Straight allies in Florida are lauded in this special edition of Florida Agenda as the heroes they are. Articulate, committed, and undeniably heterosexual, these advocates have deliberately stepped away from the pack to share their passion for equality. Their numbers are growing and are hardly concentrated just in South Florida. These warriors for fairness cross gender and sexual identity lines as they continue to speak out across the country. No one does it better than the ultimate ally, Democratic presidential candidate better than former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton.
In last week’s Democratic debate, the leading Presidential candidate took on her rival, Bernie Sanders, on a variety of topics, but it was when speaking of the push for non-discrimation against the LGBT community that the wife of former President Bill Clinton coalesced her campaign in clear, vibrant terms that resonated with gays everywhere.
While Sanders has centered much of his campaign rhetoric on the power brokers on Wall Street, and the massive profit mongering occurring there at the expense of those living on the edge of poverty, Clinton opened up the debate and therefore the campaign by looking beyond the country’s economy.
“We agree that we’ve got to get unaccountable money out of politics.” Clinton said. “We agree that Wall Street should never be allowed to wreck Main Street again. But here’s the point I want to make tonight. I am not a single issue candidate, and I do not believe we live in a single issue country,” she said.
“I think that a lot of what we have to overcome to break down the barriers that are holding people back, whether it’s poison in the water of the children of Flint, or whether it’s the poor miners who are being left out and left behind in coal country, or whether it is any other American today who feels somehow put down and oppressed by racism, by sexism, by discrimination against the LGBT community, against the kind of efforts that need to be made to root out all of these barriers, that is what I want to take on.
“Does Wall Street and big financial interests along with drug companies, insurance companies, big oil, all of it, have too much influence? You’re right. But if we were to stop that tomorrow, we would still have the indifference, the negligence that we saw in Flint. We would still have racism holding people back. We would still have sexism preventing women from getting equal pay. We would still have LGBT people who get married on Saturday and get fired on Monday.
So I’m going to keep talking about tearing down all the barriers that stand in the way of Americans fulfilling their potential because I don’t think our country can live up to its potential unless we give a chance to every single American to live up to theirs.”
A strong affirmation from undeniably the most powerful woman in the world today.
While it is true that her competitor in the race for the Democratic candidate for President, Bernie Sanders, has been a steadfast LGBT supporter, he has not made it an issue during the on-going campaign and debates. And though he has sided consistently with equality when the issue has been put up for a vote, he has not actively legislated for equality. It is one thing to be able to count on a vote when required; it is entirely another to lead a charge against the religious bigots and allow right wing agendas to go unchallenged.
As we salute South Florida’s own straight allies who are doing so much to enlighten our neighbors and haters, we pause to acknowledge the ultimate ally—Hillary Rodman Clinton.
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