I got a solicitation to send Michelle Obama Mother's Day wishes, along with, of course, a plea for a contribution. I already sent money Monday night when I caught up with the news that the President had come out in support of same-sex marriage. Immediately, you have the closet cases like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council condemning the statement. The same Family Research Council branded a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (How ironic that he has the same name as the late film and stage actor who died of AIDS and was a closeted bisexual!). Perkins found himself in an intense debate between himself and both Chris Matthews and Barney Frank (or, if you are Dick Armey, "Barney Fag" -- yes, the same Dick Armey who co-founded the Tea Party movement); Tony wound up looking like a hurt boy on the verge of tears, insisting to the end that anything other than heterosexual marriage is "bad for the nation," without quite explaining HOW.
I was extraordinarily moved when I first saw that sound bite of Obama. He remarked that his daughters and Michelle had a major effect on his "evolution" from someone favoring civil unions but not marriage for LGBT people, to an out and out supporter of marriage equality, no reservations. I wanted Ms. Obama to know how their joint decision had affected me, so I wrote:
"Ms. First Lady, your husband told us that he consulted with you and your daughters while he was 'evolving' on the issue of extending civil rights to LGBT people. Obviously, you exert an influence on him for the good of all Americans. I suspect one of you knows that our President Lincoln and Mexico's President Benito Juarez corresponded. It so happens that the President's support of marriage equality invokes the spirit of Juarez, who said: 'Respect for the rights of others is peace.'"
I like what you wrote! Bravo!
"Respect for the rights of others is peace."
DAMN. That simple sentence speaks volumes, to this issue and hundreds of others.
That is one of the most profound statements I've ever heard.
The profundity is all Juarez's. I just felt that as an African-American, Michelle Obama would resonate with anything I could say about rights, and it is the simplest, most concise statement of my belief when it comes to human rights. I use it in all my emails from my business account. Juarez was a peasant with little formal education. You can easily see why he would have been a natural correspondent of the freethinking (possibly atheist) Lincoln.
James thanks for posting this. I have a feeling it will be an interesting and often maddening election. I think the reason marriage equality so angers the bigots is also the reason it so moves me: it recognizes that LGBT people are real human beings deserving of the same respect as all other people, and not deserving of the abuse that we so often get. Obama is the only president whose picture I have ever taped to the fridge. I just hope that the momentum carries on, and wish him and us success and safety.
If I post his picture on my fridge, it would demand posting others, at the very least Lincoln, MLK, and Gandhi. All of them had their flaws but they stood for the same proposition enunciated by Juarez.
As always, well written. Keep it up James.
Thanks, Dr. Kellie. As a side note, I have that same wish hand-written at the bottom of another great patriot for sexual freedom, Linda Lovelace, who I met at a book convention in San Francisco prior to her conversion to the religion of guilt.