My friend Courtney recently described me as an activist, and I was planning to write back to her and tell her that I'm not really an activist, because I'm not a flag waver and I don't put bumper stickers on my car and when I show up to marches and protests I stand in the back. Activists are the kind of people who write letters and yell into bullhorns and wave signs, and that's totally not me.
Instead of writing that note back to Courtney that I'm not an activist, I ended up writing a letter to the Tennessee Republican Party in Nashville in response to some unwanted Stacey Campfield mail that I received this week. In the same way that people don't want prisons, toxic waste dumps, or nuclear power plants in their backyards, I don't want Stacey Campfield's smiling face in my mailbox, so I put together a little care package that I'm mailing back to them:
I'm sure that my letter, handwritten on one of my "Thanks for Nothing" notes (doesn't everyone have a box of passive aggressive bitch notecards?), will end up in a crank file, or tacked to a bulletin board where the interns walk by and laugh at it, but I think it's important to speak up against candidates with anti-LGBT track records, even if all you're doing is asking them not to send you any more of their crap. They may snicker and roll their eyes, but someone, somewhere in that office may read it and think for a minute about the kind of people they're helping to elect, and the kind of environment that those people will create.
Here's the letter I sent. I'll type it out after the pictures, in case you don't want to read my scrawling left-handed writing.
Dear Tennessee Republican Party,
Please accept the return of the enclosed Stacey Campfield campaign materials, which I found in my mailbox today. Although I am a registered Democrat, I do read and try to inform myself about the candidates, but in this particular case I am already well aware that a vote for Stacey Campfield is a vote for open bigotry, and a vote against LGBT people in the state of Tennessee. While I sometimes cross party lines in the voting booth, I will never hate myself and my community enough to do so in this case.
Your candidate has twice attempted to advance his "don't say gay" bill, outlawing any discussion of LGBT topics under any circumstances in Tennessee schools. This sort of legislation is not the hallmark of the "smaller, smarter government" described on your flyer. In March of this year, Stacey Campfield also spoke out against the OutReach LGBTA Resource Center that opened on the UT campus, saying that funding should not go toward "special groups" who did not have a real need. While the recent wave of LGBT teen suicides would seem to disprove his point, he has not retracted his statements. This speaks to the kind of human being that he is and the values that he supports.
In short, I'm saying that I'm gay and I vote, but I will not vote for Stacey Campfield. Please save your party some printing and postage, and mail these to people who agree with Campfield's platform of bigotry and dehumanization.