bring back designated “white” and “colored” bathrooms and water fountains?
Americans are forgetting that we all deserve the same rights. Marriage is a word. Who are we to stop two, loving, same-sex citizens the right to marry and share the same rights given to heterosexual married couples? Every single person on this earth and in this country deserves the right to be happy and enjoy his or her life like the next person. We should learn to live in a country in which tolerance is our guide. Do not let your ignorance, hatred or mental sufferings interfere with others’ attempt to reach happiness.
I am a firm believer in upholding civil rights for all Americans, no exceptions. To those who enjoy all the civil rights America has to offer: Why are you and not others guaranteed all your rights? Are some citizens more equal under our constitution than others? The answer is not, “yeah, whatever.” It is, “absolutely not.”
Sam Rega can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.