Dancing Faster Than Ever?
If you are a resident of New York City, there is an ad running
on local television that is priceless. It features Ed Koch,
an almost archetypical New Yorker, a Republican, and a former
Mayor of the city. He has, unlike this current crop of Republicans,
a sense of humor.
The city, or the Republican Committee, is utilizing him to
encourage New Yorkers to be friendly and helpful to Delegates
to the Republican Convention as they descend upon New York.
This week, however, I realized the commercials were in very,
very heavy rotation. I couldn?t turn on local television without
seeing former Mayor Koch encouraging all of us to be nice
to his fellow Republicans. Their frequency amazed me and then
I realized that, of course, they would be frequent. This is
a Democratic City, historically filled with antipathy towards
I know a number of people who intended to demonstrate against
them while they were here. However, many people I know who
intended to protest are now planning to ignore the Republicans
and have their own party.
The sense of urgency for making a public statement against
the Republican Party is waning. Most people are sensing, suddenly,
that this sitting President is vulnerable and defeat-able.
No one really thought that a few months ago. People who despised
President George W. Bush thought there was nothing that really
could be done to stop the Republican juggernaut.
The dour and sour visages of the Republican Administration
now seem dour and sour not because of the seriousness of the
global situation but because they sense the free ride they
thought they got when Bush became President is now on the
Bush chose not to go to visit the NAACP. Kerry was present
and impressive. Bush has seemed a bit thick tongued in his
reasoning about not going.
Indeed, if something could be said about the change in the
last few weeks it is this: the eloquent and easy voices of
the Republicans, the smooth and confident voices that have
dominated the political scene for the last few years have
become: thick tongued. The voices of everyone connected with
this administration now sound awkward, a bit strident, defensive
and very, very annoyed.
I have never identified with anyone whose last name was Reagan
but I suddenly find myself quite taken with Ron Reagan. The
son of the most revered Republican since Eisenhower is speaking
to the Democratic Convention. While I am sure he will confine
his comments to stem cell research, the very fact he is speaking
there, and with the blessing of his mother, is phenomenal
and I applaud him. And her.
The Republicans don't want to hear from stem cell research.
The Senate has blocked an amendment to ban gay marriage.
That it did shocked me. And filled me with hope. The subject
of gay marriage has been a bit abstract even to me. It became
less abstract when Tripp was in the emergency room and I wanted
to check him on him. A very stern lady, who looked very conservative,
challenged me as I asked to be admitted through security.
Are you family, she asked.
I am his partner, I responded. My heart skipped beats, wondering
if I would have problems. I was in Hudson, not New York City.
But when I said that, she smiled and pressed the button that
opened the security doors.
Then I knew why it was important that gay marriage be part
of the national conversation. However we come to resolution
about that issue, I want that resolution to be absolutely
clear that I am not barred by lack of legality from caring
for the person who is most important to me.
My immediate and very practical response was to get us to
an attorney and make sure our paperwork protected both of
Tripp's illness personalized my dispute with the Republican
Party. It seems to want to prevent me from acknowledging all
that is best about my life.
Mayor Koch, you need to dance faster.
Last Friday I received a phone call from John Cadwell, a
television executive and producer whom I have known, on and
off, for the last dozen years. He had worked for the BBC and
Sunbow in distribution. He produced a documentary mini-series
for Bravo. He was negotiating a deal with LOGO and asked my
input on some issues he was dealing with around that. On Monday
I got an e-mail saying he had passed away unexpectedly on
Fire Island, where he was on holiday. John was originally
from Wisconsin but was, to me, a quintessential New Yorker.
I had been out of touch with him for a number of years but
reconnected with him several months ago at Real Screen in
D.C. We had talked several times since then. I was looking
forward to him being a more active part of my life. I want
to acknowledge his passing. He was relatively young; there
was much left he would have given.