I’ve always hated rhetorical questions, but then politics is full of rhetoric. Mike Michaud’s rhetorical question is “Yes I am gay. But why should it matter?”
I want to live in a world where it doesn’t matter, Mr. Michaud. I want to live in a society in which homophobia is an embarrassing footnote in our nation’s history. I want to live in a world in which coming out would cause neither an increase nor decrease in the votes you’ll receive.
The truth is we’re not there yet. That your declaration is front page news and will be discussed throughout the state and nation is proof that we’re a long way from being free of the hate and fear that is homophobia.
To me and mine, you being gay is no more or less significant than the color of your eyes. It’s simply part of who you are and therefore worthy of being celebrated.
I celebrate your integrity and your character. I celebrate that you’re a leader and as you well know, leading is often not so much a matter of what a person does – it is an extension of who they are.
I celebrate you coming out. I bemoan that it was politically necessary for you to do so. I’m heartened that you’ve opened doors for others and saddened to know that some doors will now be closed to you.
Far wiser folks than I have speculated that great leaders and great men are a product of their eras. The era that you find yourself in is a powerful combination of contradiction. Never has Maine held more potential and yet we remain a mess – economically & socially.
I look forward to these headlines passing. I want to hear from you about Addiction and Mental Health treatment. I want to hear more on solutions to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. I want to talk about retaining and drawing young people to Maine.
Everything you say and do matters, Mr. Michaud because who you are is a leader.