Rick Perry, Ben Brantley and Human Rights Day: Some Thoughts About Our Best Uses of Time & Talent

In a last gasp for air in a presidential campaign  that is obviously going down for the last time, Rick Perry thought that his last, best hope was to rally the troops who rise to the cry of hate speech. Vote for me, I’ll make sure to make life a living hell for anyone that doesn’t see things the way we do and believe in God in the exact same way we do. Seems like a great part of the message of acceptance, love, understanding and peace hasn’t quite reached this group of so called Christians.

In a totally unrelated story the New York Times theatre critic Ben Brantley, after writing a positive review upon the opening of Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway, chose to revisit the show and publish a second article that seemed to straddle a line between a witch hunt style outing and self loathing reminiscence of gay stereotypes and iconic gay performers. What struck me was not so much the “is he or isn’t he” questioning, which frankly is old and so  much more tabloid than New York Times worthy, but the Rick Perry like connotation that if in fact a performer is gay that is something we are entitled to know and publicly brand them for. This finger pointing style seems to equate being identified as gay to be equal with being identified as a criminal, or as Mr. Perry feels, something to be stamped out.  As it would be a fairly time consuming task to visit Broadway shows identifying performers who may or may not be gay, I am curious as to why Mr. Brantley felt the need to do so with this particular show.  A curious choice for someone with a position held in high esteem, one that not only cast a negative shadow on the writer but on the publication he represents.

Today, December 10, we celebrate  Human Rights Day, marking the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 63 years ago. “It is a day that belongs to the global movements to fight for fundamental human rights and freedoms” as stated on the Global Poverty Project’s site. While the concept of human rights is global in scope encompassing issues too numerous for many of us to comprehend, we all have the power to use our time and talent to identify and work on human rights issues that exist within our own communities. Perhaps really paying attention to politicians and what they profess to stand for before supporting them or casting a vote, perhaps writing a letter to the editor stating that attempted outing and inferences of sexual orientation are unacceptable to you as a reader.

In honor of human rights day decide to stand for something, large or small, and add your voice to others who are not willing to accept these behaviors any longer. Find a way to make your time and talent count:  volunteer with an organization working toward making a difference, take the time to think about what you do stand for and work toward making a difference in whatever way you can, take a minute to post on facebook or twitter about Human Rights Day or any movement, issue or organization that can use your support.

Perhaps if more forward thinking people speak up, and put their words into action, more small minded people who have ruled the bully pulpit too long can begin to be silenced.



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