I love that song from Sister Sledge. And it was playing in my head as I read the following piece from Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle:
I believe I lost it. I believe I yelled. It was in an empty room, so no animals were harmed in the making of that yell, but still. I felt frustrated. And you know what's really good when you're feeling frustrated? Remembering that you have a newspaper column.
Last year the Ford Motor Co. started to buy ads in several publications aimed at gay readers. They did so, one presumes, because they realized that gay people buy automobiles, and Ford has, alas, not been selling many automobiles lately. Then the company got assaulted by the American Family Association, a creation of the Rev. Donald Wildmon, a clever right-wing agitator with a hate-based agenda. So Ford announced that it would stop advertising in gay publications.
But then, whoops, Ford reversed its reversal and said, never mind, it was going to advertise in gay publications after all. So then a representative of the AFA announced that it was reinstating its boycott. "We cannot, and will not, sit by as Ford supports a social agenda aimed at the destruction of the family."
What a vile sentence. What a vile sentiment. What overbusy, underbrained worms these people must be. I am not yelling.
My older daughter is a lesbian. She is also the single mother of an adopted child, working to make and sustain a family with jaw-dropping tenacity. I am a member of that family, but she is the head of it. The idea that any part of her social agenda involves the destruction of the family is insulting and stupid. She adopted a child, which means that a child who would not have had a home now has one. It means that a child who would not have rested safely in a mother's arms now does so. These are real family values, not the poison spouted by these thoughtless, gossip-mongering abominations.
Sure, I feel strongly because it's my daughter who's being smeared, but it ain't just my daughter. All over this nation there are gay and lesbian families working hard to make a life for themselves and their children. I know a few of them. They could have done it the easy way, stayed in the closet and decided not to endure the hassles of having children, but they didn't. They wanted a family. They wanted a lover and companion to share their lives with, and they wanted children to love. And for this they get insulted by cretins.
The gay and lesbian parents I know are too busy to have an agenda, unless the agenda is "1. cook dinner, 2. wash clothes, 3. find frog." They're doing the usual stuff, teaching manners and insisting on homework and keeping doctor's appointments and reading bedtime stories. It's all very conventional and humdrum; families with kids often look pretty boring from the outside. But when you're in such a family, the last thing you are is bored. Tired, maybe. Irritated, occasionally. Bored, no.
The reality is the mirror image of the stereotype. The real keepers of the American flame, the real practitioners of daily love and a life of the spirit, are gay and lesbian parents. They are, gosh darn it, what made this country great. Someone get a damn fife and drum.
The people who hate America are the members of American Family Association and its ideological fellow travelers. They're the ones who do not believe that all people are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these rights are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. They're the ones who believe that this country was founded on hate and fear; they're the ones who want the hate and fear to continue.
"He's out picketing a funeral of a gay veteran."
"Will he be home in time for the flute recital?"
"Your father is very busy, dear."
I mean, render unto me a break. If your family feels so threatened by my family that you think you have to organize a boycott of a car company, then your family has problems my family can do nothing to solve. If you think a woman kissing a woman is going to get your daughter hooked on drugs and drive your son into a life of crime -- get home. Have a pizza. Talk about stuff. Go to a ballgame. That's what gay and lesbian families do, and it seems to work out fine. Take a lesson. And, please, shut the hell up.