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Two days ago I published very popular blog entry titled "Tea partying in Ann Arbor - Waffles are delicious!!!"

In it, I had the following photo and comment:

I think of this one as "The Battle of the Bellies". Angry-looking fat white guys at a teabagger rally. What are the odds...?

After hearing from a number of folks and then, most importantly, receiving an email from one of the men in the picture, I owe the three of them, and him in particular, an apology. The email is from the man in the green shirt. In the email, he told me that he was not angry and was just there taking pictures and supporting a friend who spoke at that rally. He also told me that he has a medical (thyroid) condition and is undergoing medical treatment for it.

I won't reprint his entire email here because I haven't asked for permission to do so. I do think this bit is okay to share:

I am genetically predisposed to weight problems, and have low thyroid, which I am on medication for.  Me being fat isn't any different that someone being gay, black, or...I'm sure you wouldn't slam them for being who they are.

Would you have taken a photograph of a pre-operative transgendered person wearing the clothing of the sex they are becoming, and made fun of them?

I am hoping to get bariatric surgery to correct my physical disformity...My fight is no different than that of someone born in the wrong body who gets SRS to correct their problem.  I am a thin person.  A fun person who likes to go dancing.  Sadly, I am currently in the wrong body.

He is absolutely right and I absolutely owe him and the other two gentlemen in the picture an apology. It's one thing to mock folks for their politics but it's entirely another and very inappropriate thing to mock their physical appearance.

For that I am sorry. Also, there were many comments in the diary about people's weight that were equally inappropriate and I apologize for those as well since it was my diary that provoked them.

I'm also sorry if anyone who read the diary was offended. This is just not my style and I feel crappy about it.

UPDATE: Okay, this diary has gone so much further than I ever thought it would. It has actually received more tips than the original diary.

I effed up. I made a mistake which betrayed my personal feelings as a liberal and I am ashamed of what I did. I wish now I had asked people NOT to tip me, just Rec me so the apology would be seen. I don't deserve accolades for apologizing; I should never have made the stupid comment in the first place. The messed up part of this is that I actually don't give a damn what people look like!!! I have friends of all shapes, sizes, colors, smells, etc. etc. The only thing I really care about is what they say and do. Not how they look.

I don't care if the man that wrote me is the most odious teabagger of them all (and I actually do not think he is.) At the end of the day there's this: we should never mock people because of how they look. Their politics are fair game. Their hypocrisy is fair game. But now how they look decidedly is NOT.

So all of this and then I get this email:

I am sure we disagree politically. But you deserve my thanks. I wish there was more true 'conversation' about issues. We are all Americans. I would help you if you were in need as quickly as I would trust you would help me, regardless of our political views. Your apology is a breath of fresh air.

God Bless

You think we can't find common ground with all conservatives? I say "not so fast." Two days ago, I laughed at the thought we could ever find common ground with any Tea Party person.

Today? Well, today I'm not so sure...

Originally posted to Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 05:10 AM PDT.

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