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Does the Good of the Many Outweigh the Good of the One?

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon 
       

I've never considered myself a "Trekkie", but I've loved Star Trek since the first time I saw it as a kid.  Sure, part of it was the outer space gadgety stuff. But, what most people who aren't familiar with the series do not understand, is that it was the relationships of the characters, the vision of creator Gene Roddenberry and the hope for the future that was portrayed that claimed so many devoted fans.

One of the themes that ran through the series and into the movies that followed was "the good of the many versus the good of the one". Initially, Kirk allowed someone that he was in love with, Edith Keeler, to die because otherwise she would have changed the course of history in a negative way (one of those time travel episodes so they were privy to this kind of information). Sounds corny, I know, but it was actually a very poignant episode. It was easy to understand why he did what he did --- after all, the good of the many outweighs the good of the one, right? But I was always a little troubled. It never felt quite right.

Then, after the series was over and they were into the second of the movies, Spock sacrifices his life to save everybody else. His dying words were "the good of the many outweighs the good of the one." Once again, seems logical --- and we all know how Spock valued logic. But then the story-line continued into the next two movies where everyone proceeds to risk everything to bring Spock back. Leaving us with the message that "the good of the one outweighs the good of the many".

Difficult to justify? Perhaps. But finally, it felt right to me.

Do I have a point in here somewhere? I do. This week, the House of Representatives passed the bill expanding the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation, gender identity and mental or physical disability. That is protection of "the one". And someday --- soon, I fervently hope --- California's Proposition 8 will be overturned on the basis that there is something inherently not right about the majority being able to deny the basic rights of a minority.

The "good of the many" has been used as a rationale countless times. Its first cousin, "the end justifies the means" is at the heart of some of the world's greatest atrocities. Did the word "torture" just pop into your head? That is a classic example of the rights of the one being disregarded, supposedly, for the benefit of the many. Without getting into all the reasons why torture isn't even a good tool, just look at what it has cost us as a nation.

I think this is a pretty big deal. Until we truly value the worth of the individual, each and every individual, I do not believe we have a chance of realizing our potential as a nation ---  or as a species. Besides the obvious protection it will provide the GLBT community, I believe this legislation speaks to a far greater issue. 

Cowboys go after stray steers. Shepherds leave the flock to search for lost lambs. Soldiers "leave no one behind".  Instinctively, we recognize the value of "the one" but we lose sight of that awareness in the degrees of separation that define our daily lives. 

One person matters. One group matters. One city...one nation...one planet.

Not to get too metaphysical on you, but we are one. And every time any one is threatened we are all at risk. So, today, let's focus on the hate crime legislation. We are so close to getting it passed! Bush may have opposed it, but President Obama will sign it.

"I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance,"  President Barack Obama to the House of Representatives

We just have to get it through the Senate. But the opposition is digging in and using all of their slimy tactics. Like claiming the bill makes "pedophiles a protected class" and is "pro-child molester". Or coming up with a poster of Jesus that says "WANTED For Violation of the Proposed Hate Crimes Law In His Teachings." 

HRC has posted a video of Judy Shepard and has links and information on how you can communicate with your Senators about the importance of this bill. It's been ten years since the hate crime that resulted in Matthew Shepard's brutal death. Its way past time to get this bill passed.

Stop the Hate


   

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AIDS Walk New York is Getting Close!

Real close. Like barely two weeks close .... gulp!

Don't mention this to Ann-Marie, but you know all that training I was going to do? Walking and walking and walking so that I could keep up with her through those six miles? Well...... I don't know what happened. I don't know where the time has gone. But, what I do know is that I may be in big trouble!

And, what's worse, the donations have started to come in and there's no way I can get out of it now.  But she did offer free ChiWalking training to anyone on our team, didn't she? Of course, she had to coach me from start to finish last year so she may think I've already received more than my fair share of free training. Hmmm......maybe I could pay her. It really did make a huge difference. No other explanation for me being able to walk six %$#*@ miles!

Actually, there is one reason.  I'd like to think that I would have walked those six miles solely because the need is so great and the suffering of those with HIV and AIDS is so severe, but, honestly, I did it to honor my partner. And I'm going to do it again this year for the same reason.

For more than 25 years before her death, Melinda worked with those with HIV and AIDS at whatever agency she was with, through her private practice and in her spare time. From the very beginning, when those diagnosed "positive" were feared and shunned, treated as lepers, she never hesitated. She said "hello" with a hug --- something I personally witnessed start tears flowing --- and began working her special kind of magic. She couldn't heal their bodies but she helped them find a level of peace. Many --- far too many --- died. But they did so with a deeper awareness of their worth and knowing that they were loved.

If you were lucky enough to know her, then you know I'm not exaggerating when I say that Melinda Bravo came closer to unconditional love than anyone I've ever known. Walking a mere six miles in her honor seems like the least I can do.

Because of the economy, government programs have been cut and donations are down. So, the need is even greater. If you can't make it to New York to walk with us, please do what you can.   

Join us or lend your support at Team On the Gay Horizon.   

Karen


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Your Response Makes All the Difference

Fit in a Year - Week 18

By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

Ok, I'm unreliable.  I'm not producing another installment of how to read a nutrition label....because when I was presenting my one-minute commercial about my mind/body work at a Networking group the other day, and I told them what I'm about to tell you, I realized how many people just flat don't know what I'm about to tell you.  First, remember that no matter what life throws at you, it's your response that makes the difference.  What you choose to do with the challenge makes all the difference.

So if you are challenged, what's the first thing you should do?  Take a deep breath.  Not just any old gut-sucking-in breath--a breath through your nose.  A very deep breath through your nose.  Try it.  Right now.  You'll notice how it slows everything down--your respiration rate, your heart rate, your thoughts--that's because the steady stream of air passing over the nerves in your nasal passages send the message to your brain that everything is fine.  Relaxation hormones are recruited and released by your brain.  You feel better.  Calmer.

You can think.

If you instead respond to a challenge by breathing rapidly and feeling panicky, your brain gets the message that something's wrong, and slips into reptilian mode:  fight or flight.  Cortisol surges, your heart rate increases, you breathe even more quickly, and there you are, with an entire battalion of hormones at the ready and racing into your blood stream, but you are stuck in your chair.  Result?  Stress.  Stress is just a body flooded with these hormones with no where to go.  That's toxic.

So next time life throws you a challenge, remember, take a deeeeeep breath through your nose.  And exhale slowly.  And fully. 

It will change your life.

 

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