One Afternoon in the Oval Office
Me: Thank you, Mr. President, for meeting with me.
Bush: You’re welcome, quite welcome.
Me: Now, we can probably agree, Mr. President, that we are fighting in Iraq to bring more freedom abroad, right?
Bush: You said we wouldn’t discuss Iraq – I’ve been reading your Blog. He-he.
Me: Well, I thought that was something we could both agree on.
Bush: Right. Well, yes, we removed a terrible dictator, Saddam Hussein, who used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. Horrible dictator. But we got him. And there’s a safer world because of it. And the Iraqis are more free. Or will be once they stand up so we can sit down.
Me: But if we’re sending our soldiers over there to fight and sometimes die in the name of freedom, why are we holding back the cause of freedom here at home?
Bush: Excuse me?
Me: I’m talking about your support of a federal amendment against same sex marriage. Currently gay couples are denied the freedom to marry – and all the rights and responsibilities that go with that freedom. And you want to enshrine that prohibition into the U.S. Constitution. That’s anti-freedom.
Bush: No, it’s pro-family. The union of a man and a woman is one of our most important institutions. Honored in all cultures and religious faiths. Marriage promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society.
Me: I agree. So why lock me and my partner out of such an important institution?
Bush: I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.
Bush: That’s the way it’s always been.
Me: You’ve read the Bible, haven’t you, Mr. President?
Bush: I read the Bible and pray to the Lord every day. I’m the guy who said that Jesus was my favorite philosopher.
Me: I heard that. Anyway, have you read Genesis 32:22?
Bush: Not lately.
Me: It says Jacob – you know, Abraham’s grandson to whom God told that the descendents of Abraham would inherit Canaan. Anyway, it says there that Jacob had two wives. So’d his brother Esau. Now God must have thought that was okay, ‘cause He talks a lot about how much He likes Abraham’s descendents. God even changed Jacob’s name to Israel so he’s the namesake for the country and his countrymen. But Jacob’s marriage was not between one man and one woman. And God didn’t seem to care.
Bush: Well, things were different back then…
Me: Exactly! The institution of marriage isn’t immutable…I’m sorry, un-changeable. It changes with society. In fact, Esau’s wives were given him in exchange for labor he provided for their father. Marriage used to be all about property. It’s changed, now, Mr. President. It’s about love. It’s about providing for children when children are present. And it’s about society supporting the union of two people that will make them more stable and more productive.
Bush: uh…the problem is these activist judges
Me: Excuse me, Mr. President, but – the irony of you using that term aside – these so-called activist judges are making decisions based on litigation brought to them by Americans questioning their denial of rights. It’s the judges’ job to make these decisions – a job given them by our Constitution.
Bush: These activist judges are making decisions the people should make.
Me: I’ll go along with that. I’ve made a decision to marry a man. He wants to marry me. We’re people. We made a decision. But the law won’t let us.
Bush: Legally recognizing your, um, your, relationship with another man would undermine the sanctity of marriage.
Me: Oh, please, Mr. President…straight people don’t need any help from gays in undermining the “sanctity” of marriage. Need I say “Bill Clinton?” “Britney Spears?” And shows like, “who wants to marry a millionaire?”
Bush: Allowing same sex marriage would make it worse.
Me: How and why? Where is your proof?
Bush: It’s a well known fact – and I don’t mean any disrespect to you – that gay people are promiscuous and unstable.
Me: Well, -- oh, hey, Mr. President, that little room right there, off the Oval Office, that’s the private study where Clinton and um, well…?
Bush: Ah, yes. (clears throat) You were saying?
Me: When you married Laura, did the county clerk do a background check on you?
Bush: No, of course not.
Me: Well, assuming for a second that you are right in your sweeping generalization about gay men, which I will address in a minute, why subject us to a higher standard than straights have when getting a marriage license. We allow any straight couple to get married, regardless of their likelihood of fidelity, their ability to be productive members of society and to actually care for their kids. If you’re straight you get a blank check, regardless of your behavior. Yet, here you’re saying gays can’t marry because you assume we behave in a way you don’t approve of. If a philandering gay man cheating on his partner undermines marriage, doesn’t a straight man cheating on his wife? What are you doing about that?
Bush: Well, we…
Me: And, so you’re saying, Bill Clinton’s affairs, excuse me, “problems” in his marriage made you love Laura less.
Bush: Of course not!
Me: And it made you more likely to seduce interns?
Bush: This is getting a little personal, here. No, I would never do anything like that. I brought dignity back to the White House. I love my wife. Nothing is going to change that until the day I go to the Lord.
Me: Amen, brother. Your relationship is none of my business, and forgive me for bringing it up…but I’m glad you’ve affirmed my assumption that the love that led you to make a lifelong commitment to someone isn’t undermined by the actions of someone else. You’re not shallow in that.
Bush: Thank you.
Me: Now, let’s talk about your homophobia.
Bush: Hey, now, I was hoping we could have a good discussion without bitterness or anger.
Me: Oh, so sorry, Mr. President. Um, let’s see; let’s talk about your pre-disposed negative image of an entire class of people that leads you to make decisions that hurts them. Better?
Bush: Yes, thanks. I think.
Me: Mr. President, do you know any gay people?
Bush: Well, I suppose over the years I’ve known a few.
Me: Like that crazy slut, the vice president’s daughter?
Bush: Hey, now, Mary Cheney is a fine person. Laura and I are very fond of her.
Me: So she doesn’t fit the description you used earlier about gay people?
Bush: No, she doesn’t.
Me: Do any of the gay people you’ve known over the years fit that description?
Bush: Now that you mention it…I guess not.
Me: Mr. President, gay people are no different than straight people. We have our champs and chumps. We deserve to be treated the same, no better or worse than anyone else. That’s what this is all about.
Bush: Wait a minute! Children! Marriage is about the children! And gay people don’t have children.
Me: My partner and I have a two-year-old son.
Bush: But that’s artificial.
Me: My turn to say, ‘excuse me?’
Bush: I don’t know how you had a child, but two men can’t have a baby. You had to uh, go get one.
Me: So, what you’re saying is that couples who have kids by means other than giving birth themselves don’t deserve the stability and support of legal marriage, to help that child?
Bush: I don’t think I said that.
Me: But if marriage is only about children – and you defined it as children acquired through the traditional biogenetic birth process, within the marriage – then all the straight couples who adopted or who don’t have kids shouldn’t be married?
Bush: No, I’m just saying marriage assumes there will be kids and it’s for the kids.
Me: Right. And my son deserves no less than to see his parents supported in legal matrimony.
Bush: He could have it; you just need to find the right woman.
Me: There is no “right woman” for me Mr. President. Is there a “right man” for you?
Bush: Well, I think pretty highly of Dick, but I don’t think of him in that way…
Me: Well, there’s something else we agree on, Mr. President! Oh, you meant Cheney. Sorry. But my point was, our society doesn’t expect you to condemn yourself to a lifetime of misery by marrying someone who can’t meet your physical and emotional needs – who can’t help you be happy. That’s what so many gay men have tried --- to hide their gayness inside a sham marriage. If we legalized same sex marriage, you be helping to end those sham arrangements and bring MORE sanctity and honesty to marriage, and help these poor men and women who spend their lives in quiet despair find stability and happiness.
Bush: Can we talk about Iraq?