There comes a time when we all have to stand naked before the cannon.
In all our lives, there always comes a moment when we have to either stand on principle, or sell our soul to the devil.
The gay mayor of Fort Lauderdale, who has refused for the past two years to talk to over six different reporters from SFGN, has found time to get into bed with the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, signing onto a proclamation commending their service to the city.
He believes in redemption for an anti-gay church, but not for us, who champion the LGBT community week after week.
So his talk of redemption rings hollow to me. His words may sound high and mighty but trust me they’re nothing more than empty platitudes.
It does not matter that this paper has praised his leadership on a multitude of issues over the years, awarding him with a host of accolades and honors. Some of his work during the pandemic has been heroic.
We dared to criticize him once or twice. Mayor Trantalis is still reeling from it.
The good mayor can’t handle the truth that he abandoned the AIDS Health Care Foundation by sabotaging their progressive initiative to build a low-cost affordable housing complex in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
The good mayor can’t handle that the sewage water seeping through the streets of Victoria Park poisons our neighborhoods because of years of neglect due to long-serving city commissioners, of which he was one.
The good mayor couldn’t handle it when we covered the equal rights ordinance in Fort Lauderdale that he initially opposed, but later supported.
Criticized editorially, he has deemed SFGN as irrelevant and inconsequential, ignoring our requests and overtures for quotes, stories, and interviews, on any and every issue. So be it.
SFGN does not need Mayor Trantalis to publish the news.
Apparently, he does not need us either. After all, he is the mayor of this town. He is above us now. He has new friends. Yes, those friends are the ones he used to stand on street corners and protest. They are the ones who said gays were deviant and perverted. They are the ones who still oppose same-sex marriage, and do not want lesbian parents partnering to raise children.
Yes, Dean, let’s have redemption for those who have hated you and everything you have stood for — for years, even decades. Give them penance. Not us. You are such a loving person, willing to let bygones be bygones.
“It’s time to move on,” you said in your grandiose speech, honoring a church that to this very moment and day, salutes the horrors of Doctor D. James Kennedy.
It’s too bad, Mr. Mayor, that you have become totally incapable of practicing in your own life what you preach for others.
The newspaper and the public have a word for that, Mr. Mayor. It’s called hypocrisy, and it now bears your name.
The burdens and blessings of public office are many. We respect and understand the conflicting conundrums you face in serving the entire city, and not just the gay community.
But maybe, just maybe, Mr. Mayor, you ought to think a little more about that age-old popular Pete Seeger folk song, “Which side are you on, boys, which side are you on”?
It’s your turn to stand naked before the cannon. You decide.
Are you a man of your past principles, or are you simply another politician seeking expedience for the moment?
SFGN will always respect the work Dean Trantalis has done for our community. Nothing will ever change that, but it doesn’t change this either. Where you see right, praise it. Where you see wrong, speak out against it. Today, the latter course is necessary.
You can’t forget the past when the past is not the past. This Church has not evolved. Don’t kid yourself. Look on another page of today’s paper to see what the Vatican just said about same sex marriage this week.
My duty as a publisher is to see that you, our readers, get the news that matters to us. The mayor’s continuing refusal to communicate with our reporters or editors does not slight me. It does, you. It is a flat-out dereliction of his responsibilities as the mayor to deny your free gay press his public policy statements on issues of critical importance to all of us.
Like the mayor just said to all of you, SFGN says to him: Get over it... it’s time to move on.