This past week I've been told, either directly or otherwise, that the personal lives of politicians and their families should be off limits, that politics shouldn't get personal.
Really? Politics shouldn't get personal? Really?
Because, leaving aside the fact that I'm not a politician, I'm not a political activist and I don't pretend to speak for any political group—I'm just a citizen of the state of Idaho, on November 7, 2006, politics became really personal for me.
Just over a year ago you, the people of Idaho at the behest of a few politicians and people like Steven Thayn, told me and my family that, not only were we not good enough, we were so not good enough that the Idaho Constitution should be changed to reflect the fact that we would never be good enough.
And why? Was is because we didn't pay enough income tax, property tax, mosquito tax, gas tax, school tax, sales tax or gopher tax? Was it because we didn't work hard enough, sacrifice enough, contribute enough, or keep our yard clean enough? Was it because fifteen years of committed monogamy wasn't enough or eight years of honorable military service wasn't enough or forty-two years of loving this state wasn't enough?
No. The thing that made us not good enough was that you thought my family didn't look like an Idaho family ought to look.
I'd say that's getting a little personal.
And what had I done to prevent that from happening? Nothing. Well, I wrote a few letters and emails and I complained a little. But essentially, I did nothing. While you were telling my family that we would never be good enough, I was silent.
November 8, 2006, I vowed never again.
Never again will I sit quietly by while some of you try to tell thousands of Idaho families that they're not good enough. I won't be silent while you suggest that law-abiding, hard-working individuals are to blame for society's ills because they have made different decisions than you would make about what is best for their own lives. I was silent when you did it to me and my family, but I will not be silent while you do it to others. Last I checked there was only one Arbiter of Virtue, and it wasn't Steven Thayn, the Family Task Force, the state of Idaho nor anyone in it.
I don't take any personal satisfaction in making your skeletons public—I would much rather devote my time and energy to my family, my home and my business—and rest assured: you will always get more respect here than you've given me. But I will stand on my little soapbox with my little megaphone and I will expose your hypocrisy wherever it may be for as long as it's necessary. If you are among those trying to tell others how to live their lives while harboring your own skeletons, then yeah, it may seem a little personal and if you can't take the heat, get out of my kitchen, my family room and my bedroom.
Politics shouldn't get personal? Oh, but it already is. When someone tells me that my family will never be good enough, I tend to take that personally. This time I won't be silent.