Thoreau, Whitman, Individual and Society Synthesis

For the first time since 1996, legislation regarding the rights of LGBT people in the workplace has been brought to the United States Senate with the disputed Employee Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA). Despite the fact that the society (and thus the senate) that it is facing today is much more accepting than any in the past, details about it continue to be misconstrued by its opposition, so as to convince the general public, and thus their senators, of its flaws. Only one more vote is presently necessary to prevent a filibuster of the bill, yet this vote may be more difficult to acquire than expected because of the images many members of the opposition have of it, such as the misconstruing of the bill as having ridiculous clauses, such as a requirement for “insurance companies to pay for sex-change operations” (Peters) and “[forcing] Christian bookstores to hire drag performers” (Peters). The three Republicans who may hold the key to the success of this bill in the Senate are “Rob Portman of Ohio, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Dean Heller of Nevada” (Peters). Though they would risk their position in their party by supporting this bill, there are a number of Republicans that already do: Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Mark S. Kirk of Illinoi, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Americans will soon see whether this country has a chance of moving past the archaic laws which wrongly govern its population today.
Thoreau: “I discovered many a site for a house not likely to be soon improved, which some might have thought too far from the village, but to my eyes the village was too far from it” (Thoreau Ch. 2). The fact is that, as much as I may accept LGBT people, and know my employer and all my friends’ employers to accept and not discriminate against them, this discrimination still exists, and is all too apparent in certain places. I know that my position, though not entirely perfect, matches my moral conviction perfectly and thus reflects what I and my companions believe is right. Seeing as my companions make up a great chunk of the population, it is essential that, for the moral advancement of society, they move towards us (particularly me) rather than vice versa. I will not give up my moral convictions for their incapability to understand the true extent of this bill. You see, if these Republicans who oppose this small movement towards acceptance simply followed my lead in “standing on tiptoe” (Thoreau Ch. 2), they too would “catch a glimpse of some of the peaks of the still bluer and more distant mountain ranges in the northwest, those true-blue coins form heaven’s own mint, and also of some portion of the village” (Thoreau Ch. 2). Though all the opposition presently sees is a threat to the tradition which they represent, that which has the potential to exist with the passage of this bill is much more beautiful. I am in the position to see this, and they must join me to realize this.
Whitman: “Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age, knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things” (Whitman 2). My colleague is correct here. It is inherently wrong to make a group of people inherently inferior due to any natural quality. Members of the LGBT community may be different from the average US worker, but they have just as much potential to contribute to society as any other. There is no justifiable reason for them to be trivialized. “I resist any thing better than my own diversity, Breathe the air but leave plenty after me, And am not stuck up, and am in my place” (Whitman Section 16). Diversity is an essential component of advancement and success, and thus, must be fostered. Discrimination is an obvious contradiction to this, and thus, even if it represents one’s beliefs, is an action which harms many more than those being discriminated against. I believe this and am successful, proving to the opposition that there is no harm in doing so.


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