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Make a Difference

Give yourself the gift of reaching out and trying to make a difference.

How many times have you looked up and said, "That's not right, why did they do that?" or "How can they get away with that?" or "Hey, I'm a voter too, what about me?" but haven't gone beyond that.

It's so easy not to let people know what you think, to fail to do so really does make us all part of the problem. You won't always be able to sign your name, but you will always be able to say, "Hey, that's not right!" In the days of email and *everybody* being online, there is no longer an excuse not to pick up a virtual pen and share your thoughts.

I recently did so three times, two very similar letters to gentlemen running for the House of Delegates in West Virginia. Their position papers were so right-wing, I assumed that they were Republicans.

Alas, they were not - they were Democrats, and I could vote for them, their no doubt even worse opponents, or nobody at all.

Here's one of the letters, you'll see what I mean:

Dear Delegate Martin,

I moved from California to this great state almost two years ago, and as part of my commitment to West Virginia I am responsible for the home office of my corporation bringing jobs to West Virginia in the form of opening a corporate office in [City Name].

To that end I met and lunched with Mr. Phillips, and Senator Lanham at the State Capitol, and they both visited our offices in [City Name], along with Charles Humphries of Mason County.

All in all I have been impressed with great people in a great state.

I received your election materials this past week, and after reading it, I wondered who your Democratic opponent was, for I could not believe that anybody I would want to vote for would be pandering to the bigotry of divisive politics.

You are welcome to oppose abortion for yourself. You are not entitled to make what is essentially a personal decision for anybody else. I don’t want to hear it is about morality or religion, for one of the great things about this nation is that I no more have the right to impose my religion and religious values on you, than you do yours on me.

If I did have that right you would not be eating pork nor working on Saturdays; and that would just be the start.

Additionally, one of the most important things you can cite in your service to West Virginia is that you supported codifying the definition of marriage as “a loving and lifelong union between a man and a woman.”

I am disappointed that you would deem discriminating against loving couples to be one of your major accomplishments. Your definition would also come as a surprise to the thousands of clergy who perform religious marriages of same-sex couples on a regular basis.

Marriage is, and should remain, a religious exercise, the government’s place only to recognize the contractual aspects of relationships; it should not be in the business of telling any couple that its religiously valid marriage does not count.

While I understand political pragmatism, I cannot countenance expediency which operates a direct harm to real people, and this is what your positions on abortion and defining marriage do.

I am a lifelong Democrat, a “dirty dog Democrat” some would say, but at this point I don’t know what I will do on election day. I do know, whatever it is, will be with a heavy heart.

I am sending a similar letter to Delegate Paxton, in whom I am also disappointed.

I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Sadly, neither delegate has replied to date.

There is also a new controversy, not queer related, but very much civil rights and equal treatment for all related, which caused me to drop a note to an old familiar voice from Los Angeles listening to talk radio days; Dennis Prager.

Dennis,

We’ve disagreed over the years about a number of things; in fact I even called you once, close to 20 years ago, about gay parenting. We did not agree then, and we do not agree now.

Yet, I am actually surprised at your position regarding Keith Ellison’s request to take his oath of office on his holiest book.

To put it in its most simple analogy – would your prayer or oath to Jesus mean as much as your prayer or oath to G/d?

You and I both know it would not.

Why ask Congressman Ellison to make a false oath when the fact that he wishes to take his oath in a manner true to his belief system speaks to his honor and integrity?

Frankly, a Jew should know better. How many have died with the Shema on their lips rather than forsake our mutual faith?

Your pandering to religious bigotry and intolerance disappoints me; it’s a shanda.

Very truly yours,

For those who don't know, the "Shema" is Judaism's holiest prayer, and "shanda" is Yiddish for "shame."

Prager has yet to respond. I also sent a copy to Ellison's office. We'll see if we get word back from him.

By the way, when looking for Ellison's email address, I found on his official site that he has been a proponent of equal rights for gays and lesbians.

While I would have supported his rights regardless, it's nice to know that there stands a man willing to take many risks; standing up against the norm for what he knows is right.

He's doing it publicly - surely each and every one of you can give yourselves the gift of dropping at least an email note, anonymously if you need, the next time you see it's time to try and "right, the unrightable wrong."

In pride,
Deborah


 

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Drop a note to Deborah at gaylesissues@rslevinson.com

copyright © 1986-2010 Deborah Levinson