I take strong exception to the sanctimonious finger-pointing in Bob McDonnell’s letter in the Nov. 7 JP Gazette regarding Sen. Dianne Wilkerson’s past supporters. Statements like “support for issues… such as minority rights, gay marriage and skating rinks do not make a leader” reflect a deep disdain for the everyday struggles of many people. They also reflect a shockingly reactionary take on what leadership is in our increasingly diverse world.
Perhaps Mr. McDonnell has never experienced the pain of discrimination. Unfortunately, many of his neighbors have. Despite the glibness with which he dismisses its significance, referring to “issues whose time is past due and which have already gained widespread support” (italics added), discrimination remains, as the recent victory of California’s Proposition 8 shows, front and center in our political life. While Mr. McDonnell may be so privileged that he need not bother, others struggle the best we can. Whatever else may be said of Sen. Wilkerson, she was one of the strongest voices in our state for equality. No one should ever apologize for supporting that quality of leadership in our elected officials.