OpEd: I Got to Meet a Guy that Calls Hillary Clinton his Bestie
Ten days ago, I got to meet a guy that calls Hillary Clinton his bestie… His name is Terry McAuliffe.
I got to work, and was doing my normal prep for the day (a little extra pep in my step since it was my birthday) when my boy Josh hollered at me from the kitchen, “you know there’s gonna be a bunch of ‘you people’ in here today, right?”
As I screwed my face into a question mark towards him… A young man in a suit walked through the door, pleasantly introduced himself, and inquired where he could begin setting up a greeting station. I rapidly got the rundown on how there was to be a short function for the Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate from 5:00 to 6:00. It wasn’t until 4:56, when he walked in the door, that I realized that Terry McAuliffe himself was going to be in attendance.
You can discern a lot about a person by how they treat the people who serve them. I have personally been waiting on prominent politicians in this city for 12 years. So when I describe McAuliffe as the most grateful and courteous “public persona” I have ever met, it is with a substantial and very firm basis of comparison.
As a bartender, a large part of my job involves regulating rooms full of human interaction – i.e. Cutting people off, interrupting hearty debates before they escalate into fights, and knowing when to tell Creeples McSleezeballs when to quit hitting on Suzie Sitsbyherself.
Being able to size-up a person’s personality is something in which I take tremendous pride. That being said, I found Terry to be extremely genuine and effortlessly charismatic. For roughly an hour I observed him interacting with about 30 people. He never responded with what I call “flash-card” answers. He quite easily bounced from circle to circle answering specific and intricate questions without repeating himself.
It was exuberantly refreshing, considering most of my listening to politicians involved a television, a scheduled debate, and several cocktails. McAuliffe said he had a very clear and motivated objective to put an end to the Tea Party movement in this state. I don’t believe that any group at all should be completely stifled for having extreme points of view, but I do always try to truly look at things objectively.
And from a sternly objective point of view I would point out that the Tea Party is a group that proudly waves the “don’t tread on me” flag, while gleefully treading on the liberties and pursuits of happiness of entire sectors of society, including women and the LGBTQ community.
With all of this in mind I do not vilify Terry for having a somewhat “anti-tea party” stance. Some people may consider McAuliffe to not be “liberal enough” when it comes to extremely important issues such as marriage equality, (he’s said he supports it, but wont spend time in office pursuing it) but at the very least he has placed himself on the accepting and caring side of history.
It was more than a year ago that he publicly announced he was a proponent of marriage equality, and with people like Hillary Clinton in his “tree-fort” of political buddies, I feel like there is an inside influence upon him to stick to his guns and continue to be a public voice for the cause.
Both McAuliffe and Cuccinelli are Catholic. But, of course, there is a massively polarizing defining point from that – McAuliffe acts upon the instinct that the views and practices of his religion should have zero baring on his office or political actions. While anything Cuccinelli spouts induces a need to paraphrase Russel Simmons… “why don’t you just worry about doin’ you?”
Unfortunately McAuliffe’s camp has not responded to GayRVA’s attempts to open a dialogue leading up to the election*, but it has been apparent for quite some time that of the three choices in this election, the only person willing to put a rainbow flag behind their name is Terry McAuliffe.
In politics concerning LGBTQ issues right now, there are two main options on the side of progress:
1) stand firm and bide your time while slowly tempering the waters toward acceptance and new public policy
2) become a political martyr for a jagged pinch of forward momentum in the name of gay pride.
I believe both can be extremely effective, but the main problem with number 2 is that, to quote Alan Rickman in “Dogma”, you have to die to become a martyr. Some may say that Terry McAuliffe’s multiple attempts to become governor in different states is a negative attribute of character. But I believe it is quite the opposite. I commend any person who stops at nothing to achieve a personal goal. It is only a testament to his tenacity and positive outlook.
If you ask me… We need a lot more of that around here. And… the guy came behind the bar and sang “happy birthday” to me with all of his buddies… Which was undeniably awesome.
*numerous attempts by GayRVA to speak with McAuliffe have been denied or ignored – Editor, Brad Kutner
Xtina Fitch is the Founder, Director, and Choreographer of XF Company of Dance. She studied Engineering and Mathematics at N.C. State University. She has been teaching dance professionally and Bar-tending in RVA for more than a decade, and is thrilled to join the GayRVA team!
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