Letter to the President

letter to president

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500
June 27, 2009

Mr. President:
This is the second time I am writing to you, and this time I am writing in an open forum. My last letter was to let you know that members of the Gay/Lesbian Community were watching. What motivated that letter was your support of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine as head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC.) Mr. Kaine had an abysmal record in his dealings with the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered (GLBT) Community, particularly in relation to equality on such matters as marriage or civil unions. I asked you to remember the huge amount of support and financial assistance that came from our people to your campaign. I asked you to remember and be respectful of our hopes and our dreams that were now in your hands.

We have passed the six month mark now, and your Administration is bent and on course with some of the issues you have been saddled with. You have made inroads that we hope will right the economy; a bill that will address concerns with the environment in the form of a “Climate Bill” has passed the House, and we hear about your concerns directed toward Universal Health Care that, if passed will touch and improve the life of every American.

During the campaign, promises were made. Some of those promises were directed toward the GLBT people. You became our hope when you spoke of ending the odious and indefensible Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the equally repugnant “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ruling which is used by the military to purge anyone who identifies as gay or lesbian. This rule was never properly administered, and more gay/lesbian people are thrown out of the military ranks than ever before. You promised that you would see to it that both of these would end.

You promised to see that discrimination would end for all people. You promised we could do it together. “Yes We Can!”
What have we received? Only recently you announced benefits for the same sex partners of those in the Diplomatic Corps. You announced that same sex partners of Federal employees would have hospital visitation rights. Such token recognition is appreciated, but unfortunately, it is just that: “tokenism.”

Once again we are made to swallow the bitter pill of disappointment occasioned by your Justice Department in its Brief filed in support of the State of California and opposing the position of Smelt/Hammer in their suit against the United States of America and the State of California in regard to the situation caused by California’s Proposition Eight and the enforcement of DOMA. The Plaintiffs had sued to challenge the sections of the DOMA that held that states were not required to recognize same sex marriages that occurred in another state. They also challenged the section of DOMA that held that marriage is a legal, civil contract between a man and a woman and is so defined for purpose of Federal law. This was cited as violating “Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the US Constitution,” as well as their right to privacy.

It is not the fact that your Justice Department opposed the Plaintiffs in this case, it is the way they did it, and the vehement language they chose. Their Brief could have been written by the Bush people, and it has therefore left so many of us with mouths agape in disbelief. In upholding the DOMA in this manner, your administration has further entrenched this discriminatory law into the fabric of American lives. Your people have also blessed the economic hardships that this law inflicts on the Gay/Lesbian population…. the expectation that Income Taxes will be fully and honestly paid, but the thousand+ benefits that accrue to heterosexual couples cannot be enjoyed by same sex married couples. This is in direct opposition to your pledge to work toward the repeal of the DOMA. You have said that you took an oath to uphold the laws of the nation. This is very true. I would ask you though, does upholding a law that is unjust have to be done with the enthusiasm and the mean spiritedness used in this case by your Department of Justice?
Once again, you have let us down. Do you believe that our patience is infinite? Do you believe that we are yours no matter how great the let down? Do you see the GLBT Community as being desperate and easily satisfied? Please know that we have been steeled by years of struggle and that steel has been further tempered by years of disappointment at the hollow promises of a government that panders to the Right. Yet we believed you, and your campaign opened the door to hope.
We believed you, and so with one eighth of your first(?) term gone we begin to feel the same disappointment as we have felt in the past. It would be appropriate for members of the GLBT Community to withdraw all financial support from your campaign war chest , from the DNC and from your Party, at least until we see signs that you are beginning to live up to your promises to us.
I still support you and so much of what you are doing, but my wallet is closed now and it will remain closed until I see signs that you are keeping faith with us and intend to uphold the promises you made to us when you sought our votes.

Most sincerely,
David Mack

About karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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2 Comments on “Letter to the President”

  1. In my home town, i’ve watched our own debates concerning the hiring of homosexuals and their rights to be established as married couples. Somehow, a great many commentators seemed to view legislated non-discriminatory laws as an infraction on freedom to religion. To many, this avenue of thought preceeds an entire host of issues; the right to refuse certain medications or medical proceedures to someone who requests them because your religious values are at stake, the right to refuse to hire someone engaged in a common law relationship or who practices polygamy because it offends your religion, the right to refuse anybody proper guidance, legal documents or means of income because that person is not in compliance with your religious views. I will always maintain that small business owners have the right to choose who they hire, as their workers are few and usually acquired on a deeply personal basis, but we are a country of large corporations and even religion is big business. We can’t allow that corporate chain to be our moral guide. Once that happens, there is no freedom at all.

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