Monday, May 24, 2010
Rice and Beans
Reportedly, the two co-own a home in Palo Alto, CA, and share a line of credit.
They've been friends for twenty-five years.
But, they're not lesbians. Reportedly.
Oh, the rumors about Condi Rice have been swirling for years, but no one has really paid any attention to them. Mostly, the cognescenti "inside the Beltway" say she's "bisexual".
She is or she isn't. It's really her business, isn't it?
Or, is it?
"Coming out" is a very personal thing. No one can do it for you. I'm not a big proponent of "outing" anyone. However, when one is in the public eye - indeed, when one wields political power which can make a difference in the lives of others - I begin to equivocate.
As Secretary of State, Rice faced attacks from liberals in the gay community over the State Department's silence to rebuke Iran for the hanging of gay teenagers.
The Human Rights Campaign called on Rice in 2005 to condemn Iran's human rights abuses after the hanging of two gay teenagers, and to express indignation over other "horrific human rights abuses against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people across the globe".
Rice did not.
The former Secretary has, to date, also remained silent on whether gays should be allowed to serve in the military and has not commented on the permanent partners immigration act.
And, we all know that silence, more often than not, equals consent.
The rumors about Ms. Rice's sexual orientation intensified in early 2007 when people began to wonder why-oh-why in heaven's name, did John McCain choose Sarah Palin as his VEEP rather than Condi Rice.
For example, in mid-May, 2007, about 146,000 online surfers evinced a great interest in the private life of Ms. Rice, The Sunday Times reported. Folks were searching for the adequate information using only two words – ‘Condoleezza’ and ‘lesbian.’
Of course, being called a lesbian shouldn't be any big deal, but the reality is that for women (particularly single women) in public positions of power, these kinds of rumors can be very damaging.
Rumors of lesbianism have dogged women like Janet Reno, Donna Shalala, and Hillary Clinton (to name a few of the most recent women in power) for years, regardless of their veracity.
Much ado has been made about Eleanor Roosevelt's supposed lesbian affairs. Now, rumors are swirling around about Solicitor General and Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan.
But whether Rice or any of the political figures gossiped about actually are lesbians is not the point. It's the use of lesbianism as a slur that is so disturbing to me.
It's based not only on the assumption that a strong, confidant woman must not be a "real" (read: heterosexual) woman, but that only women in heterosexual relationships are "real" women. By implication, lesbians and unmarried straight women are always somehow "less than."
If this is what passes for "vetting" someone's qualifications for a particular job, no wonder there are so few women in power.
Except, of course, for women like Sarah Palin, who is suddenly everywhere on the news, with the audacity to criticize everything from the present administration's foreign policy to the oil spill in the Gulf.
She who can see Russia from her house and chants "Drill, baby, drill" when she doesn't know what else to say - which is often.
But, you see, she's 'normal'. I mean, just look at her family! Why, they are just as American as apple pie and Chevrolet.
I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder. In my view, they are a stellar example of the old adage that a little bit of power in the wrong hands can do great damage.
The worst of it is that, because of the rumor and innuendo swirling around Condi Rice she was passed up for - or, perhaps declined the possibility of - the VEEP position.
That would have made a Very Strong ticket against Obama-Biden - especially among those Democrats who were angry at the Obama Team's apparent snub of Hillary Clinton for VEEP.
Add the race card to the gender mix and you've got a pretty potent political stew - one, I'm personally relieved, was never made. It just might have changed the course of history.
However, someone in the Republican Party determined that, even though Rice was more of a hawk than McCain, the issue of sexual orientation would be too much to overcome.
Or, perhaps, Ms. Rice decided she had had enough and would return to her Palo Alto home and her position at Stanford as soon as Bush stepped down - which she apparently has done.
Enter Sarah Palin and the making of an American millionairess.
The only thing presidential about this woman - what she really seems to be all about - is The Benjamins.
And, like a true American 'success' story, she has very humble origins.
Like, Rice and Beans.