Growing up I was excluded from many activities. Some exclusions were just; I physically was unable to participate. Others were unjust; I was perceived as unable to participate. I survived, but it bugged me sometimes, especially on job interview days.
There are legitimate reasons because of my severe disability that you may judge me as a lesser person.
In other ways, however, I am a greater person. I'm more intelligent than many of you reading this. I'm a better writer than many of you. I am superior in a few ways. I don't prejudge. I'll let you show me your best stuff, and I'll admit when I've met someone more skilled, talented or intelligent than me. I make those decisions individually. I ask the same of you.
I've been excluded unjustly due to perceptions of my disability. It happens less today, but it still happens.
It's sad but understandable.
Society imposes exclusion on other groups for far less understandable reasons.
fear a man with dark skin and kinky hair...
are troubled when a shop owner speaks pidgin...
assume a Mexican person has stolen a job opportunity from an American...
presume the effeminate man is a danger to your son...
scrutinize the behavior of someone who prays to the east five times daily...
suspect that two men who love each other are anything less than outstanding parents...
... or if you have ever cast a vote for legislators who see the world through bloodstained glasses...
You are lesser than me.In the past few days we've seen progress in America. All marriages between consenting adults have the same rights and privileges. Men and women from other lands can once again pursue the American dream through improved immigration processes.
These are not conservative versus liberal topics. These are not Republican versus Democrat debates. These are truths that should have never needed legislation.
As Americans we should be ashamed that we require laws granting women equal rights, protecting civil liberties of minorities, abolishing slavery, opening doors to immigrants, requiring racial balance in our education system, and creating access for people with mobility impairments.
All Americans should have equal rights. All humans should have the right to choose to become Americans.
I am happy for my gay friends who can now marry.
I am happy that my black friends have equal access to education.
I am happy that my female friends have the right to vote and are entitled to equal pay.
I am happy for my friends born outside the US that our borders are more open today than they were yesterday.
I am not happy that any of them ever struggled with these things. I am not happy that historically America has been an evil society suppressing the collection of people that created it.
And finally, I'm not happy that America is still the best country in the world. We are the hallmark of freedom. We have a long ways to go, but are still among the leaders.
Americans need to keep moving forward. We need to demonstrate continually that freedom is a human entitlement. We need to encourage other counties to grant these freedoms to their own citizens. We must lead by example.
To do it, doesn't require legislation. All it takes is for every one of us should look at each other sans judgment.
Let me show you what I can do. Let me show you how great I can be. Be open. Do this for me, and it's easy to do for everyone else you meet.