Teen Bullying a Crisis for Government

We’ve seen all the news headlines; all the Facebook events that have been made by people crying out to the government to take action against teen bullying, so that a crisis such as five gay teens committing suicide over harassment in three weeks doesn’t happen again. It’s time for the government to stop ignoring these calls, much like the school officials did in many of the teens’ cases, and beginning to do what the American people are asking for. We are asking for change.

Proposition 8 is a great place to start.

Over the years, Proposition 8 has been one of the most controversial laws to have been passed in the U.S. Proposition 8 is a constitutional amendment that was passed in the November 2008 state elections in California. The amendment added Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights to the California constitution, and stated that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

A statement like this is sure to bring uproar from the American people, regardless of what side you’re supporting, and that it did. How could a nation that is all about representing freedom ban someone from marrying just because of gender preferences? Marriage is about love, not genitalia, so to stop gay people from being legally married is going against their constitutional rights as Americans.

Many Americans pleaded this case to the government time and time again, and luckily, the government is finally starting to listen. Kristin M. Perry vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a federal lawsuit that has been filed in California that challenges the federal constitutionality of Proposition 8. On August 4, 2010 a judge ruled that the amendment violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. On Aug. 16, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the judgment would remain pending appeal.

It took two years for this suit to be filed, but at least it’s finally being done. It’s outrageous that Schwarzenegger believes it’s okay for gays to be harassed in this way.  (I understand he now says he wants to allow gay couples to be able to marry, but come on, he vetoed the legislation for it twice before.) Keeping them from marriage as adults is just like bullying them for simply being gay as a teenager. Americans are making life too difficult for people to be who they are, which is a shame because this is supposed to be the land of the free. The government needs to realize that preventing young kids such as Tyler Clementi, 18, Asher Brown, 13, Seth Walsh, 13, Justin Aaberg, 15, Raymond Chase, 19, and Billy Lucas, 15, from taking their own lives starts with them. If adults are making a big deal about people being gay, then their children are going to learn from those actions.

If the government wouldn’t make a big deal about gay marriage and it was legal to do so in all 50 states rather than only in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont, then the American people would eventually come to terms with it and the majority of the people would accept it as the “norm.” Then, the parents wouldn’t be making such a big deal and the children wouldn’t see the parents so upset over it. If the children don’t see the parents so upset about it, then they wouldn’t learn that being gay is different and “wrong,” so they wouldn’t harass so many teenagers.

Ellen Degeneres, a famous TV talk show host and openly gay woman, issued a statement to all of her viewers about the recent teen suicides. “One life lost in this senseless way is tragic, but four lives lost is a crisis,” she said. “Something needs to be done.” That “something” needs to begin with the government passing Proposition 8, and legalizing marriage, regardless of gender, in all 50 states. Forget about the politics and stop worrying so much about whether or not you’ll receive a lot of votes. Do what’s best for this country; what’s best for the teens who are supposed to grow up and make a difference in this country. If you don’t, you won’t know whose life you’re claiming. Isn’t a teen’s life more important than all the scams and schemes associated with politics, anyway?

Taking a stance

I wasn’t quite sure what to write about in this week’s blog, and I decided to write about Tyler Clementi.

This past week a freshmen at Rutgers University named Tyler Clementi died after jumping off the George Washington bridge. Most of the time, when I read about kids killing themselves, I’m often times apathetic to hearing about it. Now hear me out, I don’t mean to be rude or uncaring, but when someone takes their own life, it’s obvious they didn’t care much about themselves, so it’s often times hard to feel sympathy for someone who takes their own life.

However, in the case of Tyler Clementi, I felt absolutely distraught. For those who don’t know, Tyler ended up jumping off the GW bridge through embarrassment of what his college roommate did to him. His roommate recorded him having sexual intercourse with another male and posted it on the internet for the world to see. Through this invasion of privacy, Tyler took away his life at the age of 18 with a bright future ahead of him.

Being a supporter of gay rights and an overall humanitarian, this story hit very close to home. It really got me thinking though. What kind of world is it that we live in, where people are mocked so much so to the point of suicide? Why do people have to see the world in sexual preference, age, race, gender, etc? Why does the world put so much emphasis on who people are born as, rather than their own personal character? I get it, people judge other people, it’s inevitable, but why do people put so much emphasis on race, sexual preference or gender, rather than their personality, moralistic values and overall character?

In my Comm 100 class, I spoke up about how I support equality of all forms. I said something to the effect of how, to this day, I don’t understand, why in conversation people still feel the need to point out ones race or sexual preference when they’re just people. Just because they are different does not make them outcasts in today’s society. I mean, how many more lives must be lost through suicide through discrimination and bullying before someone takes charge and stands up and says enough is enough? When do we as a society decide that this needs to stop? When does the world stop seeing in black and white, and see everyone as equals?

I’m heartbroken over this whole situation, and I’ll still wonder what it will take to prevent a tragedy like this to happen again. All I can say is, my condolences go out to the Clementi family, and I personally and taking action to raise awareness on equality, acceptance and prevention of bullying. It’s going to be hard, but all it takes is one voice to stand up for something.