Sunday, February 23, 2014

One man speaking to another...

This is an open letter to Barack Obama, U.S. President, from an American Citizen. I firmly believe that it deserves an answer.

Dear President Obama,

My name is Karson Kelley. You seem to be a pretty cool guy (I voted for ya twice) which is why I'm writing you to ask for some advice. A little background for you on me: I'm a 33 year old small business owner in western Kentucky, where amongst other things, I own a salon/art gallery. I am a professional hairdresser, stilt walker, fire breather, and artist. I also happen to be a gay man and my husband and I have been married since July 28, 2001 (not legally since as a country we've yet to get that straightened out).

For the first time in my life, as an American, I have found myself in a moment of truth, and I fear this is absolutely going to affect me in very bad ways if some changes aren't made and quickly. I am referring to the laws that are being passed in Arizona and many other states that are not even thinly veiled versions of Jim Crow laws aimed at gay people.

I can’t stop thinking “How is this even possible?” After doing a little homework, it turns out that as a gay person in this country I and others like me are simply not protected against this type of discrimination. I thought after all we have been through as a culture with women’s rights, African-American rights, and people with disabilities, that this couldn't possibly be the case. Yet the only reason those groups are now legally protected at all is that entirely too much suffering has taken place and entirely too many people had to die on both sides of a senseless argument fighting for the exact same rights. 

So I find myself with several unanswered questions. Why is it that each subcategory of any kind of human being in our free and protected country continually find themselves in a situation where it is necessary to defend and protect their own existence in this country? How can we as a society, and as a free country make it possible for each and every American to feel safe and able to go about our daily lives unencumbered by the constant feeling of “what if it’s me next?” 

What can I do as a citizen of the United States of America to help you as President and our other leaders and elected officials to make it possible for new laws to be written that literally spell out each and every single possible difference that we all have right down to eye color and Coke or Pepsi preference and have those laws be worded so that these specific listed differences are inclusive and protected under these new laws not exclusive and discriminatory against them? This seems to me the only way to satisfy the constant back and forth that happens in government regarding these types of issues. 

Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.

Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples' physical and mental integrity, life and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as race, gender, national origin, colour, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or disability;[1][2][3] and individual rights such as privacy, the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press, assembly and movement.

I literally just copied and pasted that from Wikipedia, they seem to have it right. Why can't we as a country do the same? We are not a protected class of citizen like other minorities, By we I mean the LGBTQUAI community. I find it on several levels ridiculous that such protection be necessary in the first place however recent events and others abhorrent actions have proven that this is absolutely crucial to our equality and safety. 

I remember as a kid growing up learning about Dr Martin Luther King, who he was, what he did and what he stood for. They still teach that, I still believe it. So what are we showing our children as a nation by teaching them about Dr Kings life and still allowing these inconsistencies to be continually endured one subcategory of people at a time? 

Is another martyr what it will take? I sincerely hope not. I like to think of our country as more than what it has been exhibiting itself to be as of late. I for one am more than willing to help get us back on track to being the Great nation that I know we already are at heart. It took a hundred years of public outcry and court battles and countless lives sacrificed to finally get rid of the Jim Crow laws last time. What's it going to take this time? Who are we as a country now? Is that still how we do business in the United States of America? Show me… 

I just posted this on my Facebook wall yesterday:

Ok peeps with several states losing their damned minds about the civil rights afforded to all Americans, I've got to make a post that goes out to those who have fought for those basic rights to be acknowledged in the past (women, minorities), those who continue to fight to protect those rights and those of us (LGBT), who are currently being discriminated against. I'm going to let one of my favorite artists James Taylor hopefully shed a little light on how ridiculous the idea of any kind of discrimination is in the first place. It's our differences that are to be celebrated but it's our similarities that bind us all together. Listen to the words people and wake the f**k up America!

James Taylor - Shed a Little Light

On a side note if you haven't heard the song I highly recommend it ;o) As you can obviously see from this and my other Facebook posts I am a passionate and colorful critter and I expect results regarding this issue. I’m well aware that government tends to race along at a glacial pace and this seems to be a complex issue but it really isn't and I hope these fundamentally base issues can be addressed as soon as possible. FYI I'm making this an open letter to you and the rest of our government by putting this on my Facebook. Ill also be sending it to anybody else that could possibly make a difference with this issue that affects us all in such a deep basic and personal way.

Karson Kelley
Thanks for your time and I hope that I can help forward this issue closer to the finish line where we can all be happy safe and free together. 

- Karson Kelley

Karson Kelley,

I adore you... and I believe you make the point far more profoundly than I ever could... as I am not one who is being discriminated against... I am simply an outraged citizen watching my wayward government allow things that stand in direct opposition to the spirit (as well as the letter) of our own Constitution and Bill of Rights

For what little it may be worth, over all, I drew my "line in the sand" today. I couldn't stay silent on the issue anymore, as silence can be taken as approval (or at the least, a lack of disapproval) and I will not be counted in that number.

It is completely ridiculous that in 2014 this is even an issue in this country. I've had screaming fights (no exaggeration) over the last month with my mother about this. My own mother. My stomach for this is at an end

Sexuality is not a legitimate excuse, reason, or reasonable explanation for discrimination, nor for depriving citizens of the US their equal rights. Nothing is, short of conviction for crimes that require that certain rights and privileges by lessened or taken.

Simple facts that seem to be going overlooked in our political discussion are these: Gay is not a crime. Transgender is not a crime. Nor are they choices... or a decision... as asserted by too many ignorant people as "explanation" for why they should be penalized, or discriminated against.

My fellow Americans, despite your color, gender, sexuality, food preference, ethnicity, country of your ancestors, native language, height, weight, musical taste, political belief, you are is a citizen of the US and as such (barring criminal convictions that deprive you of, or forfeit for you, certain rights) you are due... F**king DUE... equal treatment under the documents our laws and country are founded on. I think, as a country, we should... what's the phrase? "hold these truths to be self-evident"?

It's not about Gay Marriage anymore - which should have been a given, anyway. A no-brainer. - It's about outright, unconstitutional, discrimination against equal citizens thinly veiled as "laws" that support hatred and discrimination.

You are free to disagree with me. That is your right, if you are a US citizen. Just as it is my right to firmly believe that you are wrong.

-Dennis Sharpe


  1. I think you have something here - equal rights for all, without having to qualify down to the subatomic level what makes people different. Why not focus on. How we are similar? On how, according to every religion there is, all brothers and sisters?

  2. "It's not about Gay Marriage anymore - which should have been a given, anyway. A no-brainer. - It's about outright, unconstitutional, discrimination against equal citizens thinly veiled as "laws" that support hatred and discrimination." this is - to me - the perfect summary of what is happening here. i agree with you 100% and thank you for speaking out. i am, as always, a big fan.