|Wonder if I can pick one of these up in the White House Gift Shop?|
But then this morning, I happened across a contest being held by Obama for America. The big prize is a chance to sit down to a meal with President Obama (and three other winners) and discuss anything - absolutely anything - you desire. Great Gandalf! Really? An opportunity to share the President's attention with just three other people? A chance to talk to one of the smartest people in the country - and possibly one of the smartest ever to sit in the Oval Office? I'd get to eat a meal prepared by Christeta Comerford and ask some tough questions? I'd have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver one of my quickly-becoming-legendary rants to the Leader of the Free World? Oh you all know there's no way I could pass up the chance to do that! Where do I sign up?
So kids, here's my entry in the "Dinner with Barack" contest. As many of you know, I always have plenty to say and am hardly ever at a loss for words to say it. But as I wrote, I found myself taking a good hard look at something I seldom even notice - the relationship Eric and I have with the rest of the world. And this is what came spilling out onto the page as a result. I hope what I wrote doesn't come across as corny or maudlin or manipulative, because I can honestly tell you every word comes from my heart - especially the last two paragraphs.
"Oh man, where to start... Well first, I'd have to congratulate him - for being the first African-American President AND for the impressive number of things he has been able to accomplish despite a completely intractable Republican Party and a Democratic Congress that's apparently more interested in getting re-elected than in actually helping the American people.
And then (after a couple of beers or glasses of wine), we'd have to get real. Because there are a lot of things that are going on in his administration that aren't quite so laudable. I'd probably start with the money and get him to explain how he could put many of the very same people who helped get us into this financial mess (like Geitner and Bernanke) in charge of the store. Then we'd have to talk about the oil industry (MORE drilling, really?) and clean energy alternatives (Nuclear reactors Mr. President? Do you not watch the news?) and the places where the real "fat" in the budget seem to be that are ripe for cutting and would help balance the budget in a snap (So Mr. President, let's talk about Farm and Pharmaceutical Subsidies).
After all of that, we'd have to discuss an issue close to my heart - same-sex marriage and equal rights for LGBT people. My partner and I will celebrate 10 years together in December. We have a more loving and committed relationship than many of the heterosexual married couples we've met over the years. We might be gay, but our day-to-day lives are as ordinary (and often boring) as any straight person's. We get up in the morning and face a day often filled with mundane tasks: take care of our pets, go to work, cook meals, do laundry and yard work and home repairs. We watch out for our neighbors and keep an eye on the welfare of our entire neighborhood. We worry about money and staying healthy and eating better as we grow older. We're concerned about climate change, wonder where all the bees are going, are puzzled by the current attacks on education and teachers and are saddened by the growing violence in the U.S. and abroad. We spend hours pondering what the future holds for the country's children - even though we'll never have any of our own.
I've heard that the President's position on the issue of same-sex marriage is based on his religious beliefs. While I would never presume to tell anyone what to believe when it comes to their relationship with God, his reasoning is - quite frankly - a cop out. He's doing exactly the same thing many religious people do - retreating behind The Bible for safety instead of taking a courageous stand on a controversial issue. And I'd remind him that religion was one of the grounds used by those who disapproved of interracial relationships to try to keep miscegenation laws on the books. If his mother - or his grandparents - had maintained that they too were against interracial relationships because of their faith, he wouldn't even exist. They were courageous at a time when a black man and a white woman together was pretty incendiary and it's likely it caused them untold troubles. If the President can't find it within himself to be just as courageous as his own mother and grandparents, what kind of message does that send to his daughters?"
|Oh man, look at all those forks. Honey, where's our copy of Emily Post?|
Will I win? I'm betting the odds are pretty slim. Even if I don't, if perhaps someone connected with the contest is moved by my words and makes sure the President sees them and my message hits home, then I'd be just as happy.
Keep your fingers crossed for me and I'll keep you posted.
"Now you can say that I've grown bitter but of this you may be sure. The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor. And there's a mighty judgement coming, but I may be wrong. You see you hear these funny voices - in the Tower of Song" - Leonard Cohen
If you can read this, hug a teacher (or better yet, buy him/her dinner!),