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Hillary Clinton Films Milquetoasty "It Gets Better" Video

By carolyncastiglia |

Hillary Clinton Wears Purple on October 20 in Solidarity with Gay Teens

Hillary Clinton Wears Purple on October 20 in Solidarity with Gay Teens

The Obama administration has not exactly been vocal in speaking out against bullying in general or the recent suicides of gay teens.  In searching for the president’s stance on these issues, I came across this question he was asked at a Town Hall (sponsored by MTV) last week: What can you do, if anything, to put a stop to these vicious attacks over the Internet while preserving our rights to freedom of speech?

President Obama gave a sort of vaguely philosophical response, dodging the real issue of government intervention in cyberattacks.  He indicated, however, that there’s a cultural and moral issue at hand here, as well as a legislative one, saying:

The law is a powerful thing but the law doesn’t always change what’s in people’s hearts.  And so all of us have an obligation to think about how we’re treating other people.  And what we may think is funny or cute may end up being powerfully hurtful…. And so I think there’s also a values component to this that all of us have to be in a serious conversation about.  Because ultimately peer pressure can lead people to bully, but peer pressure can also say bullying is not acceptable.

Which is where the “It Gets Better” campaign comes in.  As I reported last week, Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns gave one of the most personal, heartfelt, passionate It Gets Better speeches to date – in the middle of a city council meeting – to a standing ovation from his peers.  So while I admire Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s attempt to be a spokesperson on this issue for the administration, her recently recorded “It Gets Better” video pales in comparison to those made by people who have lived through and triumphed over the kind of bullying that drives kids to the end of their rope.

As you know, Clinton is a mother, and as such, I believe she’s sincere in her efforts here.  But what the country really needs the Obama administration to do to let GLBT youth know that it gets better is to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which was declared unconstitutional this month, then reinstated by the Court of Appeals.

Obama stated in his MTV Town Hall meeting that he “agree(s) with the basic principle that anybody who wants to serve in our armed forces and make sacrifices on our behalf, on behalf of our national security, anybody should be able to serve.  And they shouldn’t have to lie about who they are in order to serve.”  He says, “This policy will end and it will end on my watch.  But I do have an obligation to make sure that I am following some of the rules.  I can’t simply ignore laws that are out there.  I’ve got to work to make sure that they are changed.”  Apparently he has a problem with the idea of laws being changed by the Supreme Court instead of Congress, but as the civil rights movement has shown, major social changes sometimes require court involvement.

Ann Friedman at Feministing says of Clinton’s video:

I was disappointed by the passivity of her message.  I wish she had pledged to push her boss — who has dragged his feet on changing policies while many major gay-rights battles have played out in the courts instead — to increase opportunities for LGBTQ Americans.  After all, Hillary has much more political power than most people contributing to this video campaign.  While she can claim some successes, there’s still a very long way to go toward ensuring that it does, in fact, get better.

Indeed.

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About carolyncastiglia

carolyncastiglia

carolyncastiglia

Carolyn Castiglia is a New York-based comedian/writer wowing audiences with her stand-up and freestyle rap. She’s appeared in TONY, The NY Post, The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes and Life & Style. You can find Carolyn’s writing elsewhere online at MarieClaire.com and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Carolyn's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton Films Milquetoasty "It Gets Better" Video

  1. Nick says:

    I think people who feel Secretary Clinton has not done enough need to realize her jurisdiction is in foreign affairs. Thus, addressing a domestic issue like this is outside of her turf however, she felt compelled enough about the issue to take the time (which with her portfolio she has very precious little of) to film this video. Friedman’s passivity comment is a bit unfair b/c Hillary is not going to criticize her boss publicly and for all we know she might be nudging them behind the scenes. However, within her jurisdiction she has spoken out for LGBT rights by giving her own “human rights are gay rights, gay rights are human rights” speech, by condemning and working to overturn the atrocious Uganda laws and by unilaterally taking the lead by extending domestic partnership benefits to her department and thus, “pushing her boss” to adopt it for the entire administration. We all want progress on this matter and for many of us the process is moving far too slowly but let us not misplace our frustration on someone who is clearly trying to help.

  2. rachel says:

    People will always find something to complain about. You dont think this woman who has been called every gay slur during her public life has anything to add ?

  3. carolyncastiglia says:

    That’s a great point, Rachel, and one she might have mentioned. THAT would be very compelling.

  4. Laure68 says:

    I agree with Nick and rachel. I think it is amazing (and somewhat unprecedented) that someone in such a high position has spoken out on LGBT rights. If she criticizes her boss in public it won’t do anything.

    I applaud Hillary for making this video!

  5. Laure68 says:

    @carolyn – if she mentioned that, someone would criticize her, saying she still couldn’t really know how it felt to be gay. I think this is just nit picking.

  6. Manjari says:

    I agree with Nick.

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