David Mixner Writes About His Fight to Live

2.24.2014

By Jerry Portwood

The civil rights activist shares his thoughts after a near-death decision in an intensive care unit

Photo of David Mixner via Towleroad

In what David Mixner describes as his "most personable" column he's ever written, the legendary author, political strategist, and civil rights activist describes the harrowing time he spent recently in an intensive care unit in New York City. In his column published at Towleroad, he describes his inner turmoil (and peace) about whether he wanted to continue to live through all the pain he was feeling. As he explains:

"Years ago I had learned that each and everyone of us is dispensable, that history will record little of our journey and that thankfully there are thousands behind us equally equipped to lift the banner of freedom and justice. For me, the concept of moving on is not one of sadness or unfinished work but just part of the process of completing this part of the journey.

"That night in ICU, as the clanging of bells and whistles demanded the attention of a nurse to replace one of the dozens of bags hanging next to my bed, I knew that the choice was mine. I could move on and embark on a totally new adventure or choose to continue to fight here. Not because I was desperately needed but because just maybe a decision to live to fight for freedom might, just might, inspire a couple more young people in these urgent times to join this epic struggle for freedom and justice."

Lucky for all of us, Mixner didn't die and is still with us. He says the answer came when his friend Gary Belis brought in newspapers and pointed out the many important stories around the world. He read stories of "people embracing God to hide their hate, including President Putin in Russia, President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria, and Governor Brownback in Kansas. LGBT citizens were being dragged out of their homes in Nigeria, fleeing the coming oppression in Uganda and being rounded up in Russia. Even the brutal Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych found time to condemn homosexuality as he killed his own people."

The anti-gay legislation in Arizona was another powerful reminder for Mixner. As he explains: "Arizona's law is not about religious freedom either. It is simply a new tactic so those who hate LGBT Americans can continue to wear white sheets and hide behind a deity to practice that hate."

Mixner realized: "I wanted to fight to live." And he eloquently explains why: 

"Every tyrant, every person filled with hate, every oppressor of LGBT citizens and every person who would make God a person of hate must know that each and every one of us who care about our freedom will fight to literally our dying breath to defeat them. No matter where they are located, how much power they have and what brutality they used against us, they can not defeat us simply because our determination to breath the air of freedom will bring us victory."

Thank you, David, for staying with us.

Read the full column here.

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