Meeting Hillary Clinton

Sunday evening, while watching our local news channel, I learned that Secretary Hillary Clinton would be visiting a restaurant the next morning that was only about 20 minutes from my home. I turned to Honey and suggested he stop by on his way to work, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go myself.

I saw Mrs. Clinton in my area in 2008 when she was competing with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. We stood in line forever before going through intense security, then stood for an even longer period as we listened to introductory speeches from local politicians before finally getting to see Hillary give her stump speech. After she finished and made her way along the front of the crowd, I got close to her, but not close enough to shake her hand or do much more than call her name along with the throng of people around me.

Monday morning’s experience proved to be much more personal.

Honey and I arrived at the restaurant about an hour before she was scheduled to appear, and the parking lot was already filled to capacity, with cars beginning to park in the lots of neighboring businesses. We entered the restaurant to find it was already standing room only, and decided to hang out near the main entrance so we would be guaranteed close proximity to her when she arrived.

Secret Service agents soon appeared and announced that this last-minute stop hadn’t provided them with the time to make proper security preparations, so they would be checking people with metal detectors in order to keep Mrs. Clinton safe. After putting officers in front of the exits to block anyone else from entering, they began wanding the inside occupants.

Several minutes later, we were instructed to move away from the door and stand in the aisles between the restaurant tables. We grumbled aloud, thinking we were going to miss our chance at getting a handshake. Around 45 minutes after her scheduled appearance, Mrs. Clinton walked into the building.

After greeting the restaurant owner and posing for a photo with him, she greeted the crowd and gave a very short speech. She then said she would be greeting everyone. We were ecstatic!

She worked her way through the crowd, laughing and posing for photos, all the while surrounded by national press and security. She was extremely personable, and also much shorter than one would think. She was wearing a pink pantsuit with a scarf tucked into the neckline, and I would describe her as downright grandmotherly. In a cute way, of course.

When she finally got close enough for us to talk to her, Honey introduced himself and then me as his partner of 11 years. She was delighted. He asked if she would pose for a photo with both of us, and as we positioned ourselves, she said she loved the Hillary signature pin I had attached to my jacket. I handed my camera to Alison Grimes (!) who had accompanied Mrs. Clinton on her visit, and we posed for a couple of photos.

Hillary was beginning to move to the next guests when Honey stuck his phone into the air to get a selfie with her in the background, and she unexpectedly leaned in for a few more photos. After he told her he was honored to meet her, and I told her to stay strong, we moved out of the way to make room for other people.

It was only when we got into the car to drive away that it sort of sunk in how incredible the whole thing was. I know a lot of people despise Hillary Clinton, but regardless of what you think of her political views or personal history, this is a woman who was the wife of a very popular governor, First Lady of the United States for two terms, senator from New York for 8 years, and Secretary of State under President Obama. She is one of the most recognizable and powerful women in the world, and I feel very fortunate to have had the pleasure of meeting the person I hope will become the next President of the United States.

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Two steps back?

The thing that bothers me the most about the possibility of Romney winning is that social conservatives are sure to point out that the first president in our history to publicly support same-sex marriage lost the election – even though it will probably have little or nothing to do with it, since this election is apparently more about style than substance.

It seems in the LGBT community that we must continually take one step forward and two steps backward. It’s disheartening, especially when the years of our lives seem to slip away much faster than the progression of our cause. I remember telling Honey when we met that we would probably have the federal right to same-sex marriage within five years. That was almost 8 years ago.

Stephen Colbert on evangelicals voting for Romney

I don’t understand someone who believes that the Bible is inerrant, and every word is straight from the mouth of God would then vote for somebody who believes that after Jesus rose from the dead, he took a hard left and went to America. Because that’s not our tradition, that’s not in the truth of our book.

Stephen Colbert

Dealing with the consequences

A few months ago, I made the mistake of joining in on an online conversation about Mitt Romney. He had been tossing the word “conservative” around quite a bit around that time, and the media had pointed out how he seemed to be doing so mainly because the other candidates on the Republican side were considered more appealing to conservative voters. When I pointed out that Romney’s use of the word was probably more about being socially conservative than fiscally conservative, I opened a can of worms. Two women commenced to attacking me personally over my sexuality. While I tried to keep my responses as cordial and impersonal as possible, they did the opposite. As other users joined in the discussion and began getting nasty with the women, I bowed out.

Last night, for some unknown reason, one of these women resurrected the thread by posting the following:

Brian… YOU are a pig using such language online and TO a WOMAN… YOU can go straight to hell MAN using the F word w. and about me. Stuff your immorality up where the sun doesn’t shine. ROMNEY 2012… OBAMA SUCKS and NEEDS TO BE OUT In NOV!

Keep in mind that I never used any foul language in my comments. Another user did, but apparently the gay guy had to suffer the consequences. When the other woman jumped back in to congratulate her for her comment, she continued.

Good on YOU ANA… NO reason we have to take the filth Brian and all of his SICK and IMMORAL LIFESTYLE, virtureless (sic) lifestyle.

The second woman accused gays of causing wars, corrupting the entertainment industry, and worshiping false gods. Neither woman seemed to feel the least bit conflicted by being so hateful while claiming to be Christian.

I spent the better part of today trying to figure out how to respond to this outrageous behavior. I posted a response out of anger, but quickly deleted it before either of them responded. I posted a sarcastic response in hopes they wouldn’t think I cared what they said, but deleted it as well. Of course I cared. I finally just gave up and blocked them from being able to see my comments or profile page.

The thing that bothers me so much is that I am 38 years old and still encountering people who can bully me into silence with their pathetic, ignorant words. I “turn the other cheek” because it’s just who I am. I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings, even when they are hurting mine.

The lady who was particularly vicious had photos of her family on her profile page. Although part of me wanted to tell her where to go and what to do, I couldn’t help thinking that is someone’s grandmother. How would I feel if someone said something terrible to my mother online? But what if my mother attacked another person like that just because they are gay? Wouldn’t she deserve it?

I know, for the rest of my life, I will continue to come across people who feel it’s their responsibility to show me the error of my ways. I guess that’s just one of the consequences of living my life openly. It hurts, but hiding my true self would hurt so much more.

UK’s The Guardian posts scathing analysis of NDAA

Jonathan Turley has published a rather troubling article about the NDAA bill Obama signed into law on New Year’s Eve.

President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. It was a symbolic moment, to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking and celebrating, Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country … and citizens partied in unwitting bliss into the New Year.

Read the full article here.

Obama signs NDAA into law

Well, Pres. Obama waited until yesterday to sign NDAA into law. He knew the news outlets would be focused on New Year’s celebrations instead of the fact that he just put his stamp-of-approval on a bill that effectively destroys the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Oh, and did I mention that it also violates international law? America is supposed to set the example for the rest of the world, and we have just drastically lowered the bar.

Also, when you read headlines on the web to the effect of “Obama signs NDAA bill with reservations” make sure you read the fine print. He didn’t have reservations about holding you indefinitely or not respecting the Bill of Rights. Obama is upset because he feels the bill doesn’t give him enough power. Yeah, he wants to be personally able to determine who gets held indefinitely and where.

He did issue a meaningless statement yesterday to appease everyone saying “my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens,” but what about future administrations? What if, God forbid, someone like Newt Gingrich were to become president? Can you imagine a certified crazy ass like that having virtually unlimited power to arrest American citizens and hold them without trial?

This might be a bit melodramatic, but I think we just doomed ourselves. Barack Obama is an extremely intelligent guy and he knows exactly what he is doing.