Guest commentary by Robert Kellogg
I appreciate and can understand editor Matt Comer’s views as expressed in his Nov. 12 Editor’s Note, “Understanding the context: Reaction to Forrester’s death not ‘politics,’ it’s personal” (goqnotes.com/13272/). However, I wish he had called on me to clarify my comment or at least ask why I had called on people to be thankful for his service.
There is not a single person in Gaston County who has fought harder to expose the bigoted words and actions of Sen. Forrester. I continually stood up when others were seated and spoke out when there was silence.
I realize it is easy to question why an openly gay man who happens to be the chairman of the Gaston County Democratic party would ask others to be thankful of the deceased senator’s service, but had anyone asked, I could have explained.
I am still open to explaining why I said what I said and why I still feel that it is to our detriment as a community to bash the deceased senator’s name.
If we want to turn him into a martyr and hasten the passing of this amendment, then by all means continue to be grateful for his passing and step on the dead man’s grave. If we also want to give the opposition a side show and reason to point at us and show how unforgiving and callous we are, then continue to berate the man.
I tend to think that we as a community will score more points, win over more hearts and minds and win more votes in favor of our equality when we rise above the un-Christian finger pointing and name calling that we are so eager to clamor about when it is pointed toward us.
With that said, we do not need to sugar coat his legacy, time will tell it like it is. However, we do owe his family a little bit of time before we rake him over the coals.
Yes, he was bigoted. Yes, he spread misinformation. Yes, he was gunning to rid North Carolina of the LGBT community; but this is our chance to show that we as human beings, we as a community, we as people and citizens of this state are compassionate and understanding — even when it is not shown to us.
I would also appreciate it if my words would not be misquoted. The Gaston Gazette quote, without paraphrasing is the following, “‘It is no secret that his politics and my politics did not always agree,’ said Kellogg. ‘But I did respect the man for his service to our state and I think all Gaston residents should be thankful for his service to this state. I wish condolences to his family and to his wife.’”
If we as a community and if I as an activist have to forfeit our/my humanity and Christian love for one another in order to win equality then we have gained nothing in the end and are no better than those we seek to expose on the opposing side for their Christian hypocrisy and bigoted views.
I do not take back my initial statement and stand by my belief that we get back what we put out and we reap what we sew.
This is not about scoring a political point, making a statement or striking while the iron is hot. This is about human behavior and common decency. Just because the senator refused to see me as an equal or acknowledge my right to be the man I was created to be, it does not mean I have to return the bitterness by dancing on his grave.
I refuse to perpetuate the cycle and ask all in the LGBT community to join me in fighting bigotry without stooping to the level of those we are trying to enlighten.
If anyone in the LGBT community would like to discuss the issues at hand or ask a question of me, please contact me. I will be more than willing to listen without judging and to work together to bring about tolerance and equality. Thank you. : :
— Robert Kellogg is chairman of the Gaston County Democratic Party. This guest commentary was originally published on Nov. 14 as a comment at goqnotes.com.