Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
A parenting perspective from an American hero
Here’s a viewpoint from Philip Spooner, an 86-year-old father of four, decorated war veteran, VFW chaplain and life-long Republican living in Maine. And yes, he speaks of a parenting issue.
Spooner asks at a pivotal moment, “What do you think I voted for at Omaha Beach?”
“My wife and I did not raise four sons with the idea that three of them would have a certain set of rights, but our gay child would be left out. We raised all of them to be hard working, proud and loyal Americans, and they all did good.” –Philip Spooner.
You probably heard the recent news story about an interracial couple being denied a marriage license in Louisiana. Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace, insists he’s not racist just because he thinks children would “suffer” being raised by such parents in a society that won’t accept them.
I have a problem with that, not just because I’m white and my wife is black, or that the judge’s racism is flagrant, or that his view of society is pretty twisted. I wonder if he understands his place in history.
Does he not understand in what direction society is heading? People no longer accept bigotry. They don’t accept a caste system as being just the way things are. People want equality.
Those who fight the future lose. Interracial marriages will eventually become commonplace. Gay marriages will eventually become commonplace. Short of genocide, this is the future facing our children, or at worst, our children’s children.
At stake is Keith Bardwell’s legacy. His place in history is now cemented. I can’t speak for his current relatives, but his future descendants will surely look back, see who he was, and be ashamed.
His descendants won’t be able to say, “Oh, back then everyone thought that way.” Racial bigotry, like gay bigotry, exists now at a time when people have a choice. We have been exposed to the idea of equality for all people. We decide whether we will be remembered as small, close-minded bigots or accepting, loving people. It matters not just for our personal legacies, but for our children’s future.
Don’t saddle your kids with hateful baggage that they must overcome, only to look back upon you in their later years with jaded glasses.
For his part, Philip Spooner will be remembered as a father before his time. That’s all we really leave behind when we die, memories. How will you be remembered?