In just one week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in cases challenging marriage as the union of one man and one woman. When I first moved to D.C. 17 years ago, the issue of whether to redefine marriage was not on the table. In fact, it wasn’t even in the room! Now, just as our nation begins to debate this important issue, the Supreme Court will determine whether states shall continue to have the right to define marriage. In what will most likely be a 5-4 decision with Justice Kennedy being the swing justice, same-sex marriage may be forced upon Americans.
This would be a terrible mistake, for our nation has not had sufficient time to weigh thoughtfully the implications of fundamentally altering marriage policy. Studies regarding children raised in same-sex households are still very much in their infancy and can therefore not refute the decades of research clearly showing that children fare best when being raised by their biological mother and father within the context of marriage. As Austin Nimocks of the Alliance for Defending Freedom wisely stated, the Supreme Court should not force another Roe v. Wade moment in which the Court imposes itself in an issue that is far from decided.
In recent days, high profile figures have publicly embraced same-sex marriage. Senator Rob Portman became the first Republican Senator to show his support, stating in a Columbus Dispatch commentary that his support for traditional marriage–rooted in his Christian faith–changed based upon his son’s coming out. “Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective: that of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love,” wrote Portman.
Just yesterday, Hillary Clinton, who is thought to be the leading Democratic presidential nominee for 2016, also endorsed same-sex marriage, stating in a Human Rights Campaign YouTube video that gays are “full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage…I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law.”
Over the weekend, Rob Bell, a pastor who made headlines recently by denying the existence of hell, told a San Francisco congregation, “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”
As President Obama has said, “People of good will and good faith” view this issue differently. We must keep this in mind when considering the implications of redefining marriage without bearing any malice toward the other side. What these public figures’ comments lead one to believe, however, is that if one doesn’t embrace same-sex marriage as a matter of public policy, one is unaccepting of gay men and women. That is far from the truth! While respecting everyone’s liberty, government rightly recognizes, protects and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for childbearing and childrearing. Promoting marriage does not ban any type of relationship: Adults are free to make choices about their relationships, and they do not need government sanction or license to do so. All Americans have the right to live as they choose, but no one has the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us.
This is also not about civil rights, as Clinton makes it out to be. Marriage should be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. Men and women–regardless of their race–can unite in marriage; and children need moms and dads–regardless of their race.
This is also not just a religious matter, as Senator Portman’s op-ed suggests. Though all major faiths respect marriage as the union of one man and one woman, social science strongly supports traditional marriage. Government has also recognized that marriage benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. It is society’s least restrictive means to ensure the well-being of children while respecting everyone’s liberty to form their own relationships.
Washington Post columnist George Will stated over the weekend that “opposition to gay marriage is literally dying.” If that’s the case–and I’m hopeful it’s not–then the people should be able to express that through the legislative process. So far, though, only nine states have moved to redefine marriage. Polls change as often as the weather. The only poll worth noting is the one that happens on election day.
Ironically, the Supreme Court will render its decision on marriage at the height of wedding season. May each justice allow for the crucial marriage debate to continue with no needless judicial interference.
I have to confess that I didn’t sleep well last night. Too many thoughts swirling in my head, too gaping a hole in my stomach. Not only was the Republican candidate for president, Mitt Romney, trounced, but Democrats won major races throughout the country–some were narrow victories, but victories nonetheless. In 2012, America decidedly voted for bigger government.
It’s too early to conclude what convinced Americans to continue on the path Obama started us down four years ago, but once again, the people decided through a free election process. Consequently, our legislature and executive branch will look almost identical to the one we’ve had the past four years.
I was tempted to write this short blog first thing this morning, but I chose the better thing–reading God’s Word. And I’m so glad I did. I desperately needed to be reminded of the sweet truth that God is always in control in spite of my feelings to the contrary. As such, there is never a time when I don’t have reason to praise Him, and so I do. I choose to worship my God and Savior right now at this very moment, with the recognition that He is all knowing and I am weak and frail and limited. It’s impossible for me to understand all that’s going on around me. But as I read this morning, I worship the same God who created all that we see, healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised Lazarus from the dead, and saved me from myself. As a friend wisely wrote yesterday, America’s messiah has come and we celebrate his “inauguration” in a little over a month.
I still plan to engage in conservative politics and in coming days I’ll have opinions about what happened last night. But on this morning after, I need to cast all of my anxiety and questions upon my Heavenly Father, knowing to the core of my being that He cares for me…He cares for you.
I was reminded by a friend yesterday just how long it has been since I wrote on this blog. I’ve had a good reason: the Cirmo family moved on Labor Day! Though we relocated a mere half mile away, we might as well have moved to Australia. The agony of total upheaval is never welcome, and I am just starting to feel like our house is a home. I’ve thanked God on an almost daily basis for our new place. We have more room. I have a patio on which to eat as a family al fresco. My parking space is ten steps away from our front door. But I have also gone deeper in my prayers, thanking the Lord for the freedom He has so graciously give all Americans to move..for whatever reason. We can move for work, for better schools, cheaper housing, or a fresh start. That’s not to say that there aren’t some who feel stuck in a bad neighborhood. And, unfortunately, homelessness remains a problem even for our relatively rich nation. However, for all its faults, America is still a hopeful place–a country in which a hard-working individual–regardless of his or her economic standing–can achieve what’s utterly impossible in other lands. My prayer is that the American dream will be preserved whatever the outcome of the upcoming presidential election.
Speaking of which…I have not been too buried in boxes to keep up with what’s going on in the political world. You’d have to shoot me for that to happen! It’s disconcerting to see the mainstream media attempt to skew the news in favor of President Obama. The fact is, friends, the race for the presidency is just about as tight as one can get. And as much as the pollsters will try to influence the election in one direction or another, bear in mind that your vote will have a huge influence on November 6. I urge you to register to vote this week if you haven’t already (otherwise, you’ll be too late!) and to educate yourselves on the candidates and their positions. Don’t just listen to the paid advertisements or the pundits. Take an hour or two and do some homework. A great start is watching the televised debates. The first one is tomorrow night (October 3). If you have cable, tune into CSPAN. It’s the only station that doesn’t have commentators telling you what to think. And if you happen to be working or otherwise occupied, DVR it. It’s that important.
Make your own judgments and conclusions about how the candidates do. Take notes. Look at both sides with an open mind. Think about Obama’s and Romney’s plans for America. And don’t just think about which one you like better. Think seriously about whether each plan is in sync with the vision set forth by our founding fathers. If so, then you may consider which you prefer. Additionally, as Washington Post contributor George Will wisely wrote recently, don’t get carried away by the personalities of the candidates. We shouldn’t be primarily motivated to vote for the candidate who would make the best dining companion. A president’s job is to uphold the Constitution not pass the salt.
I’m not the first–and I certainly won’t be the last–to say that there’s much riding on this election. It’s not an exaggeration to state that this is the most crucial election of my lifetime (and people twice my age have made the same statement!). Don’t be one of those people who either sits out this election or blindly casts a vote for the guy for which your friend is voting. It doesn’t have to take an earth-shattering event like a move to force you to reflect on America’s uniqueness. However, you will have set aside time to think about it. Write out a list; I guarantee you’ll be surprised how extensive your blessings are. And praise God, we have that freedom to ponder our lives, to make changes…to vote.
I’ll confess that documentaries usually make me want to take action. For example, after watching Waiting for Superman, I researched opening a charter school. After Supersize Me, I cut back on my consumption of McDonald’s (which isn’t saying much considering I go about twice a year!). Dinesh D’Souza’s 2016: Obama’s America has had a similar but more profound effect on me. As a patriotic and involved American citizen, I was already committed to vote, as I do in every election, big and small. However, I am now more devoted than ever to ensuring that the founders’ vision for our country is protected. Notwithstanding my conservative credentials, I would suggest that even a Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 would seriously reconsider voting for him this November after watching 2016. Why? Because the president doesn’t fit into either the Democratic or–surprise, surprise–the Republican mold. What is becoming increasingly apparent is that Obama is a closeted Socialist, following in the footsteps of his father who was a very proud one. I’m not one of those crazy conservatives who believes that all Democrats are essentially Socialists. I have many “Donkey” friends who are freedom-loving Americans whose concept of government is significantly bigger than mine, but who would never seek to dismantle the framework of our country. Socialism would, which is why it should be resisted by all Americans!
If we re-elect President Obama, his Socialism will come out of the closet. Let’s not forget what he told outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev when he thought his microphone was off, “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” Medvedev shook his head and responded, “I understand. I transmit this information to Vladimir.” Obama’s whispering this to Great Britain’s Cameron would take on a different meaning, but to a thug like Putin it takes on a particularly sinister tone.
It’s unfortunate that The Hollywood Reporter is describing this documentary as “anti-Obama.” What’s printed on the promotional poster is more accurate, “Love him, hate him: you don’t know him.” Obama fooled us once. Perhaps more accurately: the mainstream media allowed the Obama campaign to dictate the message. They were so in love with the idea of a black president that they disregarded the candidate’s baggage (his upbringing, Jeremiah Wright, Michelle Obama’s damning quote about being proud to be an American for the first time in her life…TWICE!). We have no excuse today, America. Deafening alarm bells are ringing all around us. To shove our fingers in our ears all the way to November will result in a further loss of liberty to ourselves and our progeny. It is no exaggeration to say that our country cannot take four more years of Obama. Democracy is at stake. Fool us twice, Obama: shame on us.
I have the perfect birthday present for President Obama: a copy of the classic “All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” My 6-year-old just graduated from kindergarten, and he will tell you it is not appropriate to use bad language ever, but especially when communicating in public. Yet, he’ll most likely see people sporting the newest offering from the Obama for America store: a T-shirt that crassly reads, “Health Reform Still a BFD” and wonder what “BFD” stands for. I will be forced to explain that the Obama campaign endorses the use of profane language, starting first with the tweet of Democratic National Committee Executive Director Patrick Gaspard who wrote moments after the SCOTUS health care decision, “It’s constitutional. Bit*hes.” Even more shocking: Thursday night President Obama tweeted, “Still a BFD” with a link to the aforementioned campaign shirt.
You may recall that back in 2010 during the Obamacare signing ceremony, Vice President Biden whispered to the president-without knowing his mic was hot–”This is a big f*cking deal.” Instead of doing everything he can to distance himself from his vice president’s foolish remark, Obama has chosen to embrace it and the DNC has followed suit. Unfortunately, the National Republican Campaign Committee responded to Obama’s tweet with “It’s a BFTax” when the GOP should have stayed above the fray completely. Fortunately, Mitt Romney’s campaign remained classy, responding, “Still not presidential. Kids, earmuffs.”
Let’s call this what it is: vulgar pandering for the youth vote. The 18-25 crowd and women are the key targets this election season, and both parties are scrambling to earn their support. Yet, the parties must be careful not to gain one at the loss of the other. As a woman (living in the swing state of Virginia) whose vote both sides desperately want, I am appalled by the devolution of communication by both sides–but particularly the Democrats–and I would advise a return to civility immediately. I am also amazed by the lack of coverage of Obama’s outrageous tweet. Only a handful of bloggers and newspapers covered the story. Do we not expect better behavior from our Commander-in-Chief? My kindergartner knows better.
As a little girl, I loved the movie “Grease.” The costumes were cool, the actors attractive, the songs memorable. And in the end, the girl ends up with the cute boy, trading in her modest poodle skirt for black skin-tight pants and a signature Pink Lady jacket. I danced and sang along with Olivia Newton John’s character as she drop-kicked her innocence in exchange for a membership in the cool club.
The “Grease” story, however, is not just the stuff of movies, but of real life. Though good girls turning bad has always been fodder for an E! Hollywood story, no such show was around in my youth. Therefore, with much more frequency and higher intensity, stars like Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus communicate to our children through their lives that to remain popular, one must shed one’s innocence. Being a virgin is winsome while you’re young, ridiculous past 18.
As I awaited the start of “Madagascar 3″ with my elementary-aged boys recently, a preview for a new Katy Perry biography called “Part of Me” was featured. I was floored by the way in which Perry is portrayed as a hero for young people. You see her expressing her love for Jesus as a young girl. Her first guitar is a gift from the church. “I sing from my heart,” a teenage Perry proclaims. A toddler boy in his daddy’s arms tells a modern-day Perry he wants to marry her. And then we see her on stage performing her only kid-friendly popular song “Firework.” All of the modern-day glimpses of Perry in the preview are tame. She really does seem like a model celebrity. What brilliant deceptive marketing tantamount to McDonald’s wrapping up their toxic food in a Happy Meal box. Yet, I can still smell the “grease.”
Interesting to note that I had a difficult time finding the “Part of Me” trailer to which my kids and I were subjected. The main trailer is much more upfront about the movie’s subject matter, showing a cleavage-baring, gyrating Perry performing tirelessly in front of sold-out crowds. No doubt she’s a talented young woman, but she’s no role model. In a recent YouGov poll, commissioned by Sing-a-long-a Grease, Katy Perry was the most popular choice for the role of Sandy in a possible remake of the 1978 movie. There would be very little acting involved and she’s definitely got the pipes to belt out “Hopelessly Devoted.” Surely, though, our society sees the erroneous premise of the “Grease” story. Just as Katy Perry’s marriage with Russell Brand dissolved, Sandy and Danny probably didn’t make it much past their 20s. The bad girl may get the boy, but not likely the committed, loving husband. We see this time and time again; yet, we continue to encourage bad behavior by downloading the latest album and buying concert tickets.
There’s just too much “Grease” in our diet, and we’re seeing the consequences in our failed relationships, our complacency with being born a certain way and our casual attitude toward sex. We need to start telling our children– with the help of pop culture– that dressing modestly attracts respect from the opposite gender. Saving sex for marriage results in happier longer-lasting unions. Avoiding profane foolish talk is a sign of intelligence. Being selective in the movies we watch, the music to which we listen and the games we play will help us to be more productive and edifying human beings. How many of us are ready to get healthy?
One learns in Communications 101 that the press at one time so respected the presidency that it wouldn’t photograph Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his wheelchair. The pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction today that every flaw a president or public figure has will be exposed and the subject of at least one Saturday Night Live skit. Not every imperfection can be hidden or photo-shopped. Most past indiscretions–even alleged bullying!–will be illuminated. However, with the 24/7 news cycle and 20-something bloggers constantly on the hunt for new material, it’s more important now than ever to watch what you say. So much so that as a public relations professional, I’m going to recommend that everyone follow a script when in public. I think it’s better for an individual to be judged as redundant or frigid than loose with his or her lips. Many of us have forgotten the wisdom of Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”
Yet, it’s not enough for us to write down our words before speaking. We must be sure the script is 100 percent accurate as well.
A case in point: Our teleprompter-loving president’s SCRIPTED gaffe earlier this week during which he referred to Nazi concentration camps as “Polish death camps.” Understandably, this not only made U.S. headlines, but front page news in Poland, too. The White House initially expressed regret, but upon the strong urging of the Polish president issued a written apology today. In part, it says, “In referring to ‘a Polish death camp’ rather than ‘a Nazi death camp in German-occupied Poland,’ I inadvertently used a phrase that has caused many Poles anguish over the years and that Poland has rightly campaigned to eliminate from public discourse around the world. I regret the error and agree that this moment is an opportunity to ensure that this and future generations know the truth.”
The White House did the right thing. However, as much as this Administration tries, it won’t be able to erase from history the words that were foolishly uttered.
Of course, this is just one example among many of public figures stumbling over their words. There’s Dan Quayle’s “potatoe” misspelling, George H.W. Bush’s misremembering the correct date of the Pearl Harbor attack, and more recently Mitt Romney’s “I like to fire people.” Some verbal misfires are funny, some more serious in nature. The fact remains: once spoken, it’s out there. That’s always been true, but the reality is amplified by the ubiquitous inescapable press presence today.
My advice to those in the spotlight or who aspire to be: Don’t be afraid to hold your tongue. It’s a sign of strength rather than weakness. If you must speak, choose your words wisely. Even when you’re going on an unscripted talk show, you can stick to talking points. Don’t let the host control the conversation. And remember, there are at least five Smartphones within striking distance of you at all times, and TMZ is always eager for new footage. The press doesn’t automatically respect you; you must earn it. Do so by guarding your mouth.