If we're on the verge of Hillary or Elizabeth or an equally dynamic first woman Chief Executive, what's stopping, inevitably, the first homosexual American President?
Sex as a political bone to chew is becoming so passé. So Monica revved things up for Clinton, but he soared way beyond, and does still. The sexploits of Kennedy, Eisenhower, FDR -- we've been there ad nauseum. LBJ had a well-documented affair over a long period with Virginia socialite Alice Glass. Even saintly Jimmy Carter at least publicly "lusted" in his heart. One could argue that an excess of testosterone is the requisite for anybody expected to face down the endless likes of Putin and Bin Laden.
Nothing new about all of this. The just-published love-letters of Warren G. Harding, our 29th president and duly married, make explicit the 15-year affair with his mistress Carrie Fulton Phillips, ending just prior to his assuming office in 1921. He referred to his penis as "Jerry" "climbing mountains" for her. How quaint. Perhaps this will elevate the man to some semblance of recognition, otherwise widely considered to be our worst chief executive in history. But the sex lives of our elected leaders are losing cachet.
Do we doubt Mrs. Clinton's capacity for bravado, smack in the legacy of Angela M., The Iron Lady, Golda Meir, Ireland's Mary Robinson, the many other women heads-of-state? The U.S. is just last to hurdle this one.
True, once we smash the barrier and promote a female, maybe the first gay male president (not to disqualify the wonderfully-out lesbian Senator Tammy Baldwin) will have to have been a Navy Seal. Or an NFL first draft. Because if he does have a chance, he will of course be studly and married with two adorable children raised from birth. His and his husband's semen will have been mixed so the fertilized, implanted egg will be unequivocally theirs, the perfect, storybook family: Dick and Dick and Jane and Johnnie...
At any rate, the male president, bottom line, must be an inseminator.
The surrogate mother, too, will have unimpeachable credentials for beauty, brains and a back-story as good as Wendy Davis's but with no flukes. Impoverished after liquidating all she owned for her sister's kidney transplant, she was forced to earn her tuition to Harvard Medical School, studying while acting as a birthing collaborator...
The teenage trysts, the one-nighters and failed first relationships for the gay icon as well as for his husband will in fact endear them to the young generation of voters who by this point ridicule the calcified ways of yore, and now determine presidential elections.
Recent letters to the Editor of the New York Times get to the point:
When young people are voting for the first time, they are not yet deeply involved in the economy. Many will have worked a few minimum-wage jobs, and some will have never worked for pay. Eighteen-year-olds are more concerned with same-sex marriage than the national debt.
Furthermore, the next generation of voters is coming of age surrounded by social media, which is rampant with social activism. Thus it is more likely that teenagers will vote on social issues which are easier to comprehend, are emotionally invigorating and feel personally relevant.
--Maya Kaufman, New York
...the future political leanings of today's young...include social issues--such as same-sex marriage; women's right to choose, to have access to contraceptives and to be paid the same as men... So long as the G.O.P. continues to market itself to the ever-declining audience of older, white voters, it will lose the larger war.
--Daniel Grant, Amherst, Mass.
But don't write off older voters per se. Joe Nocera is his essay "My American Family" writes of his 87-year-old mother, daughter of deep-seated Boston Irish/English, who married the son of an Italian immigrant and lived entrenched in Providence with their Old World rootstock. Today's Providence mayor is Angel Tavoras, son of Dominican Republic immigrants, Tavoras now running for governor. (Jorge Elorza, of Guatemalan immigrants, is running to replace him as mayor.) Norcera's elderly mom hosted a "meet and greet" for Tavoras. "It's their turn," sums up Norcera of his mother's motivation.
Would she vote for a gay? Her grandchildren could care less, and will outnumber her.
Latent and seemingly-idle between the outspoken extremes of our political parties is the so-called Silent Majority. Fairness is the bedrock of our democracy. Even the lunatics in Texas get re-elected. But a real effort to bridge the partisan divide is exemplified by a bunch of U.S. Representatives from both sides of the aisle who workout together. They don't talk politics (so they claim), just sweat. Meanwhile, two of them -- Republican Aaron Schock of Illinois (his shirtless six-pack blasted on the cover of Men's Health: there's gay liberation!) and Democrat (Ms.) Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii -- have co-founded the Congressional Future Caucus to work together toward long-term solutions affecting the next generation. They've also introduced a bipartisan immigration bill. And their workout buddies include House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, one of the more vocal G.O.P. stalwarts. Don't write off younger, buff Republicans either!
Although such things are happening slowly but surely, will being queer continue to inhibit the likelihood of the first gay president?
Many regard our 15th, James Buchanan, as a likely homosexual, the only bachelor president. His vice-president, William King, previously senator from Alabama, was the only bachelor ever in this office. The two of them lived together for 15 years in Washington. King was called "Miss Nancy" by Andrew Jackson, "Mrs. James Buchanan" by President James Polk's law partner, and "Buchanan's better half" and "Aunt Fancy" by others. Senator King was noted for his "fastidious habits and conspicuous intimacy" with bachelor Buchanan. Their orientation was widely rumored to be gay. They were known as "the Siamese Twins," slang at the time for gays and lesbians.
When King was appointed envoy to France in 1844, Buchanan wrote to a friend: "I am now solitary and alone, having no companion in the house with me. I have gone wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any of them." The two men's families destroyed all their correspondence; Buchanan himself ordered that all his letters be burnt upon his death.
Alright. So we are talking about the first openly gay U.S. president.
I'm not holding my breath.