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?

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Comments

3 Responses to “A parenting perspective from an American hero”

  1. Mary says:

    Thank you for sharing the video and story. I read about Keith Bardwell and was appalled. He denies racism, yet he is ignorant to the fact that his reasoning truly defines racism. Who is he to say who can and cannot marry? I realize that gay marriages aren’t fully accepted in all states; however, interracial marriage hasn’t been an issue for a long time – at least legally, that is. I am the product of interracial marriage and my children, to some degree, are also the product of interracial marriage. My mother was from the Philippines. My father is from the U.S. and is white. I don’t ever recall being made fun of because of my mixed heritage. Keith Bardwell must be in denial to not see what our society is at currently. Besides, just because he believes it to be too hard on the children being interracial, doesn’t mean it is up to him to stop the children from being created. If a child were to face any discrimination issues, it is up to the parents to help him or her overcome those issues.
    As for Philip Spooner, I applaud him. In my experience, the people with the most bigotry are those from older generations. They lived in a time where bigotry wasn’t really considered bigotry. For Mr. Spooner to be accepting not only of his own son who is gay but all gays to have the right to marry is absolutely amazing.

    October 21st, 2009 at 6:12 am

  2. AJ says:

    Dang, I write all that and then someone comes up with a simpler message.

    Let’s squish our fruits together.
    http://improveverywhere.com/2009/10/20/grocery-store-musical/

    October 21st, 2009 at 11:37 am

  3. Mary says:

    Funny video (the fruit one, that is)! Cool site, too. I checked out some of their other work and some of it was just too funny!

    October 21st, 2009 at 8:43 pm

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