Saturday, August 11, 2007

These Are Americans

It was a bold move for MTV's Logo Network to host a debate forum for the Democratic presidential candidates. The event itself and the participation by serious contenders for President is a milestone for recognition and acceptance of American citizens who are homosexual.

An invitation was also reportedly extended to the Republican candidates, who declined. Their refusal communicates an important message about their entire field. They will not acknowledge publically, and perhaps not even in private, that these are Americans who deserve to be addressed by their republic.

The Democrats weren't terrific themselves, but at least they submitted themselves to questioning about matters of concern to American citizens who are homosexual. (I'm inclined to repeat that phrase a lot, as it appears there are people who need to be reminded that gay Americans are Americans.)

Bill Richardson fumbled a golden opportunity with a tricky question. Melissa Etheridge asked him whether he viewed homosexuality as a choice or something to which one is born. Richardson's error was in taking a side on a contentious issue when he did not have to. (He said, "It's a choice," and then frantically tried to backpedal.)

What he might have said is that he didn't know, and didn't need to know. What was important to him is that - shall we say it together? - homosexuals are Americans. The President is not there to opine on the nature or morality of homosexuality. He could have played this question into a beautiful ode to leadership and democracy, echoing the introductory words of our Declaration of Independence regarding the equality and worthiness of every person.

But! At least he was there. Not a single Republican came.

Actor and model citizen Alec Mapa commented very intelligently on the debate, noting how painful it is to hear Barack Obama talk down gay marriage (the right to be legally married and to call it marriage) knowing that the marriage of his own parents would have been illegal in our republic not so long ago. Hillary Clinton, emerging as the frontrunner among these clowns, offered nothing better.

But again, they were there.

Not a single Republican came.

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