Sent this letter to my County Executive, yesterday, with the final sentence of it tacked on after two different eyes I ran the letter by suggested that I seek appointment.
Office of the [COUNTY] Executive
I am writing to express my concerns regarding the recent appointment of the Human Rights Commissioner of [COUNTY], [NAME]. Concerns which I believe are well-shared, by the other members of the [COUNTY] community.
Recently, during the January 20 episode of [RADIO SHOW], the Human Rights Commissioner and I came to a parting of ways, regarding the nature of human and civil rights, and the compromises made by the Civil Rights Movement even as they pursued full equality and equity, and justice.
I was and am of the opinion that such a movement cannot have even a small place for prejudice and hypocrisy — the very things it struggles against. And that through the lens of history, such hypocrisy will be viewed with a lens that’s unsparing, and rightfully so. I spoke specifically of Bayard Rustin, one of the cornerstones of the Civil Rights Movement in the middle of the twentieth century. I said that not standing up for Rustin’s rights to live authentically as a gay man, without being shunted to the side and hidden away despite his indispensable help in building and growing the movement, was wrong. That even a good person (namely, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) can because of prejudices and/or compromises, sacrifice righteousness for expediency. That no matter how one framed the act or the reasoning behind it, hypocritical acts are still hypocritical acts. And I made sure to state that I did not think that even several large hypocritical acts made a person a hypocrite and bad person, but the acts still are what they are. There’s no excusing hypocrisy, no matter that the reasons are understandable under specific circumstances.
And in this case under discussion on [RADIO SHOW], the excising of Rustin and his exclusion was particularly glaring and inexcusable. The fight for civil rights and equity for all — justice for all . . . excluded a good man because of sexuality. That was never right and never will be, regardless of time, place, or people, which I expressed to the Human Rights Commissioner. That truth was dismissed and disregarded summarily, with little justification beyond cherry-picking bits of his own personal religious beliefs, giving passes to people who let their personal beliefs guide their decisions to exclude any human from being visible and vocal in the fight for human rights. Especially since the most basic of rights is the right to fight for representation of one’s self and community.
As you’ll well-know, many minority groups still do not have the right of visibility and vocality, thanks to “compromises” made and meant to save movements, but which actually slow-rot them from the inside.
Rather than refute the valid and reasonable points I made, the Human Rights Commissioner chose to shout-down my experience, as it were. He didn’t respond to the positive claim I made with reasonable rebuttals, and instead used fallacious logic to argue points I was not even putting forth. He cherry-picked from his religious text of choice, as if it were evidence for his case, rather than against it. He also displayed unnervingly large cognitive biases regarding the nature of religious beliefs and the reasons American Democracy features and was founded with a rule separating religion from politics and policy, stated explicitly as the very first Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, one of the greatest documents on representative democracy to ever be drafted. As I pointed out, human rights are human rights, and religion has no place in that discussion.
Eventually, Mr. [NAME] shut down all attempts at sorting out the disagreement by saying we should agree to disagree and respect people’s beliefs. This, after starting an offensive tirade on atheists, which I am and for which I confronted him rather heatedly . . . as he was boldly cherry-picking when to “respect the beliefs of others,” as he so repeatedly suggested to me. He then quickly backtracked and claimed he didn’t mean to offend and that his point wasn’t about offending atheists. Yet, I, myself, wondered why his point seemed to hinge so heavily on a set of very common and disturbing — unfair — stereotypes about atheists.
“My religion says” should never come out of a human rights commissioner’s mouth in fulfillment of his duties or in his public life. Not as a response to LGBTQIA+ rights, disabled rights, women’s rights — human rights.
Nor should a Human Rights Commissioner insinuate — in a disrespecting and dismissively snide and contemptuous tone — that the only reason Rustin, a dedicated, integral member of the Civil Rights Movement, was able to get a meeting with Gandhi only and specifically because Rustin leveraged his sexuality (in the form of sexual favors, it was strongly and repulsively implied) to do so. That is one of the vilest bits of slander I’ve come across in some time.
There can be no disagreeing on equity of rights and justice for every human. Or there shouldn’t be, for a Human Rights Commissioner. Nor should discussion of religion enter into a discussion of human rights and their bestowal or denial. Or there shouldn’t be, from a Human Rights Commissioner. All humans have the same rights to equity and justice. Or they should, if one is asking the opinion of a Human Rights Commissioner. Mr. [NAME] made no attempts to understand or acknowledge my point, and only seemed interested in disproving what he found unpleasant in my truth and facts. He made no attempt to meet on common ground, which I did several times.
The whole experience has left me disheartened and puzzled. Not to mention curious as to the application and vetting process, as well as the guidelines and requirements for a Human Rights Commissioner in [COUNTY]. What training is available (and mandatory) for such an appointed civil servant and what options and remedies are in place should the Human Rights Commissioner require further education, vetting, probation, and discipline, in the course of his duties and public life? Especially when that commissioner seems to think that cherry-picking which humans should have which human rights when (the answers are all and now . . . or should be for a Human Rights Commissioner)? When the opinion on which he hangs his hat in public, regarding the rights of all humanity, and justice and equity — on the disgusting imbalance of which humans have rights versus which humans merely have privileges — is “agreeing to disagree”?
When his guiding beliefs from his religion state that some people are unworthy or bad — thus, it is clearly implied, not as deserving of rights as the worthy and good — and that he and his religion gets to decide for humanity who gets what rights, equity, and justice?
Is that what the [COUNTY] Human Rights Commission stands for? Because I left that meeting with that very strong impression. And I hadn’t had that impression when I walked in.
This level of cognitive bias and a seeming inability to make clear and reasonable arguments with honest premises is unacceptable. This level of apparent bigotry is unacceptable.
Agreeing to disagree on who has human rights — thus on who qualifies as human — is unacceptable. And disturbing. I am very concerned and I’m not the only one.
[COUNTY] does not need a Human Rights Commissioner who is willing to “agree to disagree” on whether LGBTQIA+ people are human, or human enough.
[COUNTY] does not need a Human Rights Commissioner who gives passes to and even lauds hypocrisy, then praises it and whitewashes it as “compromise,” as if compromising on the fight for human rights is commendable and correct action.
[COUNTY] does not need a Human Rights Commissioner who cannot honestly make and support his opinions without throwing bigoted rants about religion or its lack, and without resorting to cowardly ad hominem attacks in lieu of listening, reasoning, and empathy.
[COUNTY] does not need a Human Rights Commissioner who thinks prejudice and hypocrisy are guiding principles should be the cornerstone of a movement built to combat those pervasive evils.
Nor should it tolerate one.
Excusing hypocrisy is the domain of the unjust, not of the just. Not of the humane. Not of humans. We, as a nation, as citizens, and as individuals, overlook such flawed actions at our own peril.
I await your timely acknowledgement, complete agreement, and proposed plan to address this unfortunate set of circumstances. I also extend any assistance from me that you may find of use, in its swift correction: including my sincere and official intent to apply for an appointment to the [COUNTY] Human Rights Commission.
At any rate, I don’t have the time, spoons, or resources to do any of the routines I currently do, but apparently I’m gonna be adding shit to it, if things go well. Meaningful shit, that means finally walking my talk in measurable, appreciable, helpful ways.
Plus, you know, I get to be even more run-down and stressed-out, as per my usual me-ness. Slice of fried-fucking-gold.