Dear Hillary:


Dear Hillary:

Let me start by wishing you a Happy 68th Birthday! Not that I could have somehow ignored your birthday since I have received, by this morning’s email, at least 68 reminders that it’s your birthday, including one from Chelsea and one from Bill.
Where I come from, which is Brooklyn, New York, it is considered tacky, however, to send out reminders to strangers to give you money on your birthday. I can see my mother shaking her head right now: “Who does that?”, she’d ask? She was a beautiful, innocent,extraordinarily intelligent, peasant Italian woman who never understood politicians, even when I became one and worked with Mario Cuomo.

But, I didn’t write to talk about money. Lord knows, you’ve been blessed with plenty now, even though you never got a measly million dollar loan from your father to start off life, the way Donald Trump did. Poor Donald. People would really feel sorry for his hard knocks life if they knew that the money his father gave him came from taxpayers. His father, you see, made his little fortune by building low and middle-income housing with federal money. Imagine that: the great and powerful Donald building his stupendous wealth on the backs of working people like my mother and father. I can see my mother shaking her head right now.

I am happy that you’ve had a wonderful week leading up to your birthday, Hillary. You sparkled in the Democratic Debate, Joe Biden decided he didn’t have enough time to mount a campaign for President, and you battled back the dark forces of Cray Cray Trey Gowdy (aka:Lucius Malfoy & Timothy McVeigh combined), and the Benghazi Committee. You have that Presidential glow about you, and you’ve done it all on your own, without any grease or hair gel being applied by your husband. So why are you defending his callous and politically calculated decisions on DOMA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell & Needle Exchange, which he has admitted were among the biggest mistakes of his Presidency. You owe him nothing.

Your slippery arguments over the last few days defending Bill’s dumb decision to support DOMA sounds like it came right from the playbook of his male advisors who helped you lose the 2008 Democratic Nomination to Barack Obama. It was NOT the best of all available options, as you mea culpa-ed. The best option was to vote NO on DOMA, since as you knew at the time, it was unconstitutional and a 14th Amendment violation. Don’t make excuses for his inexcusable behavior. Just tell the truth and say it was a dumb, overly political, cruel calculation that effected millions of lives.

Same thing on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. NO ONE ASKED him to do it; it was not the “best” of all the options, since no other options were on the table. He created DADT out of half-cloth, which he favored using a lot, as you know. Again, millions of people suffered real harm and discrimination because he didn’t have the nerve to fight for what was right. Don’t copy his cowardice.

Finally, PLEASE don’t even think about making excuses for Bill’s triangulated strangulation of the lives of People with HIV by his failure to fight for a federal needle exchange program to fight AIDS, even though he knew all the science was clearly on the side of needle exchange. He caved into to right-wing know nothings/feel nothings on that huge public health issue. I heard him give his Mea Culpa on his needle exchange “mistake” at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, and I threw up in the aisle of the convention hall because I knew his cave-in had caused peoples deaths. Don’t you dare defend him on this.

Hillary, I like you; I really like you. I’ve always liked you more than I cared for your husband. You never insulted all Italian-Americans, as he did. I admired your work on the Senate Watergate Committee, your lifetime of leadership on behalf on early childhood education, and your unyielding commitment to the Children’s Defense Fund. I voted for you twice as my Senator from NY, and my biggest disappointment was when you supported the War in Iraq, despite the fact that you knew the Bush bums were lying to all of us.

I want to vote for you for many good, positive reasons–not the least of which is that I want my granddaughters to grow up with a smart, humane woman as their President–especially one who with a solid record in support of social justice and equal rights. I think that, like their mother who is a professor, you’ll be a great role model.

So, I’m asking you–grandparent to grandparent–not to screw this up. Don’t continue to make excuses for your husband’s unconscionable actions. He’s history. You are the future: be positive, be generous, be bold and keep fighting to make this world deserving of our children and grandchildren. Do that, Hillary, and you’ve got my vote.

Steve Villano

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