Thursday, September 15, 2011

What REALLY Matters?

So, help me out a bit here, friends. The legislature of the great state of North Carolina has been spending a great deal of time lately on the issue of gay marriage...or rather, since gay marriage is already against the law in this state, on deciding if the definition of marriage as being "between one man and one woman" should be made part of the NC Constitution, that document which defines the ways in which we relate to each other in the Tarheel State.

Now, I could go on and on about that topic in and of itself...about how this is about justice, about treating all people fairly, about equality for all the citizens of our state. Or asking just how the marriage of any two people threatens in any way the marriage and family life of any other two people. Or reminding all of us heterosexuals about how poorly we've done with maintaining the sanctity of the marriage vows, what with more than 50% of all marriages ending in divorce. But I won't do that, won't go there...not right now. Because right now, I have to tell you that I am both confused AND upset that our elected officials have chosen to spend their time- for which we are paying, by the way- on a matter which poses no "threat" at all to this state and its people when there are so many very real problems existing in our state and our world.

Like the reduction in funding to school districts, resulting in fewer teachers and less equipment and more children per classroom. Like the reduction in funding to the arts, resulting in the availabiity of far fewer music, art, and theatre programs across the state, events which bring beauty and creativity and imagination to children and adults alike and without which we are hardly fully human. Like the reduction in staff of the Coastal Reserve which protects our beautiful and unique barrier islands.

And to lift our eyes and concern from North Carolina, what about the rest of the world? How in the world can any legislative body spend so much time on a non-issue like gay marriage when there are 44 million refugees worldwide in need of help, food, refuge. (And, by the way, that's the approximate combined population of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida!)...when more children are starving each day than the total of people killed on 9/11...

...when productive land is shrinking annually by the size of the state of Ohio due to increasing population and even more, due to soil degradation which comes from deforestation...when more than 3 billion people on our planet are malnourished...when the Earth's air and oceans are becoming ever more polluted and less able to support life.

Ladies and gentlemen of the legislature, when will you lift your eyes and open your hearts enough to realize that each hour, each day you spend on issues which do not truly effect us all is a wasted day. To quote geneticist and environmentalist, David Suzuki: The interconnectedness of all things on Earth means that everything we do has consequences that reverberate through the systems of which we are a part. When are you going to make what you do COUNT? When are you going to step up and BE the leaders you have been called upon to be? And, fellow citizens, when are we?

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