Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dignity In Life, Dignity In Death: Damn Norwegians

by Dick Mac

Sally Ride's sister, Karen "Bear" Ride, spoke to the media about her sister, and explained that her sister had been Norwegian all her life!

I never knew Sally Ride was Norwegian!

What has our country come to when a Norwegian can work openly and freely in a government agency, without anyone ever having known?

How am I supposed to explain to my daughter that this hero wasn't who we thought she was? How am I supposed to let my daughter emulate Sally Ride, now that I know she was a Norwegian?

If God had intended astronauts to be Norwegian, he would have started the space program in Drammen or Kongsberg or Koppang. God never would have started NASA in the United States if he intended Norwegians to be involved.

That all sounds pretty silly, doesn't it!

"Sally didn't use labels, " Bear Ride said about her sister. "Sally had a very fundamental sense of privacy, it was just her nature, because we're Norwegians, through and through."

Her heritage did not define her as a person, define her career path, or define her reputation as an American hero. She is just "Sally Ride." Yes she was a "Ph.D." from Stanford University, and she was a "wife" to Steven Hawley for five years, and she was a "daughter," "sister," and "aunt" to her family.

Her sexual orientation also did not define her. She was the "partner" of Dr. Tam O'Shaughnessy for the last 27 years of her life. Sally had known Tam O'Shaughnessy for fifty years, and the two lived the life of a successful couple, with family, friends, careers, desires, wishes, hopes, dreams, fears, and all the same things as you and me.

"I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them," Bear Ride said.

Sally Ride was a private person who dedicated her life to education. Nobody knew she was a lesbian, because that was not something Sally Ride would discuss, anymore than she discussed being Norwegian. She discussed science and space, and she was a teacher, role-model and hero to many.

Sure, she was Norwegian; but, I think we should overlook that and not allow it to taint her legacy.


Memorium:  Donate to the Pancreatic Cancer Initiative in Sally Ride's honor

BuzzFeed: First Female U.S. Astronaut, Sally Ride, Comes Out In Obituary

USA Today: Sally Ride, first U.S. woman in space, dies at 61

Fox: America's first female astronaut Sally Ride dies

International Business Times:  Tam O'Shaughnessy: About Sally Ride's Partner Of 27 Years

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