Lincoln Had it Right
By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
So we’re kind of at a stand still right now with Harrison’s adoption. After we found out that we had to have an ad litem attorney (in San Antonio) to represent Harrison, that is where things have slowed down. Everything else is done, and now we are waiting for this last step to fall into place so that we can get a court date. I anxiously await for the phone call that says when we can go!
In the meantime, all across the nation, LGBT Pride was celebrated throughout the month of June. Dallas has its Pride parade each year in September, rather than June (like the rest of the world). But while most of the world celebrates equality and pride, there are still hate crimes and suicides happening to young gay and lesbians in our country. Just last week, in Portland, Texas (a suburb of Corpus Christi) a young lesbian couple was found in a waterside park, having each been shot in the head. One of the young ladies, Mollie, died from her injuries; her girlfriend, Kristene, remains in the hospital, recovering from hers. It did not make the news here in Dallas, but word traveled swiftly on news websites and social media. Soon, LGBT communities across the country reacted, planning candlelight vigils on behalf of Mollie and Kristene, signing and sending rainbow flags to their families, and raising money to assist Kristene’s family with her growing medical bills. Sadness, anger, outrage, and fear have spread throughout our communities, and only recently is there hope – the Portland police have reported that they have a possible suspect. The shooting has, however, been minimized in some media outlets, saying that they “aren’t sure that it was a hate crime.” Um, really? Somebody took this young couple and SHOT THEM IN THE HEAD. Whether or not it was because they were gay is irrelevant – it was fueled by hate.
Last weekend, before we headed to Dallas for the candlelight vigil in our gayborhood, we dropped the kids off with my mother and decided to catch a movie. We went to see Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter for some mindless entertainment. Since I have degrees in History, and we both enjoy a good vampire movie, we thought it would be right up our alley for a good time. Now, there wasn’t a whole lot about it that was historically accurate, except maybe for some names and dates, and few events. But when it got toward the end of the movie, and President Lincoln was delivering the Gettysburg Address, it hit me – Abraham Lincoln GOT IT. He valued life – ALL life – and maintained that all man[kind] deserved freedom and equality, as set forth by our founding fathers. Think about it:
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.”
The second paragraph reminds me of the LGBT community now, in 2012, and what could be equated as a modern “great civil war.” We are engaged in our great civil war, testing whether WE, so conceived and so dedicated, can endure. How many have given their lives so that WE, as a community, might live? How many Harvey Milks have there been over the years? How many young men and women have lost their fight on the battlefield of homophobia, and taken their own lives? How many Mollie and Kristenes have their been, losing their lives to hatred and violence?
“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” ~ President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 19, 1863
Just like President Lincoln being unable to consecrate the ground in Gettysburg, neither we can consecrate or hallow any ground where our LGBT sisters and brothers have lost their fight. It is they who do so for us. And while we have our marches, our rallies, our parades, and our vigils, most of what is said will be soon forgotten by our peers. But we cannot forget those lives, and we must always resolve that they, too, will not have died in vain. We can see change on the horizon, but there is still so much work to be done. I have hope that I will see our new birth of freedom during my lifetime, and that our government will return to the thought (and hopefully practice) that it is one of the people, by the people, and FOR the people – ALL people.
Lincoln had it right, even in 1863.