Mar 23 2007

Today’s guest columnist is actress Beth Broderick. She is one of those rare individuals who not only excels in her professional work but has passionate commitment to grassroots activism.

Beth is best known for her portrayal of Aunt Zelda in the hit television series Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Along with actor John Ritter, she starred in the series Heart’s Afire and in Glory Days with Brad Pitt. Her movie career includes Bonfires of the Vanities, Stealing Home and Psycho Beach Party! Beth2_2 

Her activism is equally extraordinary. She was a volunteer for MOMENTUM, which was one of the first HIV/AIDS projects in New York City in 1984. She has spent two decades organizing benefits and lending her celebrity and passion to numerous HIV/AIDS causes. In addition, she volunteers for City Light Women’s Rehabilitation Center and Good Shepherd Home for battered women.

She is also a long-time political activist. She first got involved with Vice President Mondale and supported President Clinton in both of his campaigns for President. During the last presidential election she was a strong and visible supporter for Governor Dean and was one of his best fundraisers in the nation. More recently, she has done fundraising events for Mayor Newsom, Senator Harkin and Senator Russ Feingold. And today, she is an articulate and outspoken opponent of the Iraq War.

She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Progressive Majority and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.

Everything Beth has done in her life, she has done with excellence while never losing her delightful smile, generous spirit nor passionate commitment to help others.

Hillary, Hillary Wherefore is Thou Hillary?
By Beth Broderick

Here’s the thing. I am tired of being bullied by my President. I am tired of being embarrassed by my President. I am tired of people trying to scare me. And this is why I am already tired of Hillary Clinton.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Hillary Clinton. I have met her many times over the years and always found her warm and likeable. That fact that these traits fail to accompany her onto the public stage continues to baffle me (and frankly I think it’s a damned shame)

I was in attendance at the first Clinton inauguration. Tears streamed down my face as I stood and listened to my president talk for the first time about tackling AIDS. He promised to bridge the gap of the great economic divide brought on by Ronald Reagan and his trickle down economics. He looked upon his wife as an equal. He was the man from Hope and for the first time in years, I felt like my President was talking to me. He was addressing my concerns and including those of us not born to privilege in the promise of a new and prosperous America. I was watching history in the making.

The day Hillary Clinton announced I felt a wave of emotion. There she was … the first viable female Presidential candidate in American history. It gave me pause. I had already committed myself to supporting Barack Obama. I see in him a quality of ease and sincerity that I believe could promote unity both at home and abroad. Watching him in interview after interview I have been struck by his ability to answer tough questions without equivocating. He has a knack for making the question seem fair, even when he is being baited. The Nation and the World community are crying out for just such a leader. Still there she was … my girl … my link to a time in history when I felt safe in and proud of America.

Then she hired Terry McAuliffe and several other characters whose reputation for strong arm tactics and back room dealings left me cold. She’s not my girl anymore.

Hillary simply cannot have it both ways. She is straining to project warmth and openness, while simultaneously sending Terry McAuliffe out to threaten donors and twist arms. “You are either with us or against us” He actually had the poor taste and demented hubris to utter this statement in a room full of Californians who are not only generous, but highly influential and quite wealthy on the whole. Bad Terry! Shame on you.

“You are either with us or against us” is a phrase that has done great harm to America’s reputation. President Bush has used it against anyone who disagrees with his mission (or his madness, take your pick). This of course is some 70 odd percent of the Country at this point and pretty much the whole entire World. This is a phrase which has served to define Mr. Bush as a bully and a blockhead and now it belongs to Hillary. She and her henchmen have embraced the tactics of the most dimwitted President in history. A man who is unable to make his case on its own merits and so demands cooperation, by way of threatening retaliation. It is worth noting that this has made him a rather unpopular guy. It is not doing Hillary any favors either.

I have chosen my candidate and I will devote myself to Barack Obama’s campaign, because I care. I care about my Country. I care about the fate of our soldiers and the citizens of Iraq. I weep for the poor and worry for the displaced. I am concerned for our children and the cold hard reality of global warming which we have wrought upon their innocent heads. I care about Pell grants and the homeless and my 92 year old neighbor who is about to be evicted because we are steeped in a culture of greed. So I will work my little bleeding heart out for the man that I think can secure the Presidency and deliver us from 8 years of hell.

That being said, the truth is I am still “with” Hillary. I am “with” every Democrat in Washington. I am “with” every Progressive on the planet. I am “with” Chuck Hagel on the war. I would even be “with” Terry McAuliffe had he not forsaken me. Where does that leave me and the thousands of others who have not chosen to support Hillary in the Primary? What if a snowball actually has a chance in hell and she becomes the nominee? Am I then expected to swallow the bitter taste in my mouth and go out and work for their team? I am generally a forgiving person, but it would be difficult for me to cultivate an enthusiasm for such a campaign.

The stakes are high. We have worked hard and we will have to work even harder to right the wrongs that have been committed by the Bush administration.” Lucy we have some ‘splainin to do” If we are ever to regain the trust and respect of our allies as well as our enemies, we are going to have to lower our chin and listen. I NEVER again want to hear an American leader utter the phrase “You are either with us or against us”. Never again.

I am so proud to be a Democrat. So proud that we are offering both a woman and a person of color as candidates. They are both shining examples of our courage as a Party. We are ready to move out of the dark ages of bigotry and sexism in presidential politics. Isn’t it time we moved out of the dark practice of playing down and dirty with members of our own team? Hillary and Barack are great candidates. They are both better on their worst day than any of the candidates on the other side at their best. They could conceivably end up on the same ticket and that would truly be history in the making.

So I ask you Hillary, to make your case on its own merits. Learn to trust yourself, (and for Christ sakes stay away from bad accents – that’s my department). You are a brilliant woman and though I do not support you, I am proud that you are running. You are strong enough, smart enough and maybe even compassionate enough to make a good president. Take control of your campaign and stop hiding behind that schoolyard bully of a chairman. You are better than that and win or lose this Country deserves your very best.