Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dessert made me an activist


I'm not typically a "write your Senator" kind of guy. Frankly it seems a little pointless... I don't believe any more that our elected representatives have our best interests at heart. They vote on issues because of THEIR feelings on a subject, not ours. That's my thought any way, maybe I'm wrong. Would be nice to be wrong this time.

I mentioned earlier this week that "P" and I were guests of my employer at the annual Atlanta HRC Dinner and Silent Auction. Our dessert course is pictured above. It was dee-lish. Even the little equality symbol was edible! Today I found that very picture while doing some housecleaning in my Treo, and thought, "Why didn't I post that picture in the HRC post?" So I fired up my MAC and went about bluetoothing the photo to my machine. My email account is my default start page when I fire up FIREFOX so when it popped up I noticed I had an email from the HRC urging me to contact my Senators to support the Matthew Shepard Act which was "formerly known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007."*

Frankly, my belief is that hate crime laws are redundant. A crime is a crime, regardless of the intent. Lets say I get beaten up because I'm gay. Does that assault mean any more or less than an assault on a straight person? I'm asking. That's not a rhetorical question.

After mulling over whether or not to send my senators a note encouraging them to support the Matthew Shepard Act, I looked at the photo of the dessert, and remembered that I DID feel GREAT that night, and so I did send a note to my senators.

The HRC provides you a form letter you can send. I deleted their form though and wrote a short paragraph of my own. I DID use their subject line (probably ENSURING that my email will not get read). I'd paste my note here but I didn't think to save myself a copy. Basically I said that, yes, a crime is a crime. But when someone hurts someone else purely out of bias or bigotry that action sends a message not only to the victim, but to that victim's community. That one victim was just unlucky enough to take the punishment the criminal feels should be imposed on everyone who is like the victim. Because, in that sense, a hate crime effects MANY rather than just one, I believe the punishment should be greater.

If you are so inclined... click on my dessert and send your own senator a note.

*lifted from the Matthew Shepard Foundation Hate Crimes Legislation Page.