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A letter to Stu – Former mayor led the way

Dear Stu,

Well, you did it! Congratulations! You lived your life start to finish, front to back, side to side the way you saw fit. You were way ahead of your time. You knew it from day one. Your overall general intelligence far exceeded that of many of us. Surely, myself included. 

What a book could be written about you and your life Stu. It would be a best seller. Especially if you would have allowed it to be as open and honest as you have been in the last 20 plus years or so. 

I’m pretty sure on that day when you revealed to all of us your inner most feelings you wanted to give all of us in this the sleepy little town of Silverton a look into our future, but more importantly a look inside ourselves. You brought out the good, bad, or indifferent in all of us that day. I would be lying to say I was not a little surprised from the start. However, it would also be a lie if I did not tell you I knew inside you there was a silent motivating factor why you made the decision to live your life openly. 

I watched from the sidelines at what your mere presence caused. Got to tell you, Stu, I envied your inner strength and conviction. And still do. I have thanked you repeatedly, whenever we met in passing, for pushing me to get into the political side of Silverton. The things I learned from being on the Budget Committee during and after your tenure as mayor I could not have believed without witnessing it firsthand. You were right, and I apologize for not believing you. Such a lesson it was in the lack of common-sense logic, or I believe as you called it “stupid sensibility”.

More importantly though, Stu, your presence in Silverton was an opportunity for us to look inside ourselves. You knew what today was going to be like. I’m not sure our sleepy little town has moved very far ahead in how we view all people, given the years of you trying to show us how to do so. You did live through distinct [bigotry] towards your lifestyle. Any discussion asserting otherwise, would be weak at best. 

Maybe the change you warned us about has happened. Or maybe it has moved so slowly we don’t see or feel it. Maybe we never will. Or just maybe your lifestyle wasn’t about change. Maybe more correctly put it was about acceptance. Maybe you were thinking with us embracing an accepting attitude about your lifestyle, somehow [bigotry] would no longer be within us? Intentional or not I choose to place that at the top of your list of accomplishments. 

Goodbye, my friend, and thank you.

Steve Kaser

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