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What Did You Do During the War, Mom?

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"This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement." Mary Cheney on the subject of her pregnancy, New York Times, February 2, 2007

Poor Mary. Poor, poor Mary. So deluded. So much in denial.

Mary Cheney, the expecting lesbian daughter of our sitting Vice-President, is about to have a blessed event. She's right in that such an event is a blessing. She's crazy if she thinks politics won't affect the life of her child.

Mary's daughter is about to be born into a family that, from the point of view of the law, doesn't exist. She will be born in a state, Virginia, where the Constitution forbids legal recognition of her family. Why? Because of politics.

Luckily Dick's grandchild comes from a family that has enough money to afford lawyers who can draft agreements to circumvent some of the obstacles that Grandpa's party's politics have put in her family's way. But those fancy documents won't shield her from the other kids at school who will single her out because of who her parents are. I knew a student like this once, a daughter of a lesbian who came to me when I was teaching to start a club to do something about homophobia at our school because, as she put it, "I'm tired of hearing my family get put down around this school." She called it a Gay-Straight Alliance, and it was the first one in the country (there are now more than 3,000 registered with GLSEN). Little Cheney may not have access to such a club, however, because of politics, as the Virginia state legislature has already given preliminary approval to a bill aimed at strangling GSA's out of existence.

Maybe the Cheney's wealth will offer a measure of protection against politics here as well, by paying for tuition to a private school where these issues are dealt with more sensitively (Buy the t-shirt now: Little Cheney, Georgetown Day School, class of 2025!). But at some point the question of moral responsibility has to arise. The Biblical admonition "To whom much is given, much will be expected" suggests that we should expect more out of privileged LGBT people like Mary Cheney than they just buy themselves a measure of protection against the bigotry their less-fortunate peers have no choice but to endure. Not that wanting to protect your child is bad - it's good - but you should also want every other parent's child to have the same things as your child has. It's only fair. And Mary just doesn't seem to care.

This isn't a fight where neutrality is an option, Mary. As Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel has said, "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." Whether you like it or not, politics does play a role here. So get with the program.

I wish Mary's fantasy, that we could ignore politics, were true. But her baby will find out that her Mom is just deluded soon enough. Children of the "Greatest Generation" routinely asked their Dads "What did you do during the war?" As Antonin Scalia and Pat Buchanan are so fond of pointing out, we're in a cultural war right now over whether or not LGBT people are entitled to the same level of dignity and respect as other Americans. Some day little Cheney is going to ask, "What did you do during the war, Mom?" Mary (to date) has sat on the sidelines - helping the oppressor. Too bad some day little Cheney will realize her Mom could have been part of the solution, but instead obstinately stuck her head in the sand over and over and thus was just part of the problem. I hope little Cheney can some day forgive her.