Tag Archives: Nebraska

Hero of the Week Award: August 24, Bob Kerrey

24 Aug

Hero of the Week

In light of some of the awful excuses for humanity who are running for the Senate this year, it’s a pleasure to celebrate a quiet, determined hero who hopes to recapture his Senate seat. Bob Kerrey was Senator from Nebraska from 1989 to 2001. A centrist on many issues from a bright red state, he’s an unlikely champion for gay rights. Nonetheless, he has been a staunch supporter of LGBT equality throughout his career. He was one of only 14 Senators to vote against DOMA in 1996 and one of the few who truly risked his re-election by doing so.

Kerrey retired from politics in 2001. When Sen. Ben Nelson (who won Kerrey’s old seat) announced his retirement this year, Kerrey decided to use his statewide reputation and clout to return to the Senate and hold the seat for the Democrats. With his success far from certain, it might make sense for him to at least keep his pro-gay opinions to himself while campaigning. But he doesn’t. Not only that, he usually brings up the issue himself. Kerrey was recently profiled in the New York Times for his steadfast support.

He brings up gay marriage anyway. Not every day, but on many of them. Not in response to voters’ questions, but at the prodding of his own conscience. I got the feeling that his advisers would like him to stop — and that he knows he’d probably be wise to. But here’s the thing: he’s 68. This race to reclaim [his] Senate seat … could be his last. And if he’s going to go down, he told me, he wants to go down fighting for what’s right and for what he truly believes. That means making a pitch for gay marriage.

“What I usually say is, ‘Let me talk to you about the issue of homosexuality,’ ” Kerrey said over a drink here Saturday night. And then he indeed talks to voters about it, telling them that people are born the way they are and deserve a full complement of civil rights, including the right to marry. It’s that simple. “People who are opposed to it are going to have to be explaining to their grandkids: why, why, why was that the rationale?” he said. “We’re going to be embarrassed in 25 years.”

What delightful insight, courage, and integrity. Let’s hope this unassuming champion is rewarded with a return to the Senate and a chance to help keep moving gay rights forward. With the party platform finally conforming to his vision, this could be his year.

That Whacky Draconian Tea Party…

22 Mar

What madcaps!

The overwhelmingly misogynistic and overall misanthropic Tea Party is proving far more sadistic than I would have thought possible in 21st Century America. While I’m sure most Americans, when not consumed with the life of Charlie Sheen, are aware of the anti-woman and anti-choice legislation currently being introduced.  But now we have people like Mark Christensen (R-NE) going so far as to introduce a bill to legitimize the murder of abortion providers by classifying such homicides as “justified.”

But wait! It gets worse. The Georgia Legislature is creating a regressive sales tax on food that would then finance a brand new corporate tax cut–makes great sense to protect corporate profits in a time of increasing homelessness and poverty! Speaking of Corporate America: Scott Walker went so far as to statutorily bar  workers from ever again collectively bargaining.

But wait! It gets worse.  Sen. Jane Cunningham (R-MO) has proposed to eliminate child labor laws that would allow corporations to employ any kid under 14 and would terminate restrictions on the number of hours that kid can be forced to work. How nice of the Tea Party to bring us back to the 1850s.

Is America paying attention? The Tea Party is moving a national conversation of governance so far to the right, that the center has now been obliterated. Click here to read about even more legislation that is sick, twisted, and does nothing to help, protect, or defend the American people.

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