Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
by Michael Tubbert
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This is the second sentence in the Preamble to our Declaration of Independence. It is the central principle upon which the whole of our Constitution is based. These values on life and individual freedom and liberty are the foundation that makes the United States of America the greatest among nations.
If there is one group of people I admire more than any other, it is the men and women who volunteer to defend our rights and freedoms in the United States military services. While most of us (myself included) spend our time talking about rights and freedom, these folks, and their families, are putting their lives on the line to make sure we have the freedom to do so.
I think this, more than anything, is why the debate over the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy is a loaded one. On the one hand if equality under the law cannot be had in the United States of America, what right do we have trying to bring it to other countries? On the other hand, one of the most important things we should be doing for our military is giving them defined goals and removing the barriers to achieving those goals so that our service men and women can come home safe.
The real question, I believe, is whether the two are mutually exclusive.
Within a period of 24 hours, I received two videos; one from my Aunt Beth, the other from my father. Initially the videos are seemingly unrelated, but if there’s one thing my mind likes to do, it is to make connections.
It may seem out of order, but I am going to start with the second of the two videos. This video, sent to me by my Aunt Beth, is a portion of a Fort Worth, TX city council meeting. One of the councilmen used his allotted time to comment on the recent focus on teen suicide rates, especially among the LGBT youth, and to share his own story.