Fighting for “Rights”?
Yesterday, one of my best friends and I got into one of our typical random deep conversations (it happens from time to time). I had brought up something about the women’s rights debates that have sprung up in the last several months, and my friend Emily said:
Just like…I feel like anytime “rights” come up in a conversation…if it’s a “right” we should not be debating it at all.
It was one of those unexpected comments that really gets me thinking. And then the thinking just got kicked up a notch today, when a federal appeals court in New York ruled DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act, in case you’re not familiar) unconstitutional.
Let’s take it back to 1776, shall we?
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men [people] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…
~The United States Declaration of Independence
Certain unalienable rights. Even over two centuries ago, the idea of rights being given at birth was alive. And, yes, we’ve had to fight for “rights” throughout the years, at which time that passage gets quoted again and again. Civil rights. Voting rights. The fight for rights crops up throughout history.
Right: noun (19) …that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc.
This election season, the spotlight seems to be on LGBTQ rights and women’s health rights (although other women’s issues definitely came up in this week’s presidential debate). By definition in both the dictionary and the Declaration of Independence, we shouldn’t be having to fight for these things. The gay community should automatically be granted the right to marry, because it’s a right. Women should be the ones to make the health decisions for their own bodies, because it’s a right. And yet this is what we’re fighting.
If you have the priviledge to vote–the right to vote–please act upon it. Your vote in both federal and local elections, for senators and governors and presidents, for issues and amendments and whatever else might be on your ballot this fall–your vote could determine whether or not some group gets denied rights that should be theirs in the first place. So please make sure to get out there and vote.
It’s your right.