Right now, I can’t escape thinking about politics and our choices. The question that occupies me is raised in my walks around the city by the demands made on me—on my time and energy—by various groups asking for money and support, by a homeless man holding a sign, “For me and for my son.” I get home and find emails from the president asking for “$13 before midnight tonight.” Then there are the ones closer to home, The Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD and the other gay rights organizations.
I could ignore all this, saying, “Those things have nothing to do with me.” And they may not. Gay men normally don’t have anything to do with women’s issues and don’t necessarily have anything to do with the issues of homeless men. It may be that the strongest connection between those causes and me is that I care about the welfare of other citizens, which is a pretty tenuous connection.
So, walking around the city, I search for a stronger connection between me and the malnourished kid, the homeless men, and the women seeking abortion, and the political campaigns. Why do I have to get deeply involved in Obama’s campaign for re-election?
We’re human—me and the malnourished kid and the homeless man, the woman seeking abortion—and we all get our rights from the same place, the Constitution and also from the basic fact of what we are. Not because we are good or kind or thoughtful, but because we are human. We can’t escape the fact that we are all connected, and if I want respect because I am a gay human male, I can’t escape giving respect. I can’t get it unless I give it.
It is only a short step to being committed politically, giving money and carrying signs for the candidate who is going to do something for the malnourished kid, the woman seeking an abortion, and the homeless man and his son. As gay people, the vision we have is of a world in which, if we are free, all must be free. We can’t equivocate on that.