Last Tuesday Terry Bean, one of Oregon’s most influential power brokers, gay or otherwise, sent me and 50 of his closest friends an impassioned email endorsing Barack Obama for president.
In the email, Bean announced his role in a statewide effort to raise $600,000 for Obama during the last few days of March. “Our support for Barack Obama might prove to be the most important political act of our lives,” concluded Bean, a fiftysomething who hosts the most powerful people from both political parties at his West Hills home.
The March 18 email was really weird timing for Bean’s pronouncement, considering it was just on the heels of revelations via the media clusterfuck du jour over past homophobic tirades from Obama’s longtime preacher.
In the more historical picture, I found it even weirder because it’s a fairly common, if not thoroughly poll-tested, notion that the gays love Hillary Clinton. Maybe it has something to do with her husband, Bill, and his charismatic style of leadership. Maybe it’s a sympathetic synapse that triggers because of her hubby and his charismatic wanderings. Whatever it is, like Latinos, the working class and educated white women, Hillary could always count on our support. Until now.
“Oh shit,” I thought to myself. “I wonder if Terry knows something about Hillary I don’t know.”
Bean told me over the phone it’s just because Obama has a better chance to beat McCain in the general election than Hillary. “She voted for the war and [Obama] opposed it. I can’t think of a starker difference between the two.” Although he’s more likely to vote for a woman candidate over a man and he too believes it’s time for a woman president, Bean feels so strongly about Obama that it ends up outweighing any other factors.
Which leads us to the real reason the GLBTQ-XYZ crowd is abandoning our great white (woman) hope: Queers are tired of backing a loser (like Kerry in ’04 and Gore in ’00). And it looks like that’s what she’s going to be now that it’s impossible for her to gain enough delegates, super or not, to make up the difference.
So why do I still plan on voting for Hillary Clinton? Because I believe in her; more specifically, her struggle.
I don’t care that people call her a self-obsessed, ballsy broad. Or a “bitch.” Or that she takes no prisoners. In fact, that’s exactly why I like her. She can slug it out with the best of them in the hard, unglamorous world of government work. She gets the job done, dammit, despite enduring the wrath and ridicule of an entire nation for years now. And I truly believe she cares a helluva lot more about my gay ass than any eloquent black man who gives good speech. Fact is, she’s been rode hard and put away wet—and still comes back for more. If that isn’t reflective of our queer struggle, then I really don’t know what is.
Which brings me back to Bean’s “most important political act of our lives” statement. I’m sorry, Terry, but I’ve got to call you on that. Mr. Bean, go right ahead and vote for the dude you think might actually be able to end this Republican-run nightmare. But don’t tell me who to vote for. I’ve already picked a “winner,” even if she loses.