This past Tuesday, an ABC News report highlighted the testy exchange between Senator John McCain and William Sleaster, a Concord, New Hampshire high school student. The sixteen year old Sleaster, much to everyone's surprise, brought McCain to task over his steadfast belief in the "sanctity of marriage."
From one side of his mouth, McCain claimed that "discrimination in any form is unacceptable." Yet, in his reply to Sleaster over whether he supported civil unions or gay marriage, he stated, "I do not. I think that they impinge on the status and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman."
"So you believe in taking away someone's rights because you believe it's wrong?"
"I wouldn't put that interpretation on my position, but I do understand yours," McCain said.
This whole confrontation, as most anyone already knows, drew heated response from both sides of the ongoing struggle for equality. The greater majority of Americans, based on the comments I've been reading, seem to favor the stand young Sleaster took against the Senator. Others, who by no small coincidence embrace the conservative right, believe his "disrespectful" line of query stemmed from over-exposure to the "pro-homosexual agenda" supplied by the mass media. Casting aside that laughably immature presumption, I am at a sheer loss to see what is so disrespectful in questioning the beliefs and issues of a man running for President. We all, as living people, possess the right to inquire and the fact that such valid points of discussion were raised by a high schooler is totally irrelevant. As an American citizen who happens to represent the next generation of voters, Mr. Sleaster is no less deserving of an opinion than anyone else.
What I take specific issue with are those who, for entirely bogus reasons, vehemently disagree with that assessment. These are individuals who endorse the preposterous notion that granting equal rights to all somehow promotes anarchy, and that it is the "Utopian Socialist Hippies" like me who are corrupting this country and molding it into one big Do-What-You-Want Woodstock. This insane commentary actually comprised the opinion of somebody who posted his own take on this story when it initially unfolded. He went on to say that "homosexuality, like prostitution, drug abuse, murder, rape and various other social cancers has and always will be with us." That biased mindset there, my friends, specifically demonstrates why this nation is so embarrassingly behind in direct relation to civil rights. If a sixteen year old high school student can see this, why can't McCain or any other double-speaking politician? Discrimination is discrimination. There really is no two ways about it. William Sleaster called McCain out on that truth and, for that sole reason, he should be commended.