November Gratitude Shorts, Day 4
Give thanks for George Takei. What a role model. I imagine myself living his life–imprisoned and humiliated with my family at a young age because of my race. Growing up denying my sexuality, for fear of losing my job and even violence if I’m found out. Could I come through it all with the forgiveness and generosity of this man? I’m not so sure. How could I not instead express bitterness, resentment, and entitlement? I imagine that he experienced these emotions and more, and it seems he had role models who redirected his energy along the way. Thank you, George, for sharing your journey with all of us, and leading with light and love.
From his Facebook page yesterday:
When I was just a boy, I asked my father how it was that this nation, founded on principles of equality and freedom, could have turned on its own citizens and put us into camps. He told me something I’ll never forget. “Ours is a people’s democracy. It can be as great as the people in it, or as fallible.” My father taught me the importance of participating in our democracy, so that we learn from our past mistakes and always strive to achieve the promise of equality for all.
Many today seek to divide us, blaming the helpless and saying America will lose to the forces of fear and oppression. As a child, I grew up behind barbed wire fences of U.S. internment camps because of my race. Seventy years later, I stand with my white, gay spouse to assure you: We will win.
We will win the battle against bigotry and injustice. I lived through the years of Jim Crow and race lynchings, then marched for Civil Rights to help bring an end to them. Today, we note only in passing that our President is African American, and that the top contenders for his office are a woman Secretary of State and a Black neurosurgeon. We will win.
We will win the battle against inequality and hate. For decades, I kept secret my own sexuality, out of fear I would lose my acting career. Then I watched as LGBTs rose up during Stonewall, and the gay liberation movement claimed its place in a common struggle for civil rights. Through the terrible era of AIDS, we survived; today, there is marriage equality across this land. We will win.
We will win the battle against ignorance and fear. In my early years, America joined with other freedom-loving nations to defeat murderous, totalitarian dictators on two continents. Together, we can, we must, and we will defeat fundamental threats to our world, whether from religious extremism, regional conflict or climate change. We will win.
We will win when we come together as a nation, rather than divide along our perceived differences. We will win when we hold true to our core values and embrace our diversity, rather than scapegoat some. We will win when we engage, learn, and remain open to new ideas and innovations. I am 78 years old, and I am still learning and progressing at each opportunity I can.
On this Election Day, we take happily for granted what was so hard fought, and what so much of the world is yet denied. I urge you also to participate in this great democracy through your votes, your dialogue, and your love of this society. My family lost everything when this nation lost its way, but that has never stopped me from believing in America’s potential or from fighting for its principles. Together, we will win.
— George Takei