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Dear Miss California

cross-posted at DailyKos

Dear Anita Bryant Miss California,

Look, I know you're desperate to make a name for yourself. It's a tough world out there, and you want to be a star. You've found the right people to step on to get there, and you've found desperate friends who need you to help them hate those people. You've found a way to get your face plastered all across the media so that you can be a big name.

There's just one little itty bitty problem:  you're 30 years late.

You see, Carrie, Anita Bryant was a lot like you. However, there were some important distinctions to be made. Just as you are (for now, anyway) Miss California, she was Miss Oklahoma. Just as you are, she was a runner-up in a national beauty pageant.

So, it could be a ticket to stardom for you — Anita was a national name in the late '70s! Everyone knew who she was. She had a singing career, she was the well-known spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Growers Association — heck, everyone knew Anita could tell you that, “Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine.”

Oh, wait. You don't have a singing career? You don't have a big advertising contract? I guess this is where the similarities stop. Your only advertising contract is with a small, regressive, hateful group of people who are using you to create craptacular ads like this:

It seems that the only thing you have to your credit is a pair of fake…oh wait, I guess someone else owns those, too.

Oh, and Carrie, while we're drawing distinctions, based on your answer in the pageant, I suspect Ms. Bryant was a lot more articulate than you are.

You see, Anita had all those credits to her name before she started hurling shit at gay people in Miami, Eugene, Wichita, and California. She used what she thought was immense political capital borne of popularity to hurt millions of people, and in the end, she lost. Prop 6 failed in 1978, Carrie, because people woke up and realized that this was a just plain hateful, bad idea. And Anita Bryant lost her advertising contract, her marriage, indeed her entire financial future, because she made a name for herself hating people. Is that the kind of star you want to be?

Perhaps you're emboldened because 52% of voters in California voted for Prop 8, so you think you represent the state, and you can take off on this hatemongering flight of fancy with the wind at your back. Maybe you're just naive enough not to think that the National Organization for Marriage is using you, quite conveniently, to hurt millions of people. Maybe you haven't had a good look at history — do you want your picture next to hers in that Wikipedia entry for “bigot”? Because that's the instant association for millions of people with the name “Anita Bryant”, even three decades later.

Carrie, Anita Bryant had made a name and a career for herself, and she destroyed all that spreading lies, hatred, and division. She had a lot further to fall to infamous obscurity than you do; how far down will this take you? You, like Anita, claim this is based on Christian principles. How Christian, exactly, is bearing false witness against your fellow human beings to hurt them — and getting PAID to do it, meanwhile?

This nation is moving forward, not backward, on civil rights. Miss California, do you want to star in its future, or will you lead the last flash in the pan for hate? Fabulous, or footnote? It seems you've chosen the latter. For shame.

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