I want to like you. I really do. You are the first woman who has a shot at winning the presidency. For me, feminist liberal from when the term was coined, the idea that a woman is a serious contender for president makes my heart full.
I can't vote for you.
I met you in person, several years ago at a fundraiser in Upstate New York. I paid a ton of money and was able to shake your hand and have the chance to ask questions. You were articulate, smart and were able to discuss a wide range of topics as if each one was something you did your dissertation on. You impressed me as one of the smartest people I have ever had the chance to hear.
I've heard your husband speak, too. You were smarter.
I think your approach to health care, back in the day, would have solved a crisis at a time when we could afford to do it. We can no longer afford it and the crisis is deeper and more troubling than ever.
I believe you had a co-pilot seat through President Clinton's two terms that provided more than insight in how to make the job work, what it entails and how much gray hair you end up with. You still want to do it -- it says a lot. I don't know for sure, but I imagine there is a bit of culture shock for even the most seasoned politician when they walk in the Oval Office for the first time. You've been there for years.
I agree with most of your current positions, especially now that you are actually against the war. I find your initial support herd mentality and will always believe Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D, CA) was the only person in D.C. who had the guts to stand up and say, "Wait. Hold on. What are we doing?" But since your change of mind, you have been key in working to hold the administration accountable, even if you've mugged for the cameras every step of the way.
I know. It goes with the territory. Politicians need photo-ops and poll numbers or else they are toast. Then the bad guys win. And after eight years of the bad guy winning and ripping apart the very essence of a federal government by systematically defunding it, all of it, we need the good guys in the worst kind of way.
Which makes me want to vote for you. But I can't. I won't.
Why? Because your pandering to the gay community is beyond reprehensible to me. I know you like gay people, I know you think gay people are okay and wonderful and deserve rights...some rights.
When asked about a recent misunderstanding about an event planned that had to be changed, your people released the following statement:
"Hillary Clinton's long record as a friend and ally to the LGBT community speaks for itself. As president, she will work hard to move our nation closer to the promise of fairness and equality that all Americans deserve. She looks forward to addressing the issues important to the LGBT community at the Human Rights Campaign/LOGO presidential forum next month."
Senator Clinton? Fairness and equality for the gay and lesbian community isn't something that will do well in the polls. It's not some separate institution of civil unions. Please, as a person who knows about civil rights, you can't even talk separate but equal and not twitch. We must have federally recognized gay marriage. We must repeal the ridiculous Defense of Marriage Act President Clinton signed when backed into a corner in his first term. It's about taking leadership that will not poll well, will not look good and is unpopular.
I don't think you have it. I don't hear it in your speeches. I didn't see it with your stand on the Iraq war.
I want you to get it. I want you to read this letter and say, gosh, Sara, you are right. Winning the race doesn't mean much if I can't make some real changes. And more than that? I want to stand for something. I want to make people believe in leadership again. That means tackling popular issues like getting the hell out of Iraq and finding a way to use diplomacy to stabilize the Middle East, funding public education and maybe taking the bold initiative to add an amendment to the Constitution that says all children in this country deserve a sound, basic education, one with books and resources and well-trained teachers. There are so many more, it's hard to begin to list them all. Things the public is hungry for because we've been slowly starved by the current administration.
And then there are the hard things, like real equality for gays and lesbians. It's not simply about marriage, although marriage is an essential step. It's about hate crimes legislation and taking on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act's opponents with passion and confidence. To build bridges with the religious communities whipped into a frenzy that they would no longer be allowed freedom of speech that none of these bills would ever do such a thing.
I don't have any room for compromises on this. Violence against the GLBT community has been documented over and over and over again. We are not very far from the violence against pride marchers in Moscow in May or at the Budapest Gay Pride March on July 7th, where people were "violently attacked by hundreds of counter-demonstrators armed with Molotov cocktails, bottles, eggs, and nylon-stocking coshes filled with sand -- as police stood passively by during the anti-gay violence."
I'm tired of reading about yet one more story about gays and lesbians being torn apart because of the lack of marriage equality, like "Patrick Atkins and Brett Conrad. Together 25 years, Patrick's unexpected aneurism left him in his mother's care -- who promptly spend tons of money to use the court system to discredit all the legal protections the men had used to try and validate their relationship. Patrick's mother said to the judge, she'd rather have her son never recover than to recover and go back to his partner of 25years.
How many more times do I have to read these stories? Can you imagine being kept out of the room and having no information given to you when your husband went in for heart surgery? More importantly, do you understand it is a right you have that thousands of Americans don't?
I cannot compromise because I have been spoon-fed too many promises by politicians and end up with nightmarish policies like Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act. It hurts too many people. It feeds hate.
Please, Senator Clinton. Take a stand. Be a leader.
In my opinion? At this moment? You are not.
And I really, really want you to be.