Looking around the world today, I am struck with the nagging suspicion that too many of us here in America take our freedoms for granted. We think that the world was always built on the ability to speak your mind without fear of repercussions from the state. We think that because we were born into an environment of stability and opportunity that everyone has the same chance to succeed, and that it is only laziness that is holding people back. We think that America will last forever because that is simply the way it has to be.

We think that if we are not personally oppressed, then everything is just fine. We wonder why so many other people are complaining.

Historically, this is not a successful mindset for citizens of a society that wants to thrive. A strong civilization builds on the abilities of all its people by including them, not by exclusion. Exclusion breeds strife, discontent, conflict, and eventual collapse. Exclusion brings us the Arab Spring, the American and French Revolutions, and the Germanic uprisings that toppled Rome. Exclusion brings us countless wars around the globe.

Exclusion brings an end to all societies, everywhere, and eventually replaces them with ones more inclusive. If they do not maintain that inclusiveness, they are replaced in return.

This is why gay marriage is important to me. This is why economic inequity is important to me. This is why basic human rights are important to me. Even though these things do not affect me personally, these ARE problems in our society that we need to fix, and too many people are caught up in the mindset of "As long as I get mine, everyone else can fend for themselves."

I do not want my children to grow up in that world. I want my children to grow up in a society that is more inclusive than the one I grew up in, not less, because to do otherwise is to set them on that same failed path so many others have walked. I want their feet to travel the road that leads to peace and security, not fear and conflict.

Gay marriage in Minnesota is a good step toward inclusion, but the journey is still long, and we have many steps left to take.

Make sure to pre-order Chris Kluwe's book, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies, on Amazon at http://amzn.com/0316236772. Also, make sure to march with us in the Twin Cities Pride Parade. Parade Grand Marshal, Chris Kluwe, will be stopping by our contingent before the march!