[From the internet -- the tragic story of the betrayal of the American Presidency to a mindlessly self-destructive lifestyle. William Clinton is guilty, in my opinion, of high treason in the highest office of our civil government. Not only for selling out American security abroad to communist China, but selling out our security here at home. The "struggle for equality" touted below is nonsense. See Homosexuality: Good and Right in the Eyes of God? E. Fox.]
By Deb Price
(Published November 14, 1997)
Looking gorgeous, feeling beautiful, 1,500 gay people in tuxedos and evening gowns filled the vast banquet hall with supercharged, almost visibly electric anticipation. Each of us had waited so long for this night -- and not just the five years since Bill Clinton was first elected president. We'd been waiting all our lives.
Impishly dazzling in a cream pantsuit, Ellen DeGeneres swept into the room, with her mom and movie star partner Anne Heche in tow, instantly bringing us to our feet to cheer her courage, talent and grace. Ellen quickened pulses but for once wasn't the main attraction.
President Clinton was expected. And everyone at the Human Rights Campaign's sold-out dinner Nov. 8 at Washington, D.C.'s Grand Hyatt Hotel, just blocks from the White House, wanted to witness his becoming the first sitting president ever to address a gay-rights group.
With the evening well under way and the president nowhere in sight, I couldn't suppress the nagging fear that he would send an assistant, a telegram, an excuse -- and not show up. Clinton's relationship with the gay community has always had a rare, familial intensity -- with anger, love, hope and disappointment potently mixed. So here we were, all dressed up, our expectations sky high. "Don't hurt us again," I thought.
I should never have doubted him. President Clinton stepped out onto the stage and, in full view of a national TV audience, embraced HRC executive director Elizabeth Birch. By extension, he embraced every gay American. The entire room exploded into a roaring standing ovation of welcome and affection that lasted and lasted -- until it was clear by the glisten in Clinton's eyes that he knew something important in the life of our country was happening.
The president had barely uttered a dozen words before a shout of "We love you, Bill!" echoed through the hall. And he knew it was true.
If Clinton had made only perfunctory remarks, the evening still would have been historic. But he elevated it to a noble occasion by staking out the moral high ground on behalf of the gay civil rights movement, describing it to the nation as part of the never-ending struggle to make the American ideal of equality a reality for all.
Once he said "gays and lesbians," it was as if a dam had burst, with words of acceptance and support spilling forth. Gone was the deer- caught-in-the-headlights look of a year ago, when candidate Clinton blanched when asked about his support for outlawing anti-gay job discrimination.
Here, instead, was a leader looking comfortable as he declared, "All America loses when any person is denied or forced out of a job because of sexual orientation. ... It is wrong. And it should be illegal."
And here was a president urging gay Americans to come out so that straight Americans will realize -- as he does -- that they have gay friends and co-workers. Noting that anti-gay attitudes can be changed, he told gay Americans, "I hope that we will embrace good people who are trying to overcome their fears."
Standing in front of HRC's "equal-mark" posters, Clinton aligned himself with the gay quest for equality, saying, "We have to broaden the imagination of America. We are redefining, in practical terms, the immutable ideals that have guided us from the beginning." Working toward a society that fully embraces gay Americans is both a "good obligation" and a "grand opportunity," he proclaimed.
The president then plunged into the crowd, shaking hands and accepting heartfelt praise. Lesbians in heels climbed onto chairs to snap his photo. Gay men plucked yellow roses out of centerpieces as proof the magical evening had been real. All of us who'd long yearned to put words in Clinton's mouth were suddenly speechless, dazed, thankful. Finally, a president had told the nation it must learn to embrace gay Americans.
Clinton can be thanked at White House, Washington, D.C. 20500 or email@example.com. A full text of his speech is available at http://library.whitehouse.gov.
Later, after the president departed, the black-tie dinner turned into an exuberant dance. As a disco beat pounded, an old gay anthem about refusing to be abused and powerless restored our voices. There we were, in sequins and silk, belting out "I Will Survive!" President Clinton's monumental speech had served to remind each of us how far we've come, how much we've survived.
Our struggle for equality will survive. And one day America will keep her promise.
Write to Price in care of GNS Features, 1000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22229-0001. E-mail her in care of firstname.lastname@example.org
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