Friday, June 17, 2011

A Republican of a different kind.

While Republicans like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, et. al. all jostle for the position of being the most bigoted Republican there are a some rare and wonder exceptions. Gov. Gary Johnson, who is seeking the GOP presidential nomination, but who is being blackballed by CNN, is one of them Another is State Senator Roy McDonald of New York.

New York is ready for marriage equality, which remains the great civil rights battle of this decade. The Republican Party is adamant in support of all sorts of bigotry, but especially against the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. Marriage equality was voted down narrowly last year and McDonald did what the party leadership demands. This year he announced he would support marriage equality. And he put his thoughts in some plain, easy-to-understand words that I think will resonate with people.

"You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I'm trying to do the right thing, and that's where I'm going with this."

Most Americans now support marriage equality. And a clear majority of New Yorkers do. McDonald's stand has won him a host of new supporters. McDonald is a Vietnam vet, a former steel worker, who went on to earn a degree and went into banking. He was a town supervisor, a county supervisor and then a member of the state assembly before being elected a state senator.

McDonald seems to realize that forces that control the Republican Party may try to punish him. He's ready for that. "I'm not one of those guys that lives and dies, at this age of my life, for politics.... if I get out of politics I'll be a professional like I've been in the past." He says: "I'll go play golf, see my wife and spend time with my three kids and grandkids." McDonald says: "I'm not out to hurt some gay guy, gay woman. Live your lifestyle. That's not my lifestyle, but God bless 'em—it's America. Be nice to people and let's just all live our lives." McDonald has two grandsons who are autistic and says said that had an impact on his thinking. "You realize people in circumstances aren't what you think they're going to be, and you develop some sensitivity."

The marriage bigots are up in arms. But there seems to a groundswell of support for McDonald. In his local paper ore person, echoing McDonald's own comment, said: "It's great to see a politician that has the balls to stand up and say what he thinks. Roy McDonald is the only one who will do that. So f... it, he's got my vote."  One businessman wrote the local paper: "Great job Senator! I catered a gay wedding once. As long as your money is green I will serve you. I care about my bottom line. It's about the economy. Plus, it's the right thing to do."

McDonald's Facebook page has exploded with support. In the last few hours he gained almost 900 fans. Comments include:

"Thank you for your courage and integrity, sir."

"All I can say is thank you. We need more politicians like you, who are not afraid to stand up for what they truly believe is right, and who aren't afraid to lay out a couple of cuss words in the process."

"As a Republican who has lost faith, you give me hope."

"Have you considered running for president, Roy? Well, you really should because this nation really needs a man with your guts and integrity now more than ever."

"Your position and your statement on same sex marriage is the shot heard round the world."

 "While you standing up for gay rights impresses me, your clear disdain for present opinions for Republicans and Democrats—and by extension, your support for free thought rather than closed-mindedness to 'party ideals—impresses me more."

"Senator McDonald, generations of McDonald's will remember you for being brave and taking a stand."

"If all Republicans are as honest and brave as you, I might become a Republican."

"I'm a straight grandmother, not in your district, by you sure gained by respect today."

"Sir, I am a straight, US Army Vet. I joined the military to defend the rights of ALL American Citizens. Thank you for standing up."

"I'm a straight, married soccer mom in my 40s and I have to tell you that you've shown exactly the kind of courage I want my own sons to have."

"Thank you for being a man of moral integrity."

"I couldn't be a prouder Republicans for what you stand for."

"Monday, I had not heard of you... today you are my hero. Funny how that works."

"Thank you! from another straight, pro-gay marriage Republican."

"Thank you for being a freakin' voe of reason!!!!!"

"Want to move to Texas? We could use some thoughtfulness and integrity around here."

"I'm not gay, but damn it... AMERICANS should all be equal."

"I'm married 21 years, a mother of four, a religious libertarian from Indiana. THANK YOU for the gleam of hope in our government."

"I've been a Republican since '68, male, straight, father of 2, grandfather of 2, and I applaud you, Sir."

"A rational Republican. Like back in the good ol' days."

"For whatever it's worth, as a Texas libertarian you'd have my my vote and support."

I should note that it took reading through hundreds of comments before I found one bigoted remark by a Scott Elwood, who said: "Well done idiot, you turning NY into San Francisco. Hope you enjoy your early retirement... VOTE THIS liberal rePUBEic out of office." Not particularly coherent.

A couple of hundred comments later I came across the second negative response and it's a gem; "Giving special rights to homosexuals  is blasphemous towards our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Shame on you Sen. McDonald, you potty mouth God hater. May the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ change your hard heart and save you from this." In case you wondered the writer was a Baptist from Texas.

I gave up trying to read all the comments after going through several thousand remarks And it is clear that the remarks are still pouring into McDonald's FB page. I looked at about three pages worth of new remarks and all are positive. But the remarks on one young man, Chris Oakley got my attention. "Never written on a politicians wall before... you're one of the first to ever say anything remotely human." It got may attention because it's sadly true. So few politicians do say anything remotely human.

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