What is citizenship and what does it mean? What does it entail and imply besides voting, paying your taxes (hopefully on time) and getting mildly interested in the news? What does citizenship mean for you besides your passport and the fact you are – or aren’t  – a patriot? Definition borderlining from hardcore nationalism to unabashed globalism has flooded our brains ever since the door of coporate politics have somehow marginalized political activists as crazies with a side note of 1917 nostalgia. They managed to redefine key terms, key definitions, reword their own Constitution and their own belief so they could sell it to the mass of consumers – the citizens – without them ever questioning what’s really written in the small print at the back of the package. Why put on your reading glasses when the package itself is so flashy?

But being a citizen doesn’t only involve rights, it also involves duties, and that is something I am afraid my generation has lost sight of a while ago. Citizenship does imply getting away from your PS3 every 2, 4, 6 years to elect a local or national official, and sometimes evokes the nasty memory of using a calculator in order to pay taxes “to the man”, those same taxes that have been at the heart of a controversy ever since the Republicans did not find any other topic besides abortion to filibuster about. The idea of citizenship is entirely tied to the idea of state and it seems the very concept, Montesquieu or Tocqueville or Rousseau as you can be, is disappearing, melting away, fading in the distance. It is dangerous. It is dangerous because with a fading state comes fading citizenship, directly involving fading responsibilities… and fading rights.

Being a citizen is a full time job. It requires of you to be informed and to do research. It requires a minimum amount of education and the courage to know you can bring down a wall if needed be. Being a citizen means being in charge. The past eight years, the United States has been telling the masses their citizen passes had been revoked and that Big Daddy was going to fix it all for them while they’re finishing that pack of Cheetos. Well, a real citizen would have raised a very skeptical eyebrow. Right now, we are told that a big state, a state that controls and a state that legislates is a state that oversteps the boundaries of the United States Constitution, and that Rick Perry wants to take off and take Texas with him. But what happens to citizens? I mean, all of them, every single one of them? The black one, the white one, the latino one… the gay one?

Yes, this is where I am going. All men and women are born equal. Every single detail is just a part of the fabric that makes it a whole. I am talking stupid, Hallmark-crafted melting pot here. I am talking about the values of citizenship being destroyed by a part of the population who believes citizenship is about controlling other citizens by voting on other citizens’ rights, therefore destroying the balance of equality created – and supposedly protected – by the state. People voted for Obama because they wanted hope, they wanted change, and they were sick and tired of the lax attitude Bush showed to the CEOs swallowing $500 bills with their Cheerios. By voting for Obama, they somehow reclaimed some of that control: they showed up in massive groups, the young voted like they never did, Obama was given a mandate, for a very long time in American history, we felt like we had a representative that actually realised he was just this – a citizen, a citizen given a mandate by other citizens, to do what citizens wanted.

This is why the issue of gay rights is a federal issue, an issue Obama has to take care of, not a grassroots, state-by-state decision to be made. Inequality prevails within each state between those who can afford to lobby for their cause, and those who have only ideologies and books to distribute. There are those with the money, and those with the only excuse of being citizens. The first ones are using their tools against the second ones. This is precisely the reason why states exist: because human nature forces the majority to restrain the minority against its natural strive towards freedom. Man is a selfish animal, that somehow knows about empathy and solidarity through only damage, trauma, and profound dismay. Man has shown his wonders when faced with complete and utter horror. Man has moved with each other with man had no choice but to link arms with other men in order to make it out alive. In times of peace and of general, even if relative, rest, man will only tend to his own lawn. This is a sad story that we have been told by the New York Senate today as it followed into Maine’s footsteps by withdrawing rights from gay couples to marry.

Someone on Twitter – aurosan not to name them – had a very good point. “I haven’t seen any secular argument against gay marriage”, he said, “which is in itself a civil ceremony. This is not about whether we should marry in Church, this is about we should marry in the town hall”. Indeed, there are no secular arguments going against the perpetual inequality and double-standards that are rife in this country. Manipulated by the religious rights and caught at the throat by those who decided citizenship was nothing more than a beautiful word a horrible lie, the Congress is not moving forward, and Obama remains mute, despite the Human Rights Campaign starting to get angsty. Citizenship has disappeared for as long as there will not be thousands in the streets deciding that no one should have their rights taken away from them. There is a time for a national parade, a time for revolution, a time when citizens of all walks of life, color and sexual orientation decide that their citizenship means more to them than the right to pay taxes and be an impersonal number on a Governor’s file. The issue of equality has already been debated in this country and it had been decided that no one should ever be deprived of the rights some have. This was right for women, this was right for black people; it is now time, at the eve of a new decade, to decide the LGBT people are Americans before they are LGBT; that they are citizens before they are LGBT; and what that means, is that their LGBT tag should be removed or pushed aside, because nothing else matters.

You won’t push Americans out of America’s land. The hatred you might feel will be reflected by the shame of your sons and grandsons’ eyes, as Sean Penn so beautifully put, when they realise you took part in a pogrom against your own people and your fellow citizens, that those who once were your equal are now a sub-par of the community you think you built. The better days you are claiming are ahead of you in this economy will not be shared by those who could have helped rebuild and rebenefit what has been lost. On this path we will turn around to realise we are alone.

Citizenship ties people together and gives them an unbreakable bond. Citizens must protect each other. Once they stop, the citizen that has been called to order the other citizens to rest should put them back at peace. One doesn’t compromise with equality. Only with equality can a country feel wholesome enough to fight any obstacle in its path.

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