Dr. Laura Schlessinger is one of the last people I would invite into my home. I'm exasperated by her disdain for premarital sex, premarital cohabitation, same-sex adoption, and single parenting (to name only a few). That said, I couldn't wait to speak to her.
In radio for over 30 years, Dr. Laura (who has a Ph.D. in physiology—she's not a psychiatrist) began the Dr. Laura Show in 1994. This nationally syndicated program features call-in listeners seeking advice about relationships, parenting, and moral dilemmas. Frequently criticized for her conservative beliefs—as well as having her appearances regularly protested and picketed (which will include her Portland appearance on Friday), Schlessinger gets flak primarily for her views on homosexuality. Despite several apologies, she'll probably never live down her remark that gays are "biological errors."
Nevertheless, I still tune in to her show. Perhaps it's the way she smacks whiny Christian housewives into shape with her trademark bluntness or the sheer absurdity of her views that keep me listening. However, I have no plans to attend her show. Not only did she not directly answer my question about same-sex marriage, but only a one-woman show by Charo could get me to fork over $55 for a ticket.
MERCURY: First of all, please tell me exactly what you mean by a "one-woman show." Will you be singing and/or dancing? What makes this show different than, say, a book signing?
DR. LAURA: This is a theatrical performance with me, my kid's mom, as the only performer. While folks coming into the theater fill out 4 x 6 cards with their personal questions for me to select from and answer... the evening consists of stories from my life, my 32 years on radio, as well as my commentary about current events. It is a mixture of lots of humor and deep profundity.
There has been some curiosity surrounding your choice to appear in Portland. You are known to many as a "conservative talk-show host." Portland is known as a "liberal mecca." Was there any hesitation on your part about appearing in Portland (considering the political climate here)?
Liberals are just as concerned with morals, values, ethics, principles, and families as conservatives. My message supports the lives of people regardless of political or social affiliations!
You have received a great deal of criticism from gay/lesbian organizations. What's your opinion of same-sex marriage and/or same-sex civil unions (both of which are a big issue in Oregon)?
I'm always delighted when people are willing to be deeply invested in a quality relationship. However, I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, which is a covenant with God and a legal contract through the government, which provides the security necessary for the creation and nurturance of children.
You speak sometimes about how you used to be a feminist. Why did you change your views? Was there a specific event that changed your mind?
Oh yes, I was a serious feminista. Realizing there was a lot more to life than accomplishment, acquisition, and a perpetual state of paranoia about male oppression saved me! The turning point was recognizing my desire to be a mommy.
I hear you have an affinity for motorcycles. How many do you own? Do you only ride Harleys?
I have a Harley Road King Trike to keep safe on the highway and during charity rides. I just got a Honda Rebel 250 for fun after taking the motorcycle driving/safety course... VERY COOL! I just have this wild woman side to me, I guess.
So what do you think people will take home from your show?
I get the most enjoyment hearing afterward from folks who brought people who "hated me"—who report that having first-hand experience with hearing and seeing me changed their minds and hearts!