This bold Republican tore her party's platform to shreds and for a great reason.

On July 11, 2016, ​the Republican party got together to put the finishing touches on their platform for the upcoming election.

The platform — which outlines what the party stands for and aspires to — is a handy resource for voters and politicians alike.

It's basically a sales pitch to the electorate and a way to measure how views change among the party's members over time.


And for some people, a relatable platform may sell them on the idea of voting in favor of a party's candidates. For others, an unrecognizable or frustrating set of values might indicate the party isn't the best fit for their personal ideologies anymore. 

During that meeting, a woman named Annie Dickerson surprised everyone by offering up a passionate plea for a new set of compassionate values.

She proposed that the party act with compassion on a topic that has always been a bit controversial among Republicans: LGBTQ rights.

Historically speaking, the Republican party has never been especially LGBTQ-friendly. Whether the discussion is related to marriage, parenting, employment, housing, or public accommodations, the party line has remained firmly anti-LGBTQ over the course of time.

Dickerson, who's a member of the platform committee, hoped to change all of that with her speech.

First, she spoke out against language arguing that children of gay and lesbian couples are more likely to be involved with drugs, commit crimes, and wind up in poverty — none of which is supported by evidence.

Then she urged her colleagues to scrap language in support of "traditional marriage and the families a husband and wife create," in favor of more inclusive language simply stating that children need a "loving and stable home." She also argued against the platform's "salute" to the state of North Carolina for its anti-LGBTQ law. And she begged them to show some empathy, to take a stand on the right side of history.

Sadly, though, she mostly stood alone while giving this speech. In the end, most other members of the platform committee adopted anti-LGBTQ positions instead.

Although Dickerson didn't affect the overall 2016 GOP platform, her speech was still really important.

Support for various LGBTQ issues is on the rise across the political spectrum. As a group, Republicans are still less likely than Democrats to back rights like marriage and employment protections. But individually, it looks like change is underway.

You may not hear prominent Republicans speaking out in favor of things like gay marriage (nominee Donald Trump has promised to appoint judges he believes will overturn the Supreme Court's 2015 marriage equality ruling) or civil rights for trans people (earlier this week, RNC speaker Ben Carson referred to transgender people as the "height of absurdity"). But it's important to remember that there are people like Dickerson within the Republican Party offering passionate arguments for change.

Maybe it takes people like Dickerson who will continue to step up and ask for compassion and empathy to change the party line. By 2020, maybe the party will reverse course on some of the more explicitly anti-LGBTQ positions. And maybe, following this fall's election, it'll become clear to those in power that political success cannot be built on the exclusion of others.

No matter what happens, I'm thankful for people like Dickerson.

You can watch Dickerson's speech to the RNC platform committee below.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

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"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less