Meghan McCain speaks to UConn students
Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 23:10
The UConn Rainbow Center sponsored a conversation on Tuesday night with Meghan McCain, noted blogger and daughter of United States Senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain. McCain, a 27-year-old and a self-proclaimed "progressive republican," spent the bulk of an allotted hour-and-a-half discussing her experiences in politics, her support for LGBTQ equity and her advocacy for passion and civility in contemporary politics.
Upon taking the stage, McCain immediately addressed ideological disparities in the audience.
"I know there are some of you here that love me, and some of you who hate my guts," she said.
In a brief introduction, Rainbow Center student staff member Autumn Alston noted herself to be "a proud democrat," but stressed the importance of transcending partisan disputes in pursuit of justice. McCain echoed this sentiment in her rhetoric, encouraging the audience to "challenge the status quo" and stand by their beliefs.
The choice of date for McCain's talk – Tuesday, Oct. 11 – was not without its own significance. Fleurette King, director of the Rainbow Center, hoped the discussion, which coincided with National Coming Out Day, would help foster heterosexual advocacy.
"Our heterosexual allies have a coming out process as well," the director said.
McCain, who identified herself early in the program as heterosexual, spoke candidly about her own support for a battery of LGBTQ issues on stage, citing the story of Jamey Rodemeyer, a teen suicide victim whose story gained national news attention recently. She also used the controversy surrounding Chaz Bono's appearance on "Dancing With the Stars" as proof that LGBTQ equality has yet to be achieved. At one point, McCain even indicted pro-Don't Ask, Don't Tell politicians as being "dangerously out of touch."
"I support equality," she said. "You can't call this country free if people are being discriminated against.
"I'm scared by people who don't evolve," said McCain later on, frustrated by the static nature of conservative politics. The blogger, whose views contradict much of the religious rights' stance on homosexuality, suffered extreme backlash from news pundits throughout her father's campaign.
Addressing issues of media civility, McCain offered up both sobering and mirthful insights.
"The media has done tremendous damage to our generation," she said, dismissing mass media-espoused politics for fear of being "bad for the United States."
Referring to radio host Laura Ingraham's off-color comments on her weight, McCain jokingly asked the audience how one can be "too fat to be an elephant?" before sharing her public response.
"I told [Dr. Laura] to kiss my size 12 [expletive]," said McCain to laughter from the audience.
During a public Q&A session afterwards, McCain encouraged students to support local politicians who fought for LGBTQ rights and, of course, to volunteer at the Rainbow Center.
"Getting involved on campus is extremely important," she said.