Recently it’s come to my attention that many of the views I hold may be seen as radical by some. This was news to me, but I’m curious if others might shed some light on the subject for me. I’ll start by sharing a few of these so called radical beliefs.
I believe everyone has certain rights, things that they are entitled to simply by virtue of being alive. Some examples of things I consider rights: physical safety, food, water, financial security, and health care. That’s by no means an exhaustive list. I also believe people are entitled to love whoever they love, build a family and practice their chosen faith. They should also be able to live without fear of persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, disability or any other inherent part of their identity. Oh and before I forget, a person’s worth is not inherently tied to their ability to perform labor.
None of these things seem to me to be terribly radical beliefs. But as I get older I’m beginning to understand that they are down right incendiary to others. It’s almost as if the freedoms that ought to belong to everyone have invisible qualifications attached. It’s almost as if unless you act a certain way, look a certain way, sound a certain way, they’re not your rights to claim; as if the conditions under which you were born define where you can go, what you can do, which dreams you can achieve.
We’re seeing every day the comparative worth placed on skin color, on wealth and status, on other people’s definitions of quality of life. The measuring of that worth has come at a steep price. It is the death toll of inequality and every day it climbs higher.
While I’m at it, here’s one more radical belief for you. I believe it is high time we demand change. The cost was too high to begin with, and it has been more than paid. Systemic violence needs to be put to an end. Life threatening social inequality need to be rectified. The disenfranchised and the marginalized deserve to finally enjoy the rights and freedoms they’ve been routinely denied. If believing all that makes me a radical, so be it.