Friday, March 04, 2005

Speaking with the White House Switchboard

I called the White House comment line yesterday. After maneuvering through the phone tree to reach the White House Comment Line, I was greeted by a kindly lady who stated her name and asked me what message I wished to leave with President Bush. I calmly told her my name and that I was calling from Durham, North Carolina, because of the beating that had taken place in Chapel Hill over the weekend. I asked her then if she had heard of the hate crime beating. She said she had not.

I took a few minutes to recount the story of how a UNC student was chased down by a gang of six or seven men on Franklin Street and then beaten at the busiest street corner of the town. I told her that the insidious part of this crime is that there was no evidence that the men knew the victim or could have known that he was gay. So, in effect, they could have beaten me, her or anyone else for that matter. I then told her that I find our world is in a sad place when people will chase you down because they simply think you are a member of a group and that they will beat you until you are unconscious and leave you there.

I then told her that I was calling to appeal to our President to please tone down his own anti-gay rhetoric. I stated that by standing before the world and scapegoating gay and lesbian citizens, our President is setting a tone in this country where gay and lesbian citizens are…and she finished my sentence "….subjected to violence." I said "Yes ma’am. Exactly!"

This sweet little woman then promised me that she would pass the message along to the President. Let us hope that he reads it and will change his approach to the LGBTQ communities of this country. If he isn’t able to understand the impact of his actions, at least the sweet little ladies who answer his phones understand the consequences of his words.

You can call too: 1-202-456-1111.

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