I couldn’t help but think of the famous Frank Capra film, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington when I read about Clay Aiken’s trip to D.C. on Thursday. The film came out before I was born, but it is a classic and is still considered an important film.
According to Tim Dirks at amc Filmsite:
James Stewart’s character represents the powerful forces of American freedom, democracy and morality over oppression and evil in his emotional portrait of a naive, idealist, patriotic young politician who, after being sent to Washington (a symbol of liberty and democracy) as a junior senator from an un-named state, matures in wisdom, fights political corruption within his state’s political machine, and guards American values as a moral hero.
The film called for faith in traditional American values of patriotism and faith in the people, and provided an educational lesson in how bills are passed through Congress.
Another co-incidence – Stewart’s character, Jefferson Smith talks about his father. His father’s name is Clayton Smith!
All humor aside, Clay Aiken is the correct person to talk about the topic of bullying in schools. He is articulate, knowledgeable, and talks from his heart when speaking about rights for all.
Lou Chibbaro, Jr writes for the WashingtonBlade. In the November 19th issue, he wrote a comprehensive article about the GLSEN meeting on Thursday. He said the following about Clay:
“American Idol” singer Clay Aiken and two mothers whose sons committed suicide because of anti-gay bullying at their schools appeared at a Capitol Hill briefing Thursday to urge Congress to pass two bills that would require schools to address bullying and harassment targeting LGBT students.
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) organized the briefing as a means of drawing public attention to the two pending bills, the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
“Like many kids now in middle schools and high schools, I was bullied,” said Aiken, who came out as gay in 2008 after winning the runner up title of best singer on the widely viewed television show “American Idol.”
“I was picked on, I was called gay, I was called fag, I was called sissy, you name it,” he said. “Fortunately, I was able to overcome it and live through it because of a number of friends who were supportive of me.”
You can read the entire article at Washingtonblade.
It is wonderful to see Clay involved and taking a stand on something that he knows about and is dear to his heart. It is difficult to imagine what Clay has endured in his life. However, because of his experiences he is a stronger person today and making a difference, one day at a time.