Thursday, December 11, 2008

No More Us Vs. Them - By Sara Whitman

I have spent much of my life as a victim. As a Lesbian, as a woman, I have been a victim of hate, of violence, of job discrimination. I'm done. I don't want to be the other. I don't want to be on one side while the rest of the world, divided by what often feels like an arbitrary line, sits on the other. Please, no more Us vs. Them. I am an American. I am responsible for three kids, my wife- my family. I love them and it is my job to take good care of them- the best care of them I possibly can. I pay taxes and a mortgage. In order to do that, I need to be an excellent employee, work hard, put in my best effort.

I am motivated by being a good role model for my children. I need to support them emotionally, and provide the best education possible. My marriage, keeps more than just our community wrapped around keeping our relationship intact, it provides laws to do so, too. Marriage is good for society. It keeps families whole and provides safety nets- especially for children. It has for a long time. It will continue to for a long time.

I'm not looking for any special treatment- except on my birthday, when I love my kids waking me up at the crack of dawn to provide me a "leisurely" breakfast in bed. I don't except to pay less for gas, or to have a special line to get past airport security faster than anyone else. Most of all, I don't want pity. I am stronger than most people. I can haul wood or groceries or laundry endless distances. I can stay up all night and rub a sick child's back until they can fall back asleep again. I can cook dinner for my family every night or for 50 people on Superbowl Sunday.

I can hold unbearable past experiences and still breathe in the joy of my life today. I am a good friend. I care deeply about my neighbors, my community, my country. I donate my time, my money to help better the world. I am not on the other side. I am not a tiny piece of a small fragment in this country. Don't ever feel sorry for me.

Let me have the full responsibility of being an American. Because we deserve an American workforce free of discrimination, we deserve the strongest military in the world and every child in this country deserves a family. I am an asset to this society. Let us all erase the lines of Us and Them. Think of what we can do if we do it together. I want excellence. I want a stronger America. It's something, I believe, we can all agree on.

(This oped was written in the wake of Proposition 8 and was reprinted from the Huffington Post, for which Whitman is a contributing writer.)

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