Josh Derke is just 27 years old, but he’s got a bright future ahead of him as a politician. Derke is running as a Democrat for a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives and in the course of doing so has delivered an epic smackdown to an anti-gay group trying to troll him.
Derke got a candidate survey from the Public Advocate of the United States, an outfit designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (Public Advocate is best known for stealing the photo of a gay couple kissing, doctoring it and using it in anti-gay campaign ads.) The survey was a recital of all the fever-swamp concerns of the far right, demanding the candidate swear to “do everything in my power to defend and restore the Michigan Marriage Amendment,” refuse to accept “any donation from the Homosexual Lobby or their allies,” and “Oppose attempts to add ‘Homosexuality’, ‘Transsexuality’ or ‘Pedophilia’ as protected classes or statuses under Michigan’s Anti-Discrimination Law.”
In the cover letter accompanying the survey, Public Advocate Eugene DelGaudio said that refusing to respond would be taken as a bad sign since “a candidate’s silence on pro-family legislation is usually a warning of the future abdication to the Homosexual Lobby.”
Derke responded. Boy, he did he ever respond. (Fortunately, he has a much firmer grasp on language and punctuation than DelGaudio.)
“You signed the letter as “HON. EUGENE DELGAUDIO,” but there is nothing honorable about your letter, your survey, or your conduct,” Derke wrote. “You and your group should be ashamed of sending this pile of excrement.”
In a long and thoughtful response, Derke demolished DelGaudio’s homophobic rants. “Let me tell you what pro-family is, Eugene,” Derke wrote at one point. “Pro-family means that you’re not going to rip established families apart because you can’t see through the veil of your own self-defeating prejudices.”
And Derke wasn’t above some humor, either.
“Alas, Mr. Delgaudio, it seems your letter has reached me far too late,” Derke wrote. “The Homosexual Lobby has already dug their fabulously manicured claws into me, and I am afraid to report that I have been brainwashed into mindless support of the Homosexual Agenda. Would that it were that your erudite survey had reached my desk earlier, ere I succumbed to their influence, my mind might yet be unshackled from the horrible idea that all people deserve equal treatment and dignity.”
The whole letter is well worth reading. Derke is facing a Republican incumbent in a traditionally Republican district, so he may not win his race. But he certainly won a lot of fans around the country for putting in writing what we all think.