There’s a clip at Connemara in Flat Rock, NC of Carl Sandburg. In it, he says his least favorite word is “exclusive.” He draws it out – expressing his disgust in syllables: exxx-clue-siiiive. I really wish it was on YouTube, because I can hear how he says it and it resonates with me. My parents took me to Connemara all the time – perhaps I can point to that video as the starting moment of my progressive beliefs.
I was raised in the South, where almost everything has to do with race. I learned about the Civil Rights Movement and fell in love with the beauty of Americans believing that all Americans deserved equality under the law. Being a debater and avid YIG kid, I believed my generation’s fight was not to dismantle the separate-but-equal doctrine, but to fight for the rights of the GLBT community. I’ve never thought being gay was a choice, and even if it was – did it really matter?
There are a lot of things parenthood has changed for me – I’m empathetic to things that I never really considered. I am defensive of my daughter’s rights, her abilities, her chances. I want her to have not just what I have, but more. More. So. Much. More.
Why do I support the rights of every American to marry? Because of her. Why do I support the rights of every American to adopt? Because of her. Why do I believe we are all created equal? Because of her. (It’s the same reason I’m brushing my teeth for two full renditions of “Brush Away Tooth Decay” and also floss.)
I wish I could find the quote – I think it’s from a Mary Doria Russell book – about how parents should be the leaders of the world because we see the past through our eyes and the future through the eyes of our children. We try to protect, fiercely at times, our kids’ future happiness. I believe in equal rights. I believed in it before I got pregnant, but I believe in it even more now.
This is why: it’s for her.