PROVINCETOWN – Hillary Clinton visited Provincetown on Thursday. Here is my only official reporter-heard Hillary quote: “I have been called a lot of things in my life. Quitter is not one of them.” I do not know the context of her saying it, but I heard it clearly.
Clinton and her presidential campaign, or at least the fundraising portion of it, came to Provincetown to talk to about 300 people who donated at least $1,000 (and some $2,700) each to attend the event. The media were not invited, nor was the public. A small curious throng were kept a couple of lots away from the private home in the West End where the event was held.
But pedestrian access was not blocked off during her visit and in walking by, I was able to hear that one specific quote clearly. The rest of the speech, from outside the tent, sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher – a lot of muffled “blah, blah blah.”
At the end, there was much applause, a chant of “Hillary! Hillary!” and then she walked out and waved, I’d like to assume, right at me.
Then she headed forth on her mission to change the world, or at least raise a bunch of money in order to maybe do so.
Afterward, I ran into Lynn Kratz and Pamela French of Provincetown, who had just attended the event. “It was a great turnout,” said Kratz. “I’ve been following her for many years. She is so knowledgeable and so charming, and she really gets out the people.”
French said, “She talked about the reasons she wanted to be president, and helping further what President Obama has started. She’s very familiar with the issues. She was talking a lot about fixing the economy.”
There was a large flag with Hillary’s campaign logo of an H-with-an-arrow logo flying off a house in the West End. And way down at the private house where the event was held, there was a long line of people waiting to cash in on their donation and get into the tent to see Clinton in person.
The symbolism of her timing and the message of her visit seemed unmistakable.
“It’s such a propitious time for her to be here, with the Supreme Court decision (in favor of gay marriage) just being released,” said Mark Wisneski of Provincetown and New York, as he was waiting in line. “She has an important voting base here in Provincetown.”
Wisneski said, “I doubt I’ll get close to her, but if I did I’d ask how will you work to move gay, lesbian and transgender rights forward.”
Here is the remarkable thing: The odds-on favorite candidate for President of the United States Of America visited Provincetown, known as one of the top gay destinations in the world.
Ponder that for a moment.
It shouldn’t and should never have been ponder-able except for the fact that Provincetown is a really small town. It sure must be an important small town, huh?
Richard Hanson of Provincetown said, “I think she is the first presidential candidate that ever showed any interest or pride in our community.”
“I think it’s great that she’s paying attention to this community and to issues of gay and lesbian equality,” said Adam Welch of New York. “It’s a political tactic for anyone. But it’s fantastic that she’s being bold.”
And Joe Bolduc of Provincetown said, “As a gay man, I’m thankful that she’s coming to Provincetown. Provincetown is a great place for her to be.”
Urvashim Vaida and Kate Clinton live on Commercial Street in the West End and they had several signs on their fence supporting Hillary. “I love Hillary Clinton,” said Vaida. “We’re expressing our support.”
If she could talk to Clinton, Vaida said she’d say, “Be strong, go left and fight the right.”
Jim Pipilas of Provincetown said, “I’m sure she’ll be criticized by some for not supporting certain gay issues fast enough. But she has evolved. A lot of people have evolved. My own family evolved. She can too.”
While gay rights were a focus of conversations about her visit, other issues were randomly raised to this Cape Cod Wave reporter, included the economy, animal welfare, and terrorism concerns such as ISIS.
Ben deRuyter of Brewster said the one piece of advice he would have for Clinton is, “Don’t be afraid to humanize yourself in the campaign.”
As best as I can figure, there are 21 major candidates for President. I had it at 20 in the morning, but by the end of the day I learned that Jim Webb is joining the race.
Just before I left for Provincetown, I googled up a list of who is declared running for President, threw in Scott Walker and John Kasich, and printed up a list of 20 (no Jim Webb) names.
I wondered who else should visit Provincetown, and what would people say to them?
Congresswoman Niki Tsongas of Lowell was in line for the event and, after looking at the list, she said, “Oh my.” She paused, and stared at the list some more. and then said, ” I’d invite Hillary Clinton back for a more intimate chat.” She added, “As a woman, I am looking forward to electing our first woman president.”
Vaida said, “I don’t wish for any of these people to come here because they’ve all said hateful things about gay people.” Then she looked again and said, “Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are welcome.”
Several people suggested inviting Sanders to town. “I’d have to invite Bernie Sanders,” said deRuyter .”Of everyone on this list, he and Hillary excite me the most. I’d like to know what would he do about income inequality. I’d also like to see Jeb Bush come here and have to explain his position on the recent Supreme Court decision.”
Welch said, “I’m not a very confrontational person,” and then cited Marco Rubio and Chris Christie. “What’s the point of trying to appeal to those people?” he asked. “I would probably tell them they should go stay in Chatham.”
Bolduc said, “I think we’d have to invite Ted Cruz because he has so many misconceptions about diverse populations. He should experience us as human beings.”
Pipilas said he would ask Donald Trump the question, “Are you serious?”
Brian Whiting of Boston did not attend the event. While watching from the street and pondering the list of candidates, he said, “Honestly, I wouldn’t want to see a single one of these people. I’d love to see a Provincetown-style show with drag queens performing as each one of these people. That I’d pay for. Especially Chris Christie. I think that would be so easy.”
Lynette Molnar of Provincetown offered this wisdom: “None of them will come because Massachusetts always votes Democratic. That’s the remarkable thing about Hillary coming here. Obviously she’s here raising money.”
Democracy For Rich People
We, the riff-raff, stood outside and watched or perhaps gawked as the beautiful rich people mingled with the presidential candidate.
“Just look at how everyone’s dressed. My feeling is, I can just smell the money, ” said Whiting. “It’s money and politics. And that’s maybe the biggest problem with politics.”
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— Brian Tarcy