Monday, May 28, 2007

Dear Senator Edwards,

I just finished reading several articles and blog posts inspired by a specific quote from you in Bob Shrum’s new book. The quote I speak of is, "I'm not comfortable around those people" which was your response to the question, “What is your position, Mr. Edwards, on gay rights?”

I am a 49 year old woman, married 25 years, and up until a few years ago, a lifelong Republican (although I’ve always voted for the person I felt to be the best candidate, which many times meant not a Republican). I am also the mother of 3 beautiful children, one of them gay, or more to the point, one of those people around whom you are so uncomfortable.

I am now an Independent who is searching, studying, agonizing, and praying for just the right presidential candidate to hang my extremely dashed hopes on. You have definitely been in the running, but now I am not so sure. And it is not because of your discomfort around gay people. You don’t have to be “comfortable” with my son or any other gay or lesbian to garner my vote, but you do have to be able to put that discomfort aside and publicly commit yourself to fighting for the exact same rights for my child that your children will take for granted.

Any man or woman who cannot fulfill the obligation of ensuring (in spite of their discomfort) that all Americans are equal and not “separate but equal” (as in civil unions or “partnership benefits”) is not, in this seething mother’s eyes, fit for the highest office in this country. This country needs a courageous leader who is guided by the founding principles of our forefathers and not by a wet finger in the wind or James Dobson’s version of Christian values.

Your rhetoric about 2 Americas is eloquent and resonates with me, but probably not in the way you intended. George W. Bush chose to use the promise of making my son a permanent second class citizen to garner the votes of the most hateful segment of his base. And he threw salt in this mother’s wounds by doing it under the guise of Christianity. His “gay bashing for votes” was unbearable, unforgivable, and sinful. So this mother will never vote for anyone who speaks of the disparity between the “2 Americas”, but who concedes that allowing gays the right to be married “would be a jump for him”. I simply cannot help feeling that your willingness to ensure that my son will never have the exact same rights his siblings have (or your children have for that matter) is akin to creating a mini version of “2 Americas” right smack dab in my very own family.

Bush was blatant in his quest to make our gay and lesbian sons and daughters second class citizens. Stealth attempts to make our gay and lesbian children second class citizens by any presidential candidate is not going to get past the thousands of parents who are already reeling from the current president’s profound betrayal of our children. Our wounds are way too raw. So it is with great disappointment that I have come to realize that you have used your own discomfort and religious beliefs to admit and justify that you would probably deny my child what your children already have. It shouldn’t have surprised me I guess. You are really no different than any of the other candidates out there right now. My son’s right to be treated equally were dashed the day he had the courage to admit he was gay. And make no mistake about it, admitting to be gay in this country takes genuine courage since it means allowing your rights to be used as bargaining chips by opportunistic politicians and religious zealots.

Maybe you should ask yourself how you would feel if it was your child being singled out as not worthy of equal treatment because it offends some people’s religious beliefs or makes some people “uncomfortable”. Nowhere is it written in our constitution that my child must pass James Dobson’s twisted version of Christian values or that my child must make everyone feel comfortable in order to be treated equally in this country. Religious beliefs and comfort levels have no place in this discussion. And any candidate who uses those things as litmus tests for determining the rights of any minority is not the right person to lead this country out of the deep dark depression this country is feeling after 6 ½ years of George W. Bush and Karl Rove politics.

Do the right thing Senator Edwards, stand up for my child just as you would your own. This country is in desperate need of a politician who is willing to do the right thing. And God knows we parents of gay and lesbian children could use a true American hero right about now.

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4 comments:

Jarred said...

It seems to me that this coming presidential election, at least as far as gay rights go, we're probably going to have to settle for voting for the "least evil" candidate. (I'm not a fan of not voting at all.)

elaygee said...

I enjoyed the rant against Edwards hypocrisy and would only suggest that you refer to "millions" of parents of gay and lesbian children. If there are 30 million or so of us, there are at least 30 million parents of gays and lesbians, if not many more.

Janice said...

He and his family may look awfully hetero-pretty, but who's to say one of those darling kids won't turn out to be gay? Then how will he feel around those people? I, for one, am sick to death of politicians who are too god-damned weak to just do the right thing, even if it happens to be unpopular. I like Edwards and his "two countries" stance resonates with me, but I just don't know....

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