Terry McAuliffe's Conversation with Virginians

Causes and candidates supported by Heidi Li

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February 14, 2009


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Puma for Life

Stay strong, Heidi. It's important for all of us to continue to speak up even when it is unpopular. I know, I live in an Obama town, and every other car still has an Obama sticker on it. I'll be thinking of you. Know you are not alone.


Hi, Heidi. It may be a bit easier at the retreat, as some divergent voices are now barely allowable, now that the damage is done. Who knows, you may be surprised. I was recently checking on some things, and noticed that some people in my little community had actually donated substantial amounts to Hillary. I had no idea they were Hillary supporters, as so many of us were closeted. If I had known, we would have been stronger. Maybe this is a lesson to not feel quite as intimidated, otherwise we will lose our voice and power. You have a great deal more at stake, however, and I am sure you will proceed with discretion, but with a full heart.


Just in case you didn't see my additional note to you elsewhere, Heidi, please be careful in your approach (as I am sure you will). We need more people with your committments in positions of influence. It must be sad for you not to be able to share freely with your colleagues and learn together. I know I miss my interactions with friends I no longer have. It is like being muzzled.


Heidi, as always, you inspire me. Reading the first bit of your post, I thought 'oh no!' don't do it, it's too hard (and too depressing). My workplace is not academic but sounds as pro-Obama (including the automatic assumption that everyone was overcome with the sanctifying power of voting for The One). I stopped discussing politics with any but the one or two people who agreed with me.

But you're right, it's important to speak up. And not just for yourself, or to be fair to your antagonistic colleages, but maybe to help the other colleagues who you met up with at Clinton events to speak out as well. So good luck! I'm interested to hear how it all turns out.


Be careful and be aware when you speak.
I can not tell you how sad I feel that those words need to spoken in America. Free speech was a corner stone of this country. I have never been so scared for my country. I feel we just gave away democracy without firing a shot.




Maybe in preparation for this quest, one needs to analyze the reasons for such an ugly eruption of open misogyny; why would so many, otherwise presumably reasonable, thoughtful and intelligent people be blinded so massively? Fear comes to mind as the underlying, most probably unconscious, driving force (this being the one strong emotion that can easily override reason).

Heidi, you will see very quickly at the retreat, whether there is an openness for true reflection on this topic. If there isn't yet, there would not really be much benefit for our cause or for you personally, or even your colleagues, for that matter.

The dynamics of a system have to be able to tolerate structural changes; it is necessary to maintain the possibility of its adaption. This organism is your workplace; it would be counterproductive to try to force a change at this point, but it might also be the exactly right time to introduce your thoughts. You will know then and there, I am sure.


Whatever the real reasons for the misogyny, at this point the situation is even worse. In order to see the problem, liberal people will have to admit to themselves that they were part of it.

The phrase "Good luck with that" keeps popping into my mind for some reason.

However, so long as you have tenure, go armed strong in righteousness! :D


Good luck, but be prepared for a tough road.

When I was in law school at U of M in 92-95, the LGB law students association held a seminar on whether we should come out at work. The consensus was no. I was unsurprised and, in accord with the advice, sent out different resumes to potential employers - the "corporate" resume which hid my involvment with gay/lesbian and liberal causes, and the "public interest" resume which put those things back in. I didn't get any jobs, anyway, for any number of reasons and spent a year mostly unemployed.

Now, I'm lucky enough to be at a very small firm where I couldn't be closeted if I wanted to and, in fact, have been "outed" by my boss to other colleagues by means of a very humorous story about my job interview. So, maybe at the end of the day we all end up where we belong, where we can most be ourselves because we can't really be anybody else.

So, good luck to you, and trust that you can only be who you are and that will lead you to where you need to be.


Thank you for the letter, Heidi Li.

I belong to a predominantly LGBT church. My church has a radical bent and is active in social justice struggles. While steering clear of outright politicking during the election season, the undercurrent was heavily Obama laden. Since the Inauguration, which coincided with both Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the beginning of Black History Month, the Obama adulation has burst forth in sermons and songs and posters in the halls. The difficulty, for me, is that I can't participate in the celebration or be sincerely happy for those whose lives have clearly been affirmed by Obama's victoy (which I believe to be based on lies and manipulation).

I consider my church to be my "family of choice," so I have become an outsider within my family. The "left" does feel antagonistic and petty to me now. I find myself looking at social service causes with suspicion, as if to discover the hidden hypocrisy, though my very existence is far to the left. I'm transgender, a challenge for even the LGBT community to embrace.

During the primary season, I made satirical animations (pro-Hillary, anti-Obama) and posted them on YouTube under the name BoyThreeOne. Later, I made a video for my church and posted on the same channel. I experienced tremendous anxiety at the prospect that church video viewers might find their way to some of the more inflamed anti-Obama animations. I was far more afraid to be "outed" as a non-Obama person than a transgender one!

An oppositely unsettling thing about the YouTube channel was that, post-primary, I began receiving (and accepting) friend requests from people whose views I vehemently disagreed with, I wasn't a McCain/Palin supporter or Rev. Wright hater. I wasn't fearful of Ayers.

I want illegal immigrants to have citizenship.

I hope you find allies on your retreat. You have an ally in me.


Well...good luck.

I just leave my Hillary sticker on my car, alongside a puma sticker.

I work at a public high school and park in "faculty parking".

So far, no negative (or positive for that matter) feedback. It may be, though, because most of my coworkers are Republican.

I'll be anxious to read how your "retreat" plays out.


Heidi, I sympathize! Though I've been quite a rabid PUMA online, at home I've been keeping quiet -- and still am.

I've been instructively exposed, and still am, to an Obama supporter for whom I still have hopes in 2012. He is still happy with the results and I don't feel like raining on his parade prematurely. It's a long time till 2012, or even 2010. I feel he will be more likely to swing back to Hillary (he supported her originally) if he slowly -- by his own observations -- comes to the realization on his own that Obama is not up to the job.

Just so my friend does swing the right way in two or four years, I'm not sure he needs to know about Obama's behavior in the primaries etc. Pushing the issue now might make him defensive.

Flora aka Turndownobama aka Old Democrat

Stray Yellar Dawg

Be strong, Sister!

And let us know how that retreat goes....


You have good natural instincts, Heidi and I see no problem for you at your "retreat". As the song says you know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. That trait has served you pretty well thus far, so don't ignore it.
As for me, well, I figure if people don't want to know what I think, then they have my permission to walk away, get mad or actually listen first before they disagree or agree with me.

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