April 23, 2003

Hey, how about three cheers for Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.)?

Earlier today he took a strong and principled stand against the bigoted, ignorant, hateful, and disturbed remarks by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) about gay people and their relationships.

Now, as it happens, Gov. Dean, like former senator Gary Hart, is a blogger, a member of a higher species, if you will. And at his site today, Gov. Dean wrote an important piece in response to the ridiculous comments coming from the mouth of Pennsylvania's most junior senator, Rick Santorum (R):

I am outraged by Senator Santorum’s remarks.

That a leader of the Republican Party would make such insensitive and divisive comments -- comments that are derogatory and meant to harm an entire group of Americans, their friends and their families -- is not only outrageous, but deeply offensive.

The silence with which President George W. Bush and the Republican Party leadership have greeted Sen. Santorum’s remarks is deafening. It is the same silence that greeted Senator Trent Lott’s offensive remarks in December. It is a silence that implicitly condones a policy of domestic divisiveness, a policy that seeks to divide Americans again and again on the basis of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.

It is a policy that must end, and it is a policy that will end with a Dean Presidency. This Saturday, April 26th, marks the third anniversary of the signing of the Civil Unions bill in Vermont. I signed that bill because I believe no human being should be treated with less dignity than others simply because that person belongs to a different category or group. I also believe that, as Americans, it is our duty to speak up when others are treated wrongly -- especially when others are treated wrongly by a member of the Senate leadership.

I urge all Americans, and members of both parties, to join me in condemning Sen. Santorum’s remarks. They are unacceptable, and silence is an unacceptable response. By standing up against such divisive rhetoric -- whether one is gay, lesbian, or straight -- we can begin to achieve the American ideal of equal rights for all people.

Not only is that statement gratifying, even amazing, get this: Gov. Dean is coming to Philadelphia! How often does that happen? I mean, someone important coming to Philadelphia? (Okay, I realize President George W. Bush was just here, but that was sort of a cameo, photo-opportunity thing.)

Gov. Dean will be in town for a fundraiser on Sunday, May 4, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Mixto, 1141 Pine St. (The requested contribution is a mere $50.) Afterwards, he will be walking the streets of Philadelphia for a "meet and greet."

For those of you in town that day, come and meet, or at least keep an eye out for, this most honorable gentleman, the event organized by Philadelphians for Dean.

[Note: This post, previously published at The Rittenhouse Review, is not necessarily an endorsement of Gov. Dean's campaign for the presidency.]


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