-This is an old one copied over from facebook, but I'm reposting it and re-linking it all over the place because I think it's important.-
It was brought to my attention recently that the definition for 'Human Rights' is getting a bit cloudy. Maybe because people are more inclined these days to ask, and expect, to be treated equally regardless of their race, religion, sexuality, whatever.
Someone, in a postion of not insignificant authority, was suggesting that the subject of gay marriage had nothing to do with human rights. Someone needs to buy a dictionary I think. The argument actually ran more along the lines of human rights ONLY being about basic necessity. Food. Shelter. I guess someone better go tell Nelson Mandela. And Martin Luther King Jr. And the many, many thousands of others who have stood up for all kinds of rights that apparently don't count as human rights. WTF dude?
I can manage to agree that at the core of human rights are a bunch of things that everyone should expect to have access to with absolute disregard for any outside influence. That food and shelter stuff, that's not something we should even be arguing about. I don't think however that the fact that I don't need to be able to marry my girlfriend to live, stops it from being a human right issue that I be allowed to, should I so choose. Don't get your hopes up kids, I'm as straight as a poorly manufactured arrow.
I'm getting a bit fed up with all the debate over human rights. Why? Because it sickens me that people need to be told to treat each other with a modicum of respect. It flat out flabberghasts me that people don't grasp the fairly basic concept that turn about is fair play. Why the hell should I respect your lifestyles and credos if you aren't prepared to respect mine? That's not tricky right? I don't have to believe in your god to respect your right to, do I? No. Obviously not. So stop being a gigantic DERP about it and let me get on with my life. Not that anyone actually directly gets on their high horse at me - because I'm seldom stupid enough to tell anyone I think MIGHT. I have a couple of Christian friends who occasionally try to 'save my soul', I offend one quite regularly with my inability to grasp that there is anything wrong with it in the first place.
Certainly according to my own system of belief, I'm doing alright.
I think this over-prevalent attitude of 'my beliefs are right, therefore yours are unacceptable' is crazy. No, this is not a colloquialism. I mean crazy. Actual. Batshit. MENTAL. We have minds, we think, we have opinions. If we all agreed all the time, there would be little point in our having the capacity for debate. Why would it even have developed, if it wasn't useful for something? We're not MEANT to agree all the time, because we would get NOWHERE if we did. Without disagreement, that stick we first picked up to pick an ant out of a log would never have developed into a 27 tool pocketknife. That sits in a draw doing nothing.
Debate is an important part of development, and forcing a lack of debate will only hold us back. Sure there's a whole lot of development we could arguably have done without. But I'm quite fond of my laptop. As evidenced by my lying in bed with it propped up on a few books in my lap while I write this. And the zillion other rants I've written.
It's time, and well past time, humanity accepted its need for debate and accepted that being different is not the same as being wrong. We tell our children off for picking on each other for the little differences in their lives, and yet blithely ignore the gapping hypocrisy going on all around us. We expect our children to learn to be decent and fair human beings, while all around them they see inequity and outright hostility over differences much larger than the things they play at being little bastards over. What exactly are we teaching them?
I've very, very proud of my daughter**. She has an astonishing grasp of fairness, and a matching unwillingness to tolerate inequity around her. She stands up for her friends when they are bullied and, much harder, she stands up TO them when they're being dicks. I haven't had to steer her a lot, she was born this way. It's a pleasure watching her growing into an immensely lovable adult. Sometimes it amazes me how decent she is, given that she's had to grow up in a broken home (thankfully not very messily broken) with a sick mother who has very little extra energy most of the time. I suppose with a lack of physical energy I have put a lot more of my time into mental pursuit - we talk a lot. She's a smart kid, it's amazing to watch mental development in progress. Amazing to watch her thinking through complicated moral situations and come to her own conclusions. We don't always agree, but then I don't expect to.
*nope, that isn't a spelling mistake in the title ;)
** I don't mean to sound arrogant here, she is completely awesome. But I actually think she is 90% awesome just because of who she is. I didn't do it, her dad didn't do it, she just IS a very cool human being who's been allowed to develop her own coolness. That's the bit I got right.