Pedophilia, gay soldiers and office politics
by Kelvin Wade
On Tuesday, November 29, 2011, I was startled to read an opinion piece in my paper, the Fairfield Daily Republic, by right wing firebrand Bud Stevenson entitled, “Pedophilia may soon be big issue in military.” I thought he was talking about some scandal like the one at Penn State involving the U.S. military that I hadn’t heard about.
No. Mr. Stevenson was saying that because gays would be allowed to openly serve in the military that the risk of pedophilia was sure to increase. It was the kind of perverse homophobia that one thought went out in the 70’s with Anita Bryant and only lived today in the perverted minds of the Westboro Baptist Church.
I was aghast that my editor ran the column. I wondered if someone wrote a column about watermelon-eating blacks being lazy and violence-prone or a column about penny-pinching Jews running the world’s banking system, if the Daily Republic would have ran it.
My first thought was to scrap the column I had been working on and write a rebuttal to Stevenson’s garbage. But I couldn’t. In years past I’d written veiled rebuttals to his inane columns but never mentioned him by name. This infuriated Bud and he complained to our editor. The editor told me if I wanted to respond to Bud’s columns to mention him by name.
So earlier this year, Bud Stevenson wrote a column on MLK Day trashing Martin Luther King as a womanizer and plagiarist. This came on the heels of a column he wrote on the anniversary of the JFK assassination the year before trashing the Kennedy family. It was galling to me that he used a grim anniversary to spew his venom.
I wrote a response to Stevenson’s King column and mentioned him by name. Readers loved it.
Bud went to our editor and cried foul. I received a new memo: NO MORE WRITING ABOUT OTHER COLUMNISTS.
So this past week, I didn’t know what to do. I knew I couldn’t respond to Bud’s smear of gay soldiers in my column. But I couldn’t stay silent. I fired off a personal blog refuting Bud’s claims. The blog was well received.
But it wasn’t enough for me. I couldn’t just write a newspaper column and act like it’s business as usual. So I crafted a column that neither mentioned Bud Stevenson by name or his topic. I wrote about the amazing story of a Fairfield resident named Anthony Woods. While I didn’t mention Bud or his column on pedophilia, the message was clear.
Rainbow warriors are an asset to our military. A soldier is a soldier is a soldier.
If someone wants to wear the uniform of a our country and defend our way of life so I can continue to enjoy the freedoms of the United States, who am I to question their character by questioning their sexuality? How could we have ever thought this was right?
Sorry for the self-indulgent column this week. But I’m ashamed that my paper ran that narrow-minded, factually incorrect column by my colleague. And I resented a management that would allow that nonsense but prohibit me from responding directly to it. And I know I’m biting the hand that feeds me here.
Writing a column in a newspaper and writing for an organization like iPinion is a privilege. One develops a following based not only on their writing but their integrity. And I’m not in the garbage business.
You can find Bud Stevenson’s column at http://www.dailyrepublic.com/opinion/localopinioncolumnists/pedophilia-may-soon-be-big-issue-in-military/
You can read my column and my blog response at: http://othersidecolumn.blogspot.com/