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Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Kudos to Kay: She "Dunn" right!

A little over two weeks ago I used this space to excoriate Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Kay Barnes for courting the gay vote, but failing to speak out at the Feb. 11 Mayor's Prayer Breakfast when the keynote speaker used the event as a bully pulpit to push an extremist right-wing agenda. Barnes remained silent while local businessman William H. Dunn Sr. used the event as a platform to denounce pornography, sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy and illegitimate children, same-sex marriages, "activist judges," the "far-left media," partial-birth abortion and the extremist right-wing's usual litany of gripes.

By her silence, Kay was complicit with Dunn's hate-mongering espoused. It appeared Barnes was going the way of other moderate and progressive politicians who chose what is expedient over what it right. From that perspective, Barnes was the embodiment of the line from W.B. Yeats' "The Second Coming": "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

Or so it seemed.

On the front page of today's Metropolitan section of The Kansas City Star there was a story headlined Prayer breakfast loses a mayor. The article recounted how Barnes raised objections to Dunn's speech and asked the organizing committee to change its bylaws. When the committee balked, Barnes told them she wouldn't be back next year.

According to the article: "I feel I need to express my personal dismay with the tone and content of the recent keynote address," Barnes wrote this week to members of the breakfast committee. "I will not participate in nor attend next year's event."

I won't waste time going into Dunn's response. The comments of an unrepentant bigot aren't worth the effort. Nor will I waste space on the disingenuous comments by one of the organizers of the supposedly non-political, non-denominational event who said changing the bylaws would compromise the integrity of the 44-year-old tradition - but who went on to defend a highly political speech.

Instead I just want to focus on Kay and what a rarity it is to find a politician with the courage of her convictions.

Kudos to you, Kay. You "Dunn" right by us!