You may have been under a rock for the past three days if you haven’t heard about Zach Wahls’ stunning speech in front of Iowa’s House of Representatives in defense of gay marriage. It has been seen more than one million times since it was first posted on Youtube on February 1.
No, I haven’t been under a rock. But I’ve deferred my own thoughts until Lawrence O’Donnell had the opportunity to speak with Zach Wahls and his family on last night’s episode of The Last Word.
What an eloquent, powerful message. In just 3 minutes, Wahls has captivated the nation with his integrity and confidence. Speaking in front of his state’s elected representatives, Wahls adapts to his audience with the utmost professionalism. He’s well-spoken, polite, gracious, but most of all, a fierce advocate for marriage equality. Yet he doesn’t get to this point arguing politics and beliefs. He is making an everyman argument. He has become what his opponents don’t want to be stuck with. Showing the real consequences this measure would have on real people, real families. It is a captivating emotional appeal, casting himself as a defender of family values.
We’ve seen the patterns already. Gay marriage is becoming a conservative idea.
The direction of this conversation is changing and changing quickly. The political spitfire is subsiding and decent, real people are coming forward in defense of equal rights. They are striking a profoundly American sentiment: the family. Families stick together. Families are there for one another when the times get hard. Families work. Families love.
They are speaking to heartland America, and I think they’re about to start listening. America is listening.
Zach Wahls is well on his way to becoming Iowa’s youngest state representative.