An Open Letter to Governor Jan Brewer:

BootsWhile we road-tripped through your great Grand Canyon State last week, I worked with my daughter on her rocks project for school. With all that red rock and limestone all around us, she and I were charged with delving into the architecture of the Jefferson Memorial—a grand and important monument made solidly of Georgia marble and limestone and built in the image of the Pantheon of Rome. Things a third grader knows.

We also learned about the words inscribed in the dome and on the walls of this wide, open-to-the-public structure. And so very much was evident. Self-evident if you will. And yes, I know. We all know that Jefferson wrote those gorgeous words, but perhaps didn’t mean them just that way. But, to my nearly 9-year-old daughter, there is no context for their meaning. They mean what they mean.

Things like:

“I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man…”

So, what is tyranny? A question easy to answer with examples from other perilous times—The Holocaust, Slavery, etc. But I didn’t use those examples. I used the current one. Yours. Your state. A state my mother lived in for a long while, attracted to its ambiance, its seeming closeness to God. It does really feel spiritual there.

And the thing is, I so wanted to post pictures of our trip to your state the minute I returned home. I wanted to show my friends and family my kids smiling faces and their fake-falling-into the-Grand-Canyon poses.  I wanted to advertise the exceptional Pink Jeep Tour we took in Sedona at sunset. It was so mind-blowingly beautiful. It raised my depressed, wintered-out Northeastern spirits right up to the pink and purple sky, I swear. And every last person we met, well they were so kind, so open, their skin glowing with all that Southwestern sun you’ve been hoarding down there.

But now I’m wondering, would they have smiled so broadly, given my kids one more loop around the rocky road on that Jeep tour if they had known that the proud grandfather of my children is also a proud gay man?

Would they have been so kind and loving toward my son when he left his baby blanket behind, sending it free of charge to our deep blue state? I’ll never know. I only know that the one teensy downside of our entire trip was this bill that’s on the table. Your table, Governor. A bill so horrid from its very design, from the very tiny seedling planted in some hateful person’s mind, that I’m not sure I can forgive your legislature for even trying.

That said, I would. I forgave you for allowing a man with a not-so-concealed weapon to shop for cowboy boots right along side my young children. And I’m a Northeast liberal, so that’s saying something.

I would forgive you and your state if you veto, Governor Brewer. And I would post those pictures, and I would even come flying back to suck in some of that fresh, desert air and Southwest cooking. Or else, maybe I’ll go to California. There’s plenty to do elsewhere. From sea to shining sea.

Things a third grader knows.

Thank you for your consideration,

Beth Ain

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