News that would have given me great delight nine and half years ago is leaving me queasy and unsettled today: Bin Laden is dead, but so are 1500 US soldiers who fought in Afghanistan, and 4500 US soldiers in Iraq. I’ve been trying to uncover estimates on the numbers of civilians in those countries who have died from the War on Terror, but the process is giving me a headache that feels like I’ve had a spike drilled in the back of my skull. Each site I find has a different methodology, a different time frame, and a different number–though all are high. Let’s just round the civilian deaths up to “tens of thousands.” Do you feel queasy, too?
How about tearful? Heartbroken? At a complete and utter loss? These emotions and more surged through me in successive waves as I read a story in today’s MinnPost
about a local father testifying against the insanely awful Prop 8-style marriage amendment that’s about to be passed my home state’s legislature. This father, Jeff Wilfarht, speaks on behalf of his son, Cpl. Andrew Wilfarht, because Andrew cannot–he died serving in Afghanistan two months ago. Andrew was gay, a fact his father said bothered no one in his unit. Here’s the photo of Andrew that accompanied the story:
Today, instead of contemplating the death of the jerk who triggered this whole war in the first place, Jeff Wilfarht is hoping to testify in the Minnesota House Civil Affairs Committee to talk some sense into the legislators who think discrimination ought be be part of the constitution. Wilfarht shared with MinnPost’s Doug Grow the message he wants all legislators to hear, including the following:
Our son was gay. If you recoil from that, I will not attempt to persuade you otherwise. He nonetheless made the ultimate sacrifice–gay or not, he was your brother in arms. All soldiers regardless of sexuality bleed red.
Being gay, he was part of a minority group. Recall that as a Republic, our constitution is about keeping a majority from oppressing a minority.
The language of this amendment does not intend to enshrine a right….this language is exclusionary to a minority. That type of language should not, must not, be what soldiers die for, especially on foreign soil. Who would want to die for a document that excludes them categorically?
So I ask you, on behalf of a dead soldier, on behalf of a dead soldier’s father: will you join me in speaking up vocally and loudly about this matter?
My queasiness turned into tears that have abated, somewhat, since I’ve written this post. Today is not a happy day, people. But I know what will be:
The tireless activists of Join the Impact–Twin Cities
are organizing a march and rally on Sunday May 22 in solidarity with groups across the country to observe Harvey Milk Day
. Your truly, the Radical Housewife herself, will speak at the 2 pm rally on behalf of Minnesota NOW (officially) and parents like Jeff Wilfarht and me who love their children and want a better world for them (unofficially). PLEASE join us, either in Minneapolis or elsewhere, to speak up vocally and loudly for justice, and hopefully, peace.