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  1. #1

    Jim Mcgreevey: "i Am A Gay American"

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    By Arianna Huffington

    On Thursday, my day started at eight in the morning speaking together with
    New Jersey Senator John Corzine at a breakfast sponsored by ANGLE -- an
    organization consisting of the gay and lesbian leadership of Southern
    California and a magnet for political candidates running for office and
    raising funds. A couple of hours after I had left the breakfast, where I
    had been surrounded by successful gay men and women -- businesspeople,
    politicians, accountants, even a priest -- my phone started ringing off
    the hook. New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey had just resigned and
    announced that he is gay, and it seemed as if the bookers from every
    television talk show in America -- from CNN‰s ‹American MorningŠ to ABC‰s
    ‹NightlineŠ -- had simultaneously had the exact same thought: ‹Let's get
    Arianna Huffington." I was the proverbial two birds being killed with one
    stone -- a political commentator whose ex-husband had come out as gay.

    As the day progressed, it became clear that this was a story unfolding on
    so many levels only a Shakespearean drama or a Verdi opera could do
    justice to it. There was the personal, the political, possibly the legal,
    and who knows what else to be revealed by the time we get to Act Five.

    But we are still in Act One. And in Act One the spotlight is on the nexus
    of the personal and the political. McGreevey‰s resignation announcement
    was undoubtedly the best political speech he‰s ever made. It was powerful,
    compelling, emotional, and in sharp contrast to the pre-packaged
    speechifying we are so accustomed to hearing from politicians. At this
    profound crisis point in his political and personal lives he sounded
    almost liberated. It's hard to resist playing armchair psychoanalyst and
    wondering: Did McGreevey unconsciously make certain choices -- like
    putting his lover on the government payroll in a high-profile position he
    was not qualified for -- in order to force upon himself Thursday's public
    announcement: "I am a gay American"?

    We can't, of course, know what was going on in McGreevey's psyche, but
    hiring his lover, Golan Cipel -- an Israeli foreign national unable to
    obtain a federal security clearance to be the homeland security czar of
    New Jersey (and at a salary of $110,000 a year, no less) -- is the height
    of recklessness, and only makes sense as a taxpayer-funded cry for help.
    Clearly no good could come of such an appointment -- unless the governor
    was unconsciously hoping that the appointment would eventually force his
    hand. Otherwise, he would not have flaunted his closeness to Cipel,
    leading him to self-destructive acts such as accompanying Cipel and a
    realtor on a walkthrough of a townhouse the newly arrived Israeli was
    about to rent a short distance from McGreevey's house. It's textbook human
    behavior: the harder you try to suppress the truth, the more inevitable it
    is that it will find a way to come out.

    ‹Thinking that I was doing the right thing,Š he said, ‹I forced what I
    thought was an acceptable reality onto myself, a reality which is layered
    and layered with all the, quote, 'good things,' and all the, quote, 'right
    things' of typical adolescent and adult behavior." It‰s worth noting that
    McGreevey made this statement on the same day that the California Supreme
    Court annulled the state's 4000 same- marriages, raising the question:
    What if the world were a more welcoming place where gay people could have
    in their lives all the "good things" and the "right things" without having
    to pretend they're straight? After all, does anyone doubt that it's
    exponentially harder to attain elective office if you're openly gay? How
    else do you explain that we have no gay senators, only three gay members
    of Congress, and an openly gay governor of New Jersey only until Nov. 15?

    But even if Jim McGreevey did not want to hold public office, if he just
    wanted a marriage and children -- natural urges, perhaps as powerful as
    the sexual one -- the easiest (and indeed the only legal way) to do so
    remains opting for a heterosexual relationship. So the human costs we only
    got a glimpse of on Thursday -- a shattered marriage, the anguish
    inflicted on his parents, his wife, his daughters -- are not just the
    result of his personal choices but of the roadblocks society continues to
    place in the path of the complete acceptance of gay men and women.

    By the time the curtain comes up on this drama‰s Act Five we could be in
    the middle of a serious political scandal that may force McGreevey to step
    down even before Nov. 15. Or we may be in the middle of his political
    resurrection, looking not at a tortured politician with a secret draining
    away precious energy but a free man fully -- and finally -- accepting
    himself. Either way, he had to practically drive the car right off the
    cliff in order to put himself on the road to Thursday‰s declaration. And
    that's an indictment of our society and our political culture wars.

    So until the final curtain falls, let‰s seize the moment to reaffirm,
    loudly and without reservation, that to be gay is to be normal -- whether
    you‰re a governor or a gardener, a public figure or a very private one.

  2. #2


    Excellent commentary.

  3. #3


    By the way, she's highly qualified to write that article, having been married to a Congressman, Michael Huffington, who left her after realizing he was gay. Same story.

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