Change and Hope Should Never Produce Fear and Prejudice

Michael - Bettendorf, Iowa
Entered on April 8, 2008

I believe in having hope.

We are on the verge of change with the 2008 Presidential race, with the exciting and historic possibility of electing for the first time as our Commander-in-Chief either a woman or an African-American.

This takes me back thirty years to 1978 when, as a college student living in San Francisco, I was fortunate to have shared ongoing discussions with Harvey Milk, a member of the city’s Board of Supervisors, and the first openly gay elected official in the United States. Harvey’s talks and chance meetings proved a good influence on me. They helped me to instill confidence and pride as a young gay man.

One afternoon, while at an impromptu lunch meeting, Harvey discussed with me how fear–especially fear of change, of new ideas, and of social and ethnic diversity–could be used as a nasty and effective tool to influence, discriminate, and mislead the public. Harvey further remarked that in such terrified and often hate driven minds; fear could produce dangerous and even deadly results.

Tragically the boundless energy, wit, compassion, intelligence, frankness, and hope of Harvey Milk would be silenced by five bullets in San Francisco’s City Hall (along with Mayor George Moscone), from the gun of a deeply disturbed, insecure, and hateful assassin one dark morning in late November of 1978.

Harvey firmly believed in all people’s human rights. He strived to be a good citizen and friend to all of the many diverse and wonderful people in our country, which he often referred to as the “uses.”

These people included the many diverse races, nationalities, social classes, as well as spiritual denominations which together makeup our nation. It would be grand if we would always continue to follow Harvey’s inspiring humanistic philosophies from the 1970s.

Even in 2008, as our country is once again poised in witnessing history on a national level, I am confidant that we can proceed significantly in representing a greater contingency of all of the numerous, wonderful and diverse people, or “uses,” in our United States. I certainly believe this!

I wish Harvey Milk was around today to witness this upcoming presidential election. He would have loved it! Perhaps Harvey would also be running for President this year.

Though we cannot live on just either one alone, I still believe it is essential in having both dreams in addition to preserving hope in our present day as well as for our future.