Kel Kelly

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Whether it's topical news, internet happenings, social media, public relations, marketing, start-ups, mobile shiz or whatever, I promise to wade through the bullshit and give you my unbuffered perspective.

You'll note I never take on a "corporate tone" — whether I'm chatting you up at a party or speaking to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, my voice never changes. I say what's on my mind and I'm often the champion of the underdog.

I'm a social media junkie and smoke Google Analytics in a crack pipe to get my day going. I hope my immersed insight and offbeat view make you laugh. More importantly, I hope you take a second and share your thoughts by posting a comment. If you have any ideas on how to make my blog better, shoot an email to kel@kelandpartners.com.

Peace out.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

August 30, 2012 10:42 AM

Yesterday, I sent the following tweet:

I was surprised by the responses I received. While all the Twitter replies had an amen-like tone, a few friends on Facebook — who I am usually 100% aligned with on issues — respectfully disagreed. People really had an issue with the fact that Romney was a Mormon. One mentioned how the Mormon faith preaches an intolerance of gays. Another added that the Mormon church only allows men to be head of households. Don’t get me wrong, I have issues with Mitt Romney, but him being a Mormon isn’t one of them.

The first thing that popped in my head was that the Mormons I know don’t feel that way. That thought then led me to think of how many times I think that same thought when I think about my Catholic friends. The Vatican believes women are subservient and gays are deviants. The leaders of the church knowingly allowed tens of thousand of boys to be sexually abused for decades. Interestingly, every Catholic I know — I mean hundreds of friends — 100% disagree with the Vatican’s perspective on women and gays and all are appalled and embarrassed by how the Church handled the sexual abuse scandal. Yet they are still members of the Catholic church.

Would people who would not vote for a Mormon, vote for a Catholic? It’s almost as if when it comes to a Catholic candidate it is OK, but somehow Mormons are more evil. Is it because most people know less about Mormons? Ignorance breeds hate. Or is it because they are turning a blind eye to the Vatican’s ignorant, out-of-touch, elitist positions because they may know more Catholic people? It makes me think about how being gay is becoming accepted but transgenedered still freaks people out. Everything appears to have its place in the food chain and we project opinion based on what rung the topic is located on. Catholics appear to be higher on the food chain than Mormons. Why?

Is it because if something doesn’t reflect our beliefs verbatim, it must be wrong? I remember when I first heard about the show Sister Wives. It’s about a polygamist mormon guy, his four wives and seventeen children. My visceral reaction was disgust. And then I watched the show. And guess what — they are a kind, loving, happy family. Polygamy works for them. If that’s the case, what gives me the right to judge them? Isn’t that the same level of ignorance people project on gays? Are there bad polygamy situations? Hell yeah! That doesn’t mean all polygamists are bad. Just like all gays aren’t bad, all mormons aren’t bad, all Catholics aren’t bad, all Republicans aren’t bad and all Democrats aren’t bad.

I found it ironic that during Chris Christies keynote — when he wasn’t talking about himself — he talked about respect. True respect, values the differences in people and is inclusive, not exclusive. Just because you may not agree with something, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. If some Mormon women choose to be subservient in their relationship, then who are we to judge them? As long as they are not being abused, it’s their choice and we should respect it.

When I watched the gay kiss-in at Chick-Fil-A, my skin crawled. I don’t want to see anyone — straight or gay — making out. In my opinion, this type of act feeds into all the societal fears that gays are sexual deviants. However, I fully respect the people who did it. “Stand up for your rights” moments in history, like Stonewall and Rosa Parks’ bus sit in, have moved the equal rights needle exponentially and their place in history can’t be undervalued. Yesterday, Orrin Hatch, a mormon Republican Senator from Utah, broke from Mitt Romney on gay marriage ban and stated that he does not support the amendment. Can a sista’ get a table dance?! Seriously, that’s a big deal.

This month, I saw Springsteen at Fenway Park. The stadium was filled with young and old, rich and poor, Democrats and Republicans, Catholics and Mormons, gays and heterosexuals — it was a melting pot of diversity. And, the love and unity that could be felt at Fenway that night was palpable. The patriotism and emotion in his songs brought everyone together in a way that was simply jaw dropping. I didn’t care that the lady next to me was a Republican. And she didn’t give a rats ass that I was gay and there with my wife. We were all there in celebration and our differences were set aside for a few hours. If we could bottle that feeling of mutual love and respect and sprinkle it across the world, peace would be our reality. If we hold our ground and expect everyone to be a mirror image of our beliefs, we will never get there. Diversity is a good thing. Respect is the bridge that will bring us all together. I have faith that “We the people” can be our approach versus “We the Republicans” or “We the gays” or “We the whatever.” Can’t we all just get along?

What are your thoughts?

Please note: Comments on this blog are monitored. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 24 Comments »

24 Comments on “Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

  1. Andy Clinkman Says:

    I find myself asking this all the time. Last night I tweeted “Since when are the words republican, democrat, conservative, and liberal used as insults? One of my biggest beefs with politics” and you seem to be echoing this with the discussion of religion. This reminds me of the Islamophobia that plagues many in the country as well.

    We cannot judge someone on their political affiliations, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.

    Excellent post and spot on. I’m proud to work for someone making this sort of discrimination an issue.

  2. Kel Says:

    andy, i love your tweet! my hope is that your generation will bring a completely different perspective to politics. see the issue, not the party and/or religion. do the right thing for humanity, not your self-interest. respect and value differences. it’s what gives me hope that the world will in fact be a better place.

  3. Grace Carr Says:

    Kel,
    You are right on so many points and I probably don’t disagree with anything you said…just like I didn’t disagree with anything Rubio said on The Daily Show the other night…but note that I did not say I AGREED in either comment. I think it is hard for me to agree that poligamy is ok because, by definition, it is harmful (IMO) to women. Many/most of the Romney/Ryan positions are anathema to me, so it is hard not to get a viserally negative reaction when one of them is speaking. And when you hear Ryan lying (again) last night about the plant that was closed on Bush’s watch,yet he blames it on President Obama, it becomes easy to get mad…or to get mad when Romney’s staff say “fact-checkers” be damned. Romney’s position on the welfare changes is OUT RIGHT wrong, and he should not be allowed to continue saying it (more anger!!!). So, there you have it…my wonderful, human, gay friend is a better person than your much more human, straight friend, in forgiving the evil that comes out of the political process. (I apologize for a somewhat rambling comment to your well written piece!) And lastly, my NJ governor is a big blowhard who over states the success he has had in NJ…my real estate taxes have increased over 10% since he put the 2% ceiling in place and NJ has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation…and the double dipping in pensions is as bad now as it was under Corzine.

  4. Ben Carcio Says:

    Mitt Romney’s religion is fair game.

    The big difference with comparing being gay to religion is the matter of personal choice. Being gay is not a choice, but your religion is. Yes, people can be raised in religious families and choice is harder to execute, but in this country a person can eventually choose a different path.

    So, questioning Mitt Romney’s religion is fine, because you’re questioning his ability to make a choice, and in this case a choice that provides the moral compass, both good and bad, for the further choices he makes regarding public policy.

    Since Salem, this country has and always should have a cautious view towards the role of religion in government. As long as its respectful its healthy.

    BC

  5. Catherine Says:

    I have issues with Mormonism, like other religions, for general lack of tolerance and their fear of women. I don’t judge people for their religion, I judge them on their actions. That might seem like splitting hairs, but I know so many people of so many faiths that don’t adhere strictly to the dogma that holds them back. Free will and all.

    I judge Mitt Romney on his utter lack of position – for wanting to be President as a resume filler and not having a vision for fixing the country. He surrounds himself with radicals who stoke the fires of hate & intolerance with lies and half truths. (Yeah, the RNC has me riled right up today) I judge him for looking down at the little people who make up most of this country. But I don’t judge him for being a Mormon.

  6. Kel Says:

    grace, thank you for the thoughtful, respectful comment. and for making me laugh with the chris christie comment! i agree with you regarding ryan and his blatant lies. telling the truth is so fundamental to being a good person. his actions are appalling and i hope there is accountability. please know that lies do not warrant respect.

    i have to ask, have you ever watched sister wives? i’m not sure you would feel it is bad for women. they are happy and have chosen this lifestyle. my concern is that the statement has the potential to mirror the statement “gay parents are bad for children.” btw, i know you dont feel that way. polygamy is not something i understand, but it appears to work for some people.

    i love your passion. i love that you always stand up for the underdog. and i love that you are my friend. hugs.

  7. Kel Says:

    ben, i so appreciate and respect your comment. thanks you for taking the time to share your perspective. do you mind if i ask a question? would you vote for a catholic candidate? i am just curious.

  8. Kel Says:

    hi catherine! thanks so much for posting. i totally agree with your points about romney’s utter lack of position and stoking the fires of hate and tolerance. his lies are unforgivable. i would ask you the same question i asked ben — would you vote for a catholic candidate….assuming he told the truth? i so value your perspective!

  9. Barb Reilly Says:

    Brilliantly said. Make the issue the enemy, not people. If we all aimed our energy, our frustration and our passion at the issue to be solved, no one would care what your background or beliefs were. Thanks Kel for always bringing something to light in such an eloquent and thoughtful way. xoxoxo

  10. Shelley Says:

    Wow, Kel! You really gave us a lot to chew on here. I agree that we can’t judge anyone solely based on their religious affiliation (or their sexuality, or any other defining factor, as Andy rightly points out), we must judge them individually, based on their individual beliefs. If I was interested in voting for Mitt Romney (I’m not, but if I was), and the fact that he was a Mormon bothered me, I’d want to investigate whether those things that I disagree with about the Mormon faith are values he personally holds dear. (Sidenote: I’m totally with you on Sister Wives – I love that show! They have so much love and I’m fascinated by how they make their alternative lifestyle work for them.)

    But as to the question of, can’t we all just get along? Well, I struggle with this all the time. I’m a big fan of “live and let live,” but sometimes other people’s living is harmful to others, especially when it comes to electing political leaders. I don’t care if Mittens thinks Anne’s place is in the kitchen, or all abortion is bad, or gays are the devil, or whatever. But if he’s going to try to do away with Planned Parenthood or pass a federal ban on gay marriage? That’s where I take issue.

    And when it comes to electing leaders, let’s be honest. We can’t sit down with them and really get to know them. We have to go on the limited information we have about them and sometimes that means making unfair judgments. So no, we can’t ever expect everyone to mirror our beliefs, but we have to draw the line somewhere, right? Tolerance of others, though so needed and so important, sadly only gets you so far when push comes to shove.

  11. Kel Says:

    barb, thanks for netting one of my points out so eloquently — make the issue the enemy, not the people. i love it!

  12. Kel Says:

    shell, i totally agree with you! again, i have loads of issues with mitt. however, him being a mormon isn’t one of them. his planned parenthood plan is ridiculous. i don’t even think deep down he agrees with his stance on gay marriage. he is playing to the right wing crowd. my reaction was more about people’s response to his religion and the generalizations people make about groups of people.

  13. Ben Carcio Says:

    Kel,

    It would absolutely factor in. A strong Catholic like Rick Santorum scares the sh#t out me:)

    A politician can be religious, but when it seems to be steering the ship a bit too much, we should challenge its role.

    Mormanism is a strong, vibrant, aggressively expanding, but relatively secretive and misunderstood religion, with a shockingly bad recent track record. We should be able to discuss and challenge it without seeming insensitive.

    Consider reading Under the Banner of Heaven: http://www.amazon.com/Under-Banner-Heaven-Story-Violent/dp/0385509510

    Much love to you for kicking of this dialogue.

    BC

  14. Kel Says:

    ben, first let me say thanks for all the comments you have made over the years. i appreciate the time you take and thoughtful insight you share. your humor is an added bonus.

    i will check out the book. i agree we should be able to ask politicians about their stance on topics within their religion. from there, i think a judgment can be formed. my point was more around judging him for being a mormon — in a way like someone judging me for being gay. if he is a mormon who believe people of color are cursed by god then i have an issue. if someone judges a gay parent for leaving a three year old home alone, then they have a right to judge. i think it requires a deeper look and i know he has been evasive.

    btw, rick santorum is divisive nutbag who preaches hate. how’s that for judgement?! haha.

  15. Mike Torosian Says:

    After your tweet, I was wondering how log before the blog would follow. Although I usually do not agree with all points in a single post, I have to admit I was surprised when I did here. As I always firmly believed, that religion and politics do not mix and that a candidates religion should not be called in. However, I would like to see more of his or her personal beliefs on issues.

    Bottom line…boast about how you’re the better one for the job, not how the other person isn’t.

    Thanks for letting me rant…I gonna get a cocktail before the big speech!

  16. Kel Says:

    mike, wouldn’t that be amazing if we had a presidential election that focused solely on the best man/woman for the job?! something tells me it wil never happen in my lifetime. hey, have a drink for me my friend!

  17. Geo Says:

    Kel,
    I wish I had time to formulate some thoughts to respond, but not only do I not at the moment, but I don’t need to… OK boring reply, but BAMM… You nailed it. I totally agree with you right down the board. Nicely written.
    Geo

  18. Monica Young Goldfinger Says:

    As one of the friends who unusually and respectfully disagreed with you, let me clarify!  I don’t have an issue with Mitt’s Mormonism. I have an issue with his hypocrisy. I think if you are going to put your religion out there as one of the guiding forces  in your political decisions — which by the way, I believe has no place in politics — you open yourself up to the scrutiny. Truthfully, I don’t have issues with the religion, sexual preferences, or choices of any politician as long as they do not try to impose them on me or any one else. That is not what politics should be about. 

    I have enormous issues with politicians who spew lots of crap about love and tolerance when what they mean is that they love people and families who look like their own. Which is what Romney (including Ann), Ryan and many of those Republicans on that stage are saying.  

    I have friends and a couple of relatives who are Mormon. Here is something I find terribly disturbing about the religion as a corporation.  (I largely view organized religion as a corporation.) Not only are church members expected to tithe to the church, they are discouraged from giving to other charities. I have friends who must give to other causes anonymously so their church doesn’t discover their donations.  I don’t exactly understand the meaning of that, but it does not feel loving and inclusive to me. Charity begins at home, but it should not end there. 

    The bottom line is that I don’t want my politicians to be beholden to any religion. I believe extremism is a defense against those things in our core that challenge and threaten us. (How many politicians who have ranted against gay marriage have been found to be closeted gays?)   Yes, faith and beliefs are important. They guide us towards good and meaning in our lives.  But extremism is dangerous. It results in hateful and intolerant speech and that scares me.  

    I was raised Catholic and have rejected the religion because of the intolerance of its teachings. I read this week that the church has largely rejected Paul Ryan because of his extreme beliefs and lack of tolerance. Wow!  That is saying something!  As for Mitt, I don’t care what religion he is. I want him to support equal rights and opportunities for all Americans because it is what our constitution says, not what his religion doesn’t say. 

    As for condemning Mitt because he’s Mormon and judging gay people for being gay, which is what your original FB status said:  choosing to live a life of intolerance and hypocrisy is not the same as being born gay and having to fight every day for the legitimacy of your relationship and your family. 

    I hope in the end you and I don’t really disagree on this at all. I would love nothing more than to raise my kids in a world where we could all be loving, tolerant and get along. That’s what I’ve taught them from day one. It’s infuriating to me that our politicians can’t seem to get that right and that I need to explain that so often at the dinner table. 

    Thank you for starting this conversation!  Love you! 

  19. Kel Says:

    thanks geo!

  20. Kel Says:

    monica, that had to be one of the best comments posted in the almost five years since i started this blog. you would have made a great lawyer. you present your case well and back it up with facts. i think we agree on almost all fronts. it’s sad that hypocrisy is so prevalent across so many religions. hypocrisy coupled with extremism is always toxic. thanks again for sharing your perspective. i’m sure everyone reading this thread appreciated reading it.

  21. Maureen Whitley Says:

    If Mitt had Obama’s empathy then I wouldn’t have an issue with his Mormonism. My argument is that we need a President who understands that we are all connected. We all want our children to have the same opportunities and more than what we had. Mitt has never cared for anyone else other than fellow Mormons. He gave 7 million last year. He was a deacon in his church while running Bain. A church which is so secretive that one can’t go into a Mormon Church unless that person is a Mormon and has an appointment. His faith along with his secret underwear is a huge part of who he is and what kind of President he would be.
    Can we all get along…sure…But, like his tax returns Mitt remains a mystery…

  22. Kel Says:

    maureen, i love your point about empathy and couldn’t agree more! you and grace carr (comment above) would love each other. you are both all about empathy and standing up for the underdog. btw, what is up with the underwear?!

  23. Maureen Whitley Says:

    Oh, Mormons, all Mormons wear undergarments that represents their faith. The rule is that they are always wearing them except obviously while bathing! They also can’t consume caffeine, alcohol and they can’t smoke. It is more than a religion it is truly living a life that is very narrow. It works for business, he has no right leading the free world. He is too limited. He can’t appreciate America’s greatest gift….diversity!

  24. Kel Says:

    amen to diversity sista’ maureen! fyi: i would need to consume xanax daily if i had to wear that underwear. haha.

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