To this already complex rhetorical thicket, add the wild card of Vice-President Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter, Mary. In the final televised presidential debate last Wednesday, Mr. Bush was asked a simple question: Do you believe gays have a choice about their sexual orientation? Mr. Bush dodged, saying he didn’t know. Mr. Kerry answered directly, saying no, and used Ms. Cheney, who is openly gay and working for the Bush-Cheney campaign, to illustrate the point.
In doing so, Mr. Kerry was simply taking a leaf from his running mate’s book. In the vice-presidential debate, John Edwards effusively praised the Cheney’s for embracing their gay daughter. It was a deft means of highlighting the differences between Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush on the issue. Mr. Cheney has in the past said that he opposes a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but nevertheless defers to the President on the matter.
But here’s the wrinkle: Whereas Mr. Edward’s foray drew a warm response from Mr. Cheney – he could do little else without appearing graceless – Mr. Kerry’s had the opposite effect. The following day, Mr. Cheney’s wife Lynne angrily accused Mr. Kerry of pulling a “cheap and tawdry political trick.” Mr. Cheney soon chimed in, asserting that he was a “pretty angry father.” Mr. Bush later added his voice, claiming Mr. Kerry went “over the line.”
I did not originally weigh in with my two cents on the third presidential debate because I did not watch the whole debate. Once John Kerry brought up Dick Cheney’s daughter, I turned the television off in disgust. I just barely managed to stomach John Edward’s reference to Mary Cheney in the VP debate and I gave Dick Cheney a lot of credit on how he handled it. It was a veiled political cheap trick designed to embarrass or harm Dick Cheney politically by having him denounce either his daughter’s sexual orientation or alienate him from the religious. Cheney thanked Edwards for his kind words and passed on the rebuttal.
John Kerry tried the same veiled attack against George Bush in this debate. Make no mistake; Kerry/Edwards used Mary Cheney’s sexual orientation in the hopes of alienating the religious voters from supporting George Bush for the presidency. This has got to be a new low in politicking when a candidate’s child is used as "fair game" in attack politics. I don’t buy Kerry’s rambling explanation. It was not an apology which would have been the decent thing to do; instead he tries to justify referencing her. What is Mary Cheney anyway – the only lesbian he has every heard of? If it was not an attack move, why not use Rosie O’Donnell? Contrary to what the Globe pundits would have us believe, Kerry was not framing his words for his base but it was said in the guise and hope of having a demonstrative impact in alienating the religious base from the Bush/Cheney camp. Let’s face it; Kerry talking about his religious faith as a Catholic is just not credible and if you want to be credible, you do not misquote biblical references or having your deeds/words reflect poorly on your faith.
The Globe and Mail opines that George Bush "dodged" the question of whether a person’s sexual orientation is a matter of choice or biology. He answered a heartfelt "I don’t know." I have to "dodge" here too. I haven’t a clue on why some people are heterosexual and others are not. If anyone can offer definitive proof either way, do us all a favour and publish it so we can put this senseless debating pointing to bed once and for all.
Here’s my bottom line. I don’t give a tinker’s damn what anyone’s sexual orientation is. It just isn’t my affair and the only time I want to know anyone’s sexual orientation is if I am the one having sex with you. There is nothing more boring than other people’s sex lives. The only time a candidate’s sexual habits/orientations are an issue is if they concern children, animals, or a betrayal of trust. This speaks to character.
I am a mother of many, I love all my children, and their sexual orientation can in no way ever alter three facts: their sexual orientation is their business, gay or straight- I do not want or need to know details, and I love my children. I expect the Cheney’s feel the same, and if I was the Cheney parents, I too would be outraged, not that my daughter is a lesbian (a fact that seems to be lost in this issue is that being gay or lesbian reflects on a person’s sexual orientation and not character) but because the Kerry/Edward’s team feel that my child is "fair game." You do not like my politics or my ethics, go ahead and take your best shot at me; but there never is an open season on my children nor do other people’s children ever become "fair game."