"Her husband let us down, she won't support marriage equality, but still we can't stop dreaming about Hillary."
Okay, what gives? If I see one more gay (particularly gay male) throw down a red carpet and put up a shrine for Hillary Clinton, I'm going to lose my mind. The 2008 presidential election is going to significantly affect the prospects of improving LGBTQ people's lives. Most us know that a Democratic president is by far our best option -- unless you think Fred Thompson secretly supports marriage equality (much the same way that we like to assume that, secretly, under the covers, during warm and fuzzy time, the leading Democrats do, too).
Yet none of the leading Democrats are great on our issues. None of them (none of them) deserve our cups overflowing with gratitude and adulation. None of them, in my opinion, truly deserve our votes.
They'll get them, alright, from most LGBTQ people. But we should not give them more than we need to give in order to achieve our goals. What bugs me especially about the adoration of Hillary Clinton is how closely it follows diva-love.
Not that I'm anti-diva. But politicians are not, and should not be, on par with celebrities. They should not be made into stars, not, at least, by us. Let them do all they can to make themselves larger than life. Our job is to push back against them in every way that we can, which includes being strategic.
Say that Hillary has a relatively good record on gay rights issues. Say that she has voted positively on our issues "x" number of times. But don't say that "she's our girl." We have no girl. We have no guy. What we do have are real needs as a community.
I'm commenting on this trend now because of the most recent Advocate's cover story on Hillary, entitled, "The Object of Our Affection." Advocate editor Sean Kennedy writes a profile piece on "our community's love" for Hillary as if we all showed up and took a vote on the issue. What's more, he points out how disappointing Bill was for us (Don't Ask, DOMA, to name a few), how utterly opposed to discussing marriage equality she is, how lame, vague and middle-ground her answers are on all of our questions, and how she's saving endorsements for certain pieces of legislation she can safely stand behind.
But we're enamored with her still, he writes, and perhaps because of "the way she looked [at the Logo-HRC debate], resplendent in a coral jacket and chic black pants." "She was killing," he says, "without even talking about the issues yet."
Kennedy feels a connection with her "the same way [he] did with Madonna -- as a suburban kid." She reminds him of "[t]he wronged woman who, like some country and western heroine, won't be kept down, whether by failed health care reform or adultery." And the ultimate stick-it-to-us, he admires her as "a woman [whose] enemies have tried more than once to caricature [her] as [a] 'lesbian'. So she knows firsthand the stigma associated with homosexuality."
Last time I checked, Hillary has never been the victim of a hate crime. And she's been legally married to Bill in all 50 states for somewhere on the order of 30-40 years.
There's a long and important (if not somewhat problematic) history of gay men idolizing and deifying certain women -- the Barbaras and the Judys and, more recently, the Mariahs and the Beyonces -- but I'm going to make an argument here and now that diva-love should be kept to the entertainers. Because, if what we want from idolizing these larger than life female figures (as young queers, at least) is to see our own possible star power reflected and embodied in them, then we should only mirror such adulation with political figures when they embody and reflect our biggest political hopes and dreams -- full political and social inclusion, recognition of ourselves and our families, the creation of a just world in which we do not have to fear for our livelihoods and our loved ones.
In that regard, Hillary is certainly not a diva-worthy character. She is by no means a Diana Ross.