I'm trying to get in the holiday spirit. No, really I am. I've had Christmas music playing on an almost continual loop. Nothing. I watched the lighting of the Rockefeller Center tree and all I could muster was half a smile and a sigh. I sought out the arsenal of holiday movies playing on television. Though sappy, they are uplifting and reaffirm most people's love of Christmas and could maybe even bring a tear to the eye of even the "Grinchiest" Grinch. Yet still, nothing moves me. What the heck is wrong with me? I love the holidays. Then again, when the channel changes from all of the "ho, ho, ho-ing" and lands on the news, it feels like a punch in the gut.
All the negativity is overwhelming. Countries are falling apart, economies around the globe are collapsing, and our current political scene in the United States has been embarrassing at best. As of late, Republican candidates are pushing the envelope even further by expressing their anti-gay views that continues to fan the flames of bigotry, bullying, and sadly, suicides among LGBT youth. I looked at my husband sitting next to me and as much as I was loathsome to say it, I declared, "We need a Christmas miracle." His response, "You've had too many peppermint lattés."
A few minutes later, I saw it -- like magic my wish had been granted. And it began with... Rick Perry?!?
The nightly news played Rick Perry's now infamous YouTube video where he laments on the wrongs of our country including "Obama's war on religion" and the fact that "gays can serve openly in the military." Mr. Perry threw the proverbial "Hail Mary" pass in hopes of garnering more support for his floundering campaign. If there had been any lingering questions on where Mr. Perry stood on gay issues beforehand, it was now abundantly clear. However, the pass didn't end up in the end zone as he'd hoped. It was more like an interception that resulted in a touchdown for his opponents. At last count, there were nearly 650,000 people who disliked the campaign video. It actually brought his bigotry to the forefront, exposed for the world to see. People are getting tired of the attacks on gay and lesbians -- and not just the Democrats. I've voted Republican and I've voted Democrat and I'm frankly fed up. More and more family members are speaking out on behalf of their gay children, siblings and relatives. The more that do, the more politicians will be forced to change their tune. However, we must keep speaking out.
The "Christmas Miracle" continued this week when Republican candidate Mitt Romney met a man who refused to remain silent. Mr. Romney's comments at a New Hampshire dinner where he reiterated to a gay, married, Vietnam-veteran in his 60s his pro-Defense of Marriage Act stance several times. Even after the serviceman, standing with his husband, explained that his spouse would not be entitled to any burial or medical benefits despite having devoted his time and energy to serving our country, Mr. Romney didn't budge. This story has yet to garner the same kind of outcry as Mr. Perry's viral video, however it puts a real human face to what happens when gay servicemen and women are discriminated against.
When I first watched the videos of both Mr. Perry and Mr. Romney I was incensed. These servicemen and women have dedicated their lives to the United States. Does a straight solider care about protecting the freedoms and rights of our country more than a gay one? Does a straight solider soldier love his country more than a gay one? Does a straight solider bleed differently than a gay one? My older brother served in the military and did two tours in Vietnam. He didn't care who was gay or straight; all he cared about was if they did their job. For that statement alone, even back then, I am so proud of my brother. As a mother of a gay son, I would also be proud of him for wanting to defend his country if he chose to do so.
"How do we tell LGBT youth who are bullied that it is ok to be themselves when people like Rick Perry attempt to push them back in the closet?" I said to my husband of 44 years.
My husband smartly and very casually reminded me that I should be thanking Perry and Romney. I was shocked when he said it and impatiently waited for his explanation. "People are tired of the negativity. Tired of the attacks. This is uniting people, at least in very infant stages." He was right -- something I don't always like to tell my husband. The pushback was getting stronger against these types of dangerous views.
The Christmas miracle continues to gain momentum.
So Mr. Perry and Mr. Romney... I am a Republican, I am a Christian, and I am a mother of a gay son of whom I am very proud. Moreover, I will not support anyone with the kind of views such as yours.
Suddenly, I'm feeling quite festive.