Thursday, October 16, 2008

Maybe My Definition of Straight Talk is Different

I didn't make my decision to vote for Barack Obama based solely on LGBT issues. Like most Americans, I care about the economy, health care, and improving educational infrastructure. I believe that Obama will address these issues in a way that is better for our nation than McCain will. It is an added bonus that Obama acknowledges the dignity of LGBT families and persons (although he could definitely go further in his support).

Pam over at Pam's House Blend recently posted two form letters, one from McCain and one from Obama, to a constituent who had asked about each candidate how he would protect all families, including LGBT ones. These two letters demonstrate a stark difference in political style between the two men. I encourage you to read them.

You will notice that the first letter, the one from John McCain, can be paraphrased quite simply: I'm going to ignore your concern about protecting LGBT families and ask you to vote for me anyway because Muslim extremists are scary and I have a lifetime of public service!

His letter represents, not a "maverick," but a typical out-of-touch politician whose only concern seems to be to get elected. When someone brings a concern to a politician it is usually a good idea to address that concern. Instead, McCain completely ignores the very important question an American asked him. Which, of course, is understandable given the fact that it's sort of against the interest of LGBT families to vote for McCain. In short, this letter is generic even by generic political form letter standards. It could have been a "response" to a constituent's concern about one of any number of issues. Is this the type of "nuanced" and "responsive" attention we the people would receive from a McCain Administration?

In contrast, Obama's letter begins:

"While we live in a nation that is enriched by a vast array of diverse traditions, cultures and histories, it is our commonality that most defines us. The desire to build a life with a loved one, to provide for a family and to have children who will grow and thrive --these are desires that all people share, regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity."

For starters, he acknowledges the constituent's concern- we as humans share common desires to thrive in families even if we're different in some ways. He then goes on to state, more directly:

"We also have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT families. Because equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights is not some abstract principle; it's about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom. That's why we have to repeal laws like the Defense of Marriage Act. That's why we have to eliminate discrimination against LGBT families. And that's why we have to extend equal treatment in our family and adoption laws."

Obama gives us straight talk. That, ironically, is in stark contrast to the man who has branded himself as the engineer of the Straight Talk Express.

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