Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Marilyn O'Grady: Senate Hopeful

I got a copy today of the Torch Tribune delivered to my house on Long Island. Never heard of it before, but apparently its the Conservative Party paper. It had an article about a Dr. O'Grady, who in my letter I accidentally called Ms. O'Grady (My apologies Dr.) The article was titled: "Schumer and Mills Are 'The Perfect Liberal Couple.'" Which led me to Dr. O'Grady's website.

Watching her ads, I was struck by their increasingly hysterical tone as she took more extreme views. From her first ad attacking Senator Schumer for an "anti-Catholic bias" which, although perhaps unfair, was muted and considering the awkward ways in which Senator Schumer talked about his opposition to Catholic anti-abortion candidates understandable, to her screed on immigration, and finally, in a seeminly desperate attempt to get media attention her wedding cake ad portraying the Republican and Democratic candidates as a homosexual couple. I do not see what possible purpose this woman might have in airing this image if not to inflame those homophobic people who make up a portion of our community.

Here is the letter I sent her today, and am now waiting (though not holding my breath) for a response.

Ms. O'Grady,

I commend you for deciding to enter the race for NY Senate because you saw too little difference between the Republican and Democratic candidates. Encouraging real political dialogue is a valuable goal that too often is overlooked.

I did not know who you were until I received a mailing from the Torch Tribune at my home in Suffolk. Reading through the sheet, I read for the first time about your gay-baiting attack on Schumer and Mills. I was disgusted as a Catholic and as an American by the tactics you decided to employ to achieve your "conservative" ends. It is one thing to oppose gay marriage. I do not think that a secular government such as ours should, but I can understand and appreciate this view. However, your ad blatantly tried to use imagery of homosexuality to inflame those lesser beasts of human nature, those of paranoia and of bigotry. This is not consistent with either Catholic or American ideals, although both have often been used to justify such acts.

Ms. O'Grady, I do not understand what you are trying to accomplish with ads such as this if you are not attempting to appeal to what I think we all agree are the baser emotions. This seems to be the basic of your tactics on immigration as well. I agree it is important to protect our borders and stop illegal immigration, but your tactics are merely scare tactics, like the nightly news programs that attempt to get people to watch saying, "Look, your children's lives are in immediate danger!" Terrorism is a serious problem--it is central to the struggle my and your generation faces as we confront the future. But scare tactics are not the answer.

The only positive thing I can say I see about your candidacy is that you have such low support in the polls, it makes me appreciate New York. Republicans in other states have taken your tactics of fear-mongering about immigration and gay marriage to the next level and some are succeeding in moving up in the polls! By comparison you have been rather tame. I guess when I see filth in my home state, it makes me angrier than if I see it somewhere half-distant, like Alabama or Louisiana.

My question then is this: given all that I have written, do you deny that the ad attacking Schumer and Mills was inappropriate? If so, what justification do you have for portraying them as a gay couple? That is, what purpose other than to inflame those who are bigots among us. I assume that you are not one, because I always try to look on the positive side of people. But why? From where I sit, your campaign is a disgrace to our state. Not because of your opinions, but because
of the tactics you have used to express them.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this issue.

Joe Campbell
Islip, NY

A side note: you claim be the only candidate in the race who supports the president on the issues of abortion and civil unions. The president has said that he supports civil unions. Will you now release an ad of the President and Mr. Cheney atop a wedding cake?

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