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MW: What does your wife do?
WHEELER: Cathleen is a multitalented person. She's a contractor and she is now doing all kinds of forestry stuff. She has completely remodeled our house and it's absolutely beautiful. She's an unbelievable cook. She put a new roof on the house and would literally get down and bake a cake and then get back up on the roof. And I just sit around playing the guitar the whole time. She's just a wonderful person.
MW: Sounds like a marriage made in heaven.
WHEELER: It is. Most days. [Laughs.]
MW: Do you have any fears that politically some of these laws will be repealed? Or do you think we're on a forward path?
WHEELER: I think we're on a forward path. I often wonder what's going to become legal [nationally] first – pot or gay marriage? I am in favor of both, obviously, but I think that there are arguments against pot – even though I don't buy the arguments, I think there are arguments. I don't think there are any arguments against gay marriage. The only argument there is somebody's idea of what God wants. We can all pronounce all night long what we think God wants, but we can't expect other people to live by our ideas. So there is no good argument against gay marriage.
MW: Let's say Mitt Romney becomes our next president. As a Massachusetts resident, do you think that he may actually be reasonable based on the way he ran that state as governor?
WHEELER: Compared to the other candidates, Romney is like Ghandi. Rick Santorum is just unbelievably creepy. I guess I believe that Romney would be a reasonable person, though I wouldn't like all his policies. But I think he'd be better than "W" was. That's not hard to do, though.
But I can't go there. I can't believe that the Republicans will win the election. I hope that Obama can get the young people back. He's done some things – allowing the military to detain people forever without a reason or a lawyer is unspeakable to me. I can't believe that happened.
We're hideously divided and I'm just a part of that divide. I don't like the right -- I think they're hateful. I feel like the right is all about telling everybody else what to do all the time and I just want them to fuck off. There is nothing behind them but hatred. And find me an example where hatred turned out to be a good idea.
MW: You're preaching to the choir. So I'll just add an "Amen, sister."
WHEELER: [Laughs.] I know. Actually, I really don't believe the majority of people in the country are overly invested in what strangers do. I perform in distant places, so I know very well that there are like-minded people everywhere in the country and some farmer in Kansas is not always inclined to be some hateful creep. He doesn't care if two gay guys in New York are married. I think that Fox News has amplified the hatred and tried to suggest that it's typical, but I don't believe it is. I don't believe it is the natural position to be hateful. Well, it is, in a way: When there's no education, people tend to distrust what they don't know. But as soon as education comes in, then that stops.
I think that the religious right has done really horrible things to this country. They've made it so that as soon as you hear somebody's religious, you're automatically like, ''Okay, then get away from me.'' And that's terrible. I grew up in a churchgoing family, but we never got so religious that we started hating people. Religion isn't about hatred. And the religious right are making most people distrust religion, and that is a sad, sad thing.
Cheryl Wheeler appears this Saturday, Jan. 21, at 7:30 p.m., at The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $29.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit birchmere.com. On Sunday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m., she appears at the Rams Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis. Tickets are $31. Call 410-268-4545 or visit ramsheadonstage.com.
Download these: "Aces," "Arrow," "Driving Home." Visit cherylwheeler.com.