I can only assume that the letter from Mr. Oliverius was published on Sunday in honor of Father’s Day. I say “only assume,” because I truly don’t understand the rationale behind the letter, or behind the paper’s decision to publish it.
But in the same vein of honoring fathers, I’d like to share some things about my own father, the man who first taught me about protecting others.
My father understands that it is not only incorrect but also dangerous and cruel to equate the LGBTQ community or Planned Parenthood with the evils of white nationalism. He understands that, in fact, the LGBTQ community and reproductive rights are both in dire need of protection as we speak, while white nationalists adopt the language of “protection” and prey on fear to scare and alienate marginalized people.
My father understands that the Constitution doesn’t mention God, because the First Amendment explicitly protects the ability of people in the U.S. to believe in whomever and whatever they wish as a higher power. He understands that it isn’t necessary to have “awe” of anyone to be a good person.
My father understands the difference between selfishness and care of self, and understands that advocating for your own human rights is not the same thing as being selfish.
My father understands that protecting the rights of women, people of color, and LGBTQ people does not mean that you are “taking away” the rights of anyone else, because that’s not how human rights work.
My father understands that “family” means many things, that not all families have fathers, and that families without fathers are not lesser. He understands that it is the role of everyone in the family to protect everyone else, and that this responsibility was not given by God, but undertaken willingly by each family member who makes a choice to be part of a community.
My father understands that the core of our problems as a society are hate and fear, and that the solutions to that are in love, communication, and empathy, not chastising lectures about respecting authority.