McCain speaks out against bigotry

By Gretchen Andersen

Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain, said she has talked to her father about repealing… Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain, said she has talked to her father about repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell several times.

“I’ve had conversations, but the homeboy is 73,” she said with a smile to the audience, which erupted into laughter.

McCain visited Pitt’s campus last night on behalf of the Rainbow Alliance. McCain spoke about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, gay rights and her views on the Republican party.

She began her 25-minute speech highlighting the recent suicides among gay teens and gay prejudice in politics.

“At what point is it enough?” McCain asked the crowd. “At what point is it bigoting?”

She said Republicans also question her dedication to the party because of her stance on gay-rights issues. Even though people have screamed at her in airports and cried to her when she was getting a facial, she won’t back down.

“We won’t get kicked out of the party or silenced,” she said. “Silence equals death.”

McCain graduated from Columbia University in 2007 and contributes to The Daily Beast. Her recent book, “Dirty Sexy Politics,” was sold at the lecture.

“It was originally “Sex, Drugs and Sarah Palin,” but as you can imagine that idea was shot down,” she said.

McCain said she has not always been a Republican. At 18, she first registered as an independent. In 2004, she said, she voted for Kerry.

She registered as a Republican two and a half years ago, she said, on Father’s Day. She now calls herself a “Progressive Republican,” believing in LGBT rights and gay marriage.

During the 2008 presidential race, McCain worked on her father’s campaign. It was during that time that she experienced a “crash course in politics that you can’t learn in school,” she said.

“I laughed, I cried, I gained 20 lbs.,” she said with a laugh.

She said the campaign helped her grow up and learn who she was. McCain, who considers herself a feminist, said she has been tormented by people because of her appearance. She now is trying help women see themselves as beautiful.

“I told Laura Ingraham on ‘The View’ that she can kiss my size 12 a**,” McCain said.

McCain, who worked on Saturday Night Live for two years during college, said that the impact of Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin was unbelievable.

“Never underestimate the power of SNL,” she said. “Never.”

About 300 students attended the free lecture. Meghan Leinbach and Robin Lane attended on behalf of Campus Women’s Organization. Lane, who said she reads McCain’s blogs, said that McCain “had some intelligent things to say about gay rights.”

Lane thought it was interesting that McCain was “economically conservative, but socially liberal and that she was a young woman speaking out about politics.”

The speech was part of National Coming Out Week. Tomorrow there will be a New Age Fitness Night in room 548 in the William Pitt Union from 5 to 8 p.m. A semiformal will take place on Saturday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the ballroom.

James Weaver, president of Pitt’s Rainbow Alliance, said he was happy with the turnout and the many questions asked during the question-and-answer session. Business manager Tim Craft agreed.

“This shows that Republicans do not equal bigot,” he said. “She gave a great message on how we can kick a** and have power in our society.”