Freedom of Expression

My dad sent the following letter to Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern last week:

Representative Kern.

I just heard your remarks about gays. I am a 76 year old successful business executive who has known many gay persons at work and in society. All of them have been very productive and loving and kind. None of the deserve the hate that you are broadcasting. This is the trouble with this nation. People like you become misinformed and believe what they hear and become divisive. You are in a position of trust where you are supposed to represent all of the people. Gays make up over twelve per cent of the population and their friends and relatives expand that to at least twenty five per cent or more.

Do you feel responsible in your representation when you bash over one fourth of your constituents?

I ask you first to reconsider you hateful position and then become informed so you can represent your constituents properly. I can guarantee that you will be a much happier person as well.

My dad rocks. He’s one of my greatest role models. I thought this was an incredibly generous and hopeful response. My sister wrote to her, too, expressing her love and acceptance of gay people, and expressing her concern about Kern’s views (or more accurately her ignorance) about Islam and Muslims.

I can’t remember exactly what I wrote when I submitted my signature to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund open letter to Kern, but the general point was that I believe that Kern must know that her views are prejudiced, ignorant, and shameful. Otherwise she would not have expressed herself in a private audience where she believed her views wouldn’t be exposed.

My beloved pointed out that Kern is simply exercising her freedom of speech, and she has every right to her opinions. I couldn’t agree more, and I hope that more of her ilk come out into the light and expose themselves as the hate mongers that they are, especially if they are educators and hold public office as she does. People who hold office have a responsibility to represent and protect the rights of all people in their communities, even they don’t like them.