Wow. If this is "damage control", I'd hate to see him stick his foot in his mouth!
State Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley Minnesota, is answering those who are asking him about his statement that he will not vote for the Marriage and Family Protection Act, a bill that would make Minnesota's marriage laws gender-neutral, allowing same-sex couples many of the rights currently denied by Minnesota statute.
And let's just say the response is a little... odd, to say the least. And angry. And mean. And rude. And not going to help with his image problems...
The angry missive is apparently a form letter fired off by his Legislative Assistant to everyone who emailed. It basically attacks anyone who is "wasting the senator's time" with their concerns about his vote and hides behind a weak "it's the will of his constituents" argument. You know, because leaders shouldn't lead or do the right thing- just bend to the mob mentality of small minds.
Read the entire email response after the jump...
My name is Ken Swecker, Senator Koering's Legislative Assistant. Senator Koering and I both would like to respond to the e-mails we've been receiving regarding his intention to not vote in favor of Senate File 120. I am currently responding to the e-mails to give you the Senator's home phone number so that you might call him over the weekend and speak with him personally on the matter. This much he asked me to do.
To add to that, as a personal statement, is to say that SF 120 is something that the majority of the People of Senate District 12, the People that he was elected to represent, do not favor this piece of legislation. In case you have forgotten, we are a government of the People, by the People, and for the People. He was not elected serve his personal interests. I personally believe that instead of sending e-mails full of threats and hateful words you should take his example to heart and congratulate him on being a legislator who cares more about what the People of his district want than what he may want personally. You and I both know that this is a rare quality to find, and just because this is contrary to how you wish for him to vote, you must remember and respect he is here to represent the interests of his rural Minnesota constituents who voted him into office. As a constituent of his myself, I am happy to see him take non-personal votes on several issues. After all, I would not want another politician taking another vote that would serve his or her personal interests more so than the People's, would you?
I can testify all day long about how much Senator Koering cares for the People of Senate District 12. He ran three consecutive times, being defeated the first two, and why did he put himself through so much hard work? Do you think it was because he needed another job? Absolutely not! He did it because he believed he was the best person to serve the People that he calls neighbors, friends, and family. And especially now, in a time like this, we are being bogged down with this completely pointless issue. There are People in Morrison and Crow Wing Counties, and across the State who are losing their jobs, their homes, their insurance, and were you to ask them if this is an issue that should take one second of precedent over these conditions they're facing every day, do you believe, do you honestly believe that they would say to you, 'Yes, please, waste the time of the State Legislature with a piece of legislation that will not help, but in fact, overshadow the current situation we're living in? Please, waste their time with this piece of legislation while I tell my son and daughter that mom and dad aren't hungry tonight?'
I know very well that you will respond to this e-mail of mine with some probably quirky, snide, and very thoughtless comment that will make me out to be a bad person and threaten the Senator even more just as most of the absolutely tactless and disrespectful e-mails we've received have been written, but really, don't waste your time. We'll just put your e-mail where it belongs, in the trash.
The Senator's home number is
He's free on the weekends.
Very Sincerely, every word of it,
I hope you do not believe that this e-mail was written specific to the one that you sent, this is a blanket e-mail, being sent to everyone who has e-mailed us on this issue and I've already wasted too much time in responding to you. Good day.
Especially lovely is Mr Swecker's "PS"- don't feel special, this anger is just a form letter.
I also find it funny how the legislative assistant says we'll probably use this letter (and by we, I assume he means LGBTs? Media? Bloggers?) to "make him out to be a bad person". Actually, I think the letter, the tone, and the shoddy reasoning do that just fine.
I am amazed with the argument that the State Legislature can only handle one thing at a time (I especially love the use of kids asking their parents why they are hungry? Because gays can marry, of course!).
The basic idea that a leader can't vote for something that is right, or has to vote for the mob rule, is a flawed concept as well. While I wonder if Koering and Swecker have done any kind of polling of his constituents to see how they feel on this issue (or if they are simply using it a as a shield for their own biases), the issue is actually pointless. The assumption in that argument is that the LGBT community is not part of "of the people, for the people and by the people." Yes, everyone can have a fair shake, except us.
I could tear this email apart, line by line (which Projector Ray does a great job of over at The Stumbling Block, so check it out), but I think the tone and message of this email is clear.
So I hope Koering and his minions are happy in the choices they've made and in the tight little closet of homophobia they are sitting in. It's just sad he is trying to drag all of Minnesota in there with him.