H2O - A hypothetical message from Hillary to the President of the United States
How in the world did the coolest of candidates get into the hottest of water? It’s as though underwater traps were set for eight years. First, through no fault of your own, everyone’s investments went under water, then the gulf waters turned crude black and tragically toxic. Meanwhile, the kettle was put on the front burner to boil water for nasty tea parties that complain about...irony alert...the deficit. And that would be tea. No sympathy. None for the banking and energy deregulation mania that swept the capital when Reagan reigned. No sympathy for the Bush-Cheney WMD gone missing that took us into Iraq for the biggest—and most damaging—distraction in military history. It was all left on the doorstep at 1600 Pennsylvania by the man who’s father appointed the Supreme Court that helped his brother stop the Florida recount and hand him the keys.
So, now, I’ve finally eclipsed you in the polls. You’re in hot water, but it’s cold comfort to me now. I’m a loyal Democrat and the member of your cabinet with the most interesting history. Given the gamut I’ve run, Pulitzer prize winning columnist Maureen Dowd nailed it: I’m the only person in the world who has had to worry about both china and China. (I lean toward Beijing) So today, I’m offering to help you with free advice—and what should be the “no-brainer.” Gay rights. Here’s a way to avoid those no-win situations, tap public opinion in your favor, and grab some low hanging...um...never mind. Grab a life preserver.
When I said last week that “gay rights are human rights” I meant that with my heart, my soul and my full-on Methodist guilt. You see, when my husband spoke as a presidential candidate to leaders of the gay community in Hollywood in 1991 and said, “I have a vision for America and you are a part of it” our theme song then was “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” Well, we took the White House. Now, nearly 7,000 tomorrows have come and gone, and precious little has changed for our gay brothers and sisters. In the institutions of military and marriage, basic human rights are being denied daily. (7,001...7,002)
In military matters, all I can say is that Bill tried. We knew some religious backlash would come when he lifted the ban, but we were all caught completely by surprise when the opposition went literally underwater on a submarine with Senator Sam Nunn encouraging 18 year old sailors to shape the debate. Neither Nunn nor Colin Powell had at appetite for gay civil rights. That “compromise” went eight years under Bill, and then, the even harsher medicine came: conservatives took over and even with a lesbian daughter of the Vice President front and center, they made no effort to eradicate the injustice. Boom. Another eight years come and gone. That’s a sour 16 years. (17... 18...) But you, Mr. President, have the public on your side. You can stop this. As a converted Goldwater Girl, I’m proud that the conservative icon came full circle to say before he died that “a solider only needs to shoot straight.” Use his name. We cannot—should not—let Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell be stalled by the military leaders.
In marriage matters, I stand alone (and yes, by my man, Bill) through thick, thin, and impeachment. When you and your marriage have been put under a $55 million microscope administered by Kenneth Starr, you learn a lot. I qualify for Secretary of Mates. I know from which I speak.
And it’s ever so painful to watch a state here and a state there grant marriage rights but the vast majority bar equality. In the very same courthouses, divorce after hetero divorce is granted. Meanwhile, committed gay and lesbian couples are cheated in over a thousand ways by the tax code. H & R Blocked. So here’s an idea for you: let’s put the four Mrs. Limbaugh’s, the three Mrs. Gingrich’s, and the two Mrs. Rove’s on stage, and I’ll moderate a panel on the one-man one-woman rule. Or you could interview the two brilliant litigants from both sides—left and right—of the Bush vs. Gore Florida Supreme Court case who are arguing marriage equality California. Those are the two reasons that Prop 8 has nine lives.
Nowadays, Bill and I proudly plan Chelsea’s wedding. She is an amazing young woman if I do say so myself. The nuptials might have been held in the Rose Garden had things turned out differently. But something happened on my way to the Coronation. And after a bruising battle, I’ve come full circle—concerned again about wedding china (and China!) Something else could have turned out differently. If Chelsea had been born gay, Bill and I would want for our child a full and fulfilling life. We would want to plan Chelsea’s wedding to whomever she loved. We would love her as she is. And she would deserve a wedding. Regardless.
It was nearly two years ago at the Democratic National Convention, that the New York delegation formed a scrum around me so I could be the delegate to place your name in nomination for President of the United States. War wounds aside, and water now under the bridge, I was so proud to see you as our party’s nominee. Whether it were me—a battle scarred woman, or you an African American Kennedy, the Dems were taking the country back, with hope (and Hope, AK) in our hearts.
You got kids off the couch and turned red states blue. You got elected. Oprah cried! We all cried. Just for a moment, forget what’s under water or boiling over. We planned back then to catapult this country light years into the future.
Let’s take our LGBT friends with us, Barack. You and I know first hand that they deserve nothing less.
Brent Mundt makes a living in Washington and a life in Rehoboth.