On the George Washington Bowl of Orchids Project: An Ode To Hillary Clinton

08May08

In which The Gay Recluse documents the sunset of a dream.

Today the tide seemed to finally turn against Hillary Clinton.

We felt bad about it, but mostly on behalf of our mother. She’s in her seventies now and really wanted Hillary to win.

She’s spent the better part of four decades fighting for women’s “equality.” As people used to say in the 70s, she’s a women’s libber! (At least that’s one expression that’s gone by the wayside.)

But so were we! As a child, we picketed the White House and marched on Washington to try to drum up support for the Equal Rights Amendment. (We’ve been on the losing side of almost everything, it seems.)

Ronald Reagan once grabbed our mother when she was demonstrating against him in Pittsburgh. This was during his first campaign for president and he was making a visit to Pittsburgh. My mother and her best friend Connie were both dressed up in monkey suits and Reagan — this was at the airport — lost his temper. He grabbed her by the front of her monkey suit and screamed in her face: “What’s wrong with you women?”

It was almost a big scandal. We’ll always remember the exact date because it was Halloween, 1980. It was exciting because our mother was fielding calls from national news wires.

But our mother lost her taste for demonstrations after the Ronald-Reagan incident. She said that she was so angry for so long, it finally wore her out. One thing’s for sure: we’ll never be nostalgic for Reagan.

We could never run for office, either. If we were Hillary Clinton, we’d be so ready to quit.

As any cut flower will tell you, fading aspirations are the most beautiful.

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4 Responses to “On the George Washington Bowl of Orchids Project: An Ode To Hillary Clinton”

  1. A most beautiful series of photos and commentary/poetry.

  2. 2 Ted Hoover

    Matthew:

    Reading this almost made me cry! I remember when the Reagan thing happened to your Mom and Connie. God, that was all so long ago. Your Mom and I demonstrated at the 1980 Republican Convention in Detroit. I also remember me, Pat and Connie at some demo in Richmond, VA … and the MOST adorable man in the world was standing nearby. Connie and your Mom were physically pushing me toward him.

    Thanks (I think) for bringing those memories back.

    Ted Hoover

  3. Ted! Thanks for reading and filling in some of the lines. I often regret not coming out earlier, so that I could have shared a laugh or two with you about many things related to growing up in NOW.

  4. 4 Connie Boyle

    Hey Matt, Really enjoyed reliving the entire thing! However, you left out the defining part. We were carrying a sign that said “don’t monkey with women’s rights!” —– thus the monkey getup. Good to see your voice also Ted —— seems like yesterday when we feted you on your 21st.
    Mike sends his best also! Connie


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