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Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

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

Saturday, May 06, 2006

An open letter to Mary Cheney

Dear Mary,

It's been almost 48 hours since I watched you being interviewed by Diane Sawyer Thursday on ABC's "Primetime." Your performance (and I fail to come up with any word other than "performance" to describe it) still causes my blood pressure to rise and my stomach acids churn.

I can deal with you being a Republican. I don't agree with your decision, but it is, after all, your decision.

What I can't deal with is your complete apathy toward issues that affect those of us who don't come from wealthy families in positions of authority.

I'm glad you felt secure enough to come out to your family. And I'm glad that, even through their tears, they accepted you. Not all of us are that lucky. Some of us have been thrown out by families who can't accept who we are. Some of us are estranged from our families for years. Some of us are never able to bridge the chasm with the families whose love is conditional on us being heterosexual.

If the interview showed you had one shred of self-respect, it was when you admitted there was a time during the 2004 presidential campaign (in which your political party used people just like you and your partner to scare conservative voters to the polls with the boogieman of gays and lesbians threatening "traditional marriage") you considered leaving the campaign.

But you didn't.

You hid behind mommie and daddie and when John Kerry mentioned you when asked during the debates if being gay was a choice, your parents feigned indignation and said Kerry was a bad man for "outing" you before the entire nation. (Never mind that you had been out for years while working for Coors Brewing Company marketing its swill to gay and lesbian consumers. And never mind that your parents said nothing when Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes called you a sinner and a hedonist.)

When Diane Sawyer asked if you would still be a Republican if your father wasn't the vice president, you avoided answering by saying you "don't answer hypothetical questions." That's a cowardly cop-out.

Likewise, you hedged on answering if you would still support the Bush administration if your father wasn't on the ticket. Your answer: "I think he's a very good man. On these {GLBT} issues, he hasn't caught up." Well, d'uh! And no doubt he won't ever catch up if there are LGBT people around him who don't speak up.

Perhaps the most disheartening part of the interview was when you mentioned that Bush offered to give you time to let you give a public statement in disagreement, and your father indicated publicly he disagreed with his boss on the issue. You declined the offer.

Now there's an opportunity that 99.99999999 percent of us will never, NEVER have. And you passed it up. You could have be brave and let the Republican Party know that not only are their LGBT members among them, but that their anti-gay policies hurt families and individuals.

I guess it was just too easy to hide behind mommie and daddie. And their money. And their connections.

You don't have to worry about losing your job for being a lesbian. It was your connections that helped you land a well-paying job with America Online. I seriously doubt Steve Case will show up at your office some Friday afternoon and request you to clean out your office because you're a lesbian. And even if he does, you could trade your family name for a position at any number of other companies that would be more than happy to cash in on the name "Cheney" in their roster of employees.

You don't have to fear like most of the rest of us who work in areas where we can be fired simply for who we are. Those kinds of rights don't concern you because your family name insulates you from what the rest of us in the real world go through.

Then to top it all off you mentioned that you and Heather Poe, your partner of 14 years, have no need for marriage. "Well, from my perspective," you told Diane Sawyer, "Heather and I already are married. We have built a home and a life together. Um, I hope I get to spend the rest of my life with her. The way I look at it, is we're just waiting for state and federal law to catch up with us."

So in other words you sit on your rich, priveleged white ass and let the rest of us do the work so that one day the laws change and perhaps you and Heather can have an extravagent wedding.

I have no use for people like you, Mary Cheney. Because you've lived a priveleged life, you don't see the struggles of others who are just like you except they were born into families who don't have political power. No one can control what sort of families they are born into, but they can damn well develop a sense of empathy with what other people are going through.

Most of us don't bring home six-figure salaries. Most of us don't have powerful parents. Most of us don't have the contacts to publish our stories with major publishing houses like you have done with your book, Now it's My Turn. And most of us don't have to go through such tortured logic and arguments to justify why we can align ourselves with a political party who has declared itself our enemy.

Maybe one day you and Heather will have the privelege of getting married. But one thing is certain ... you've done nothing to earn that right.