Gay Rights, Planned Parenthood On Agenda At Democratic National Convention

Next month the Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Democratic delegates will nominate President Barack Obama for their candidate. Such events are not just about nominating a candidate, though, but an overall PR blitz for their party’s values.

Politico has seen drafts (“a starting point”) of convention-planning documents describing the DNC’s alleged plans, most notable of which will include pairs of individuals discussing Obama’s policies in comparison to Mitt Romney’s. But it is the precise people they suggest that leaves a slightly bad taste in my mouth. Instead of a gay couple — the documents explicitly say “not a gay couple” — one pair will be a “parent and a gay son or daughter.” Another pair, who will discuss Planned Parenthood, will be a “husband who talks about how a Pap smear saved his wife’s life,” as well as his spouse.

Why does it have to be a parent talking about a child? Why does it have to be a husband talking about his wife? Not that standing up for your loved one is a bad thing, of course. And I understand that family connections in these so-called “controversial” stories tug at the emotional heartstrings and that may get through to some people who are unable to make those empathetic connections on their own. I also understand how it’s not especially politically savvy of the Dems to have a woman go onstage and tell everyone about how her abortion at Planned Parenthood was the best decision she ever made in her life (regardless of what my personal belief about that situation would be, which would be “kick ass!”).

All that being said, why can’t a gay couple speak for themselves about how they deserve to marry each other? Why can’t a woman speak for herself about how Planned Parenthood’s services helped her? The Dems approach seems half-assed to me. Why does the straight parent have “cover” (so to speak) the kid and the husband have to “cover” the wife? Why can’t we just value what the gay person or the woman has to say on their own merit?

Anyway, I’m probably over-thinking it. I don’t mean to trash this as a horrible idea. I’m proud the Dems will speak up in some way for gay rights and women’s reproductive rights; I’m just not confident, reading about these initial drafts, that it will be big, loud, bombastic and strong. A friend of mine and I were chatting about this convention hoopla and she referred to it all as “political theater,” which is of course true. It’s just frustrating when it is real people’s lives we are talking about. [Politico]

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[Photo: Getty]