Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Del. Jeff Waldstreicher on Last Friday

Dear Friends,

You know, not everyone is like Joanna and me. Scientists tell us that about 10% of folk are simply wired differently than the other 90. One hundred years ago, those in the majority - parents especially - often tried dramatic measures to alter the habits of those in the minority. The common practice was behavioral therapy, which was simply punishment under a more polite name. Ronald Reagan was in that 10%. So is President Obama. Against all odds (they're fraternal), when given crayons, both of my twins also appear to be left-handed. (When they're not busy eating the crayons, of course!)

The whole of human history is filled with inflection points where the representatives of "us" - democratic or otherwise - welcome our neighbors into the community of us. "Not us" becomes us, and we are richer because of it. It is often uneventful, as with left-handedness. It is occasionally bloody, as with skin color. And sometimes it happens with the push of a button.

Last week, I planned to press my green button to provide full and equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. But it was not to be. Knowing the legislation was about two votes short, advocates asked for it to be recommitted without a vote. This means the bill is dead for this year. I have been vocal in my belief that, short of victory, an up-or-down vote would have been the next best thing. A true "loss" this year would have provided the accountability, vote-count, and inspiration necessary to get back on our horse and fight for this again next year.

And fight we will. I am optimistic that I'll be writing to you at this point in 2012, having just pressed that green button. And when I finally get that chance, I won’t be doing it because I'm a Democrat, or because I'm a democrat. I won’t be doing it because of tolerance, or pluralism. I won’t be doing it for me, or even for my gay friends or relatives. I'll be doing it for the simplest and most important reason I can think of - because of our shared humanity.

In other words, I’ll be doing it for us.
Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher