Where did the opinion columns go?
What have you done with the opinion columns that used to be featured on the Viewpoints pages? I always turned to this page in anticipation of reading interesting commentaries on current news and issues.

While the news is interesting and often different from what is found in other local newspapers, the columnists, both regular and occasional contributors, were unique to the Dallas Voice. The first two or three times they were missing I thought it was temporary, but it seems to have become permanent.

I would really like to know the reasoning behind dropping opinion columnists. Surely it is not lack of available contributions, and the Voice certainly doesn’t avoid controversy in its news gathering.

Sharon Salih
Fort Worth

Editor’s note: The lack of op-ed pieces recently on the Dallas Voice Viewpoints pages has simply been a matter of shifting available page space to meet priorities. We plan to have the opinion pieces back in the Voice each week as soon as possible.

Single-issue voter
OK, so shoot me, but I’m a single-issue voter.

I mean, I care about the economy, taxes, national security, education, healthcare, and all those other very important issues. But, when it comes right down to it, I will vote for the person who is most supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights.

I will vote for the candidate most likely to vote for me.

This is not something I have ever admitted publicly, though it is something of which my Log Cabin friends have often accused me. Well, the truth is, they were right all along. I cannot, and will not, vote for a politician who is paid with my tax dollars but is unwilling to treat me like every other taxpayer.

Yes, I care deeply what their position is on other issues. I own a home and pay a lot of taxes; I have two children who attend public schools; I have had cancer and worry about healthcare; I do hope someday to be able to retire and not need to offer you a shopping cart at Wal-Mart (God forbid).

Those are important personal concerns, and where a candidate stands on those issues matters to me. What matters most, though, is where they stand on LGBT rights.

You won’t find me arguing that this is the most important issue in every race. Somehow the words gay and lesbian never came up in any of the presidential debates.

They came up for me though. Every time they talked about taxes I wanted to scream, "But my partner of 28 years and I have to pay more taxes because you don’t recognize our relationship!"

Every time they talked about healthcare I wanted to shout, "So why can a company insure a heterosexual spouse of 30 days, but not a gay or lesbian spouse of 30 years?"

Every time they talked about Social Security, I wanted to smack them and ask why some taxpayers don’t get their spouse’s Social Security benefits when they die.
And when they talked about the Supreme Court, I wanted to be sure they appoint someone who, regardless of what the fundamentalists may think, understands that we are full citizens of the United States deserving equal protection under the law.
That list could go on and on, but my point is that until every political promise is made to LGBT taxpayers as fully as hetero taxpayers, I’m gonna keep being a single-issue voter.

After a lifetime of fighting for equal rights for myself and my people, I’m not about to let up now that we have made a little progress. We owe it to the little girls in the first grade who will grow up to love other women, and to the gay teenager who still risks getting beaten up if he admits who he is. Our children and youth deserve to grow up in a better America because we fought and campaigned and voted to ensure they received equal rights.

In the end, I suspect that the politicians who most support us on these issues will also support education, healthcare, the environment and peace more than those who think being lesbian or gay is a sin. Since they only give me one vote, I’m going to have to let the environmentalists, educators, healthcare providers and peace activists take care of their issues. As for me, my issue in this and every election is equal rights for my community, and I won’t quit being a single-issue voter until we get them.

The Rev. Michael Piazza

A Republican for Obama
This year will be my eighth time to vote for the president of the U.S. In all those years, I have never seen such a mess as the current administration has made of the economy and national security.

Even if a Republican is against "Big Government," you should be able to manage the existing staff and make the country work.

When I compare the candidates, I find John McCain comes up short in several respects. First of all, his is too old at 72 for the most stressful and challenging job in the world. He is at the age when folks are collecting Social Security, not worrying about the security of our country.

His grasp of our economic problems is inadequate for the job ahead for the next president. His judgment appears to be erratic, as his selection of Sarah Palin demonstrates.

Our country has serious national security problems and due to the current administration’s haphazard foreign policy and wars we can’t deal with any more serious problems.

Our military is stretched to the breaking point, and John McCain wants to confront Iran with our military.

I don’t know who is left to send except retired military personnel.
Our energy policy is also a mess and has cost our citizens hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of jobs.

This is one Republican who thinks it is time for the country to vote for Barack Obama to clean up the mess in Washington, D.C., that George Bush has created.
I don’t think John McCain is up to the job.

Stan Aten

Obama is the clear choice
As a proud member of the Dallas LGBT community, I am voting for Barack Obama this year.

Barack has a strong record of supporting our issues and our community. McCain, on the other hand, is no friend of ours. On hate crimes legislation, Barack is for us. McCain is against us. On ENDA, Barack is for us. McCain is against us.

On "Don’t ask, don’t tell," Barack is for us. McCain is against us. On the economy, jobs and the middle class, Barack is for us. McCain is against us.

The choice is clearer this election year than it has ever been. Barack is for us, and LGBT people should do all we can to elect him.

Stephen Sprinkle

Gay veteran for Obama
As a ex-U.S. Navy hospital corpsman, I am proud to support Sen. Obama and Sen Biden for president and vice president. I support these fine men for a myriad of reasons, but especially for their stance on repealing "Don’t ask, don’t tell."

I also support the healthcare measures endorsed by both men. As a gay man with HIV, I have gotten excellent care in the VA system through the entire duration of my disease.

Michael Petta
Fort Worth

To send a letter
We welcome letters from readers. Shorter letters are more likely to be printed, as are those that address only a single topic. On some weeks we receive more letters than we can print. In that case, we print a representative sample. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity, but we attempt to maintain the writer’s substance and tone. Include your home address and a daytime phone number for verification. Send letters to the senior editor, preferably by e-mail (editor@dallasvoice.com). Letters also may be faxed (214-969-7271) or mailed (Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis St., Third Floor, Dallas, TX 72504).

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 31, 2008.
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