Courtesy of Gerald Weaver
Suffering from withdrawals now that the political conventions are behind us? Not sure how you’re going to survive on crumbs like Trump’s current feud with Khizr Khan or the possibility that Julian Assange really does have some yet to be released emails that will incriminate Hillary? Worried that the Donald just might renege on the whole debate schedule after all? Well, we’ve got something to help you through the political ups and downs between now and November — Gerald Weaver’s novel The First First Gentleman.
The new book follows the rise of Melinda Sherman, the first woman to claim the Oval Office. While on the surface it may sound like this work of political fiction is pulling straight from the headlines about Mrs. Clinton, in a recent one-on-one interview Weaver cleared up any confusion, saying, “What I had in mind was pretty much what’s happening now in Bernie and Trump’s case more than anything.”
To that end, Weaver created a candidate who isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind. “She becomes pregnant on the campaign trail and tells people that she plans to breast feed at cabinet meetings. Her brother’s a famous gay actor and four days before the election he has a big gay wedding. She talks about the war on drugs and says it’s a sin. And she talks about issues of faith, which nobody will… And she’s also borderline bipolar. That’s my nod to the way that in the media, and in movies in particular, women have to be perfect. And, Hillary is bowing to that pressure. But one day people will accept women who are not perfect in the same way that they clearly accept men who are not.”
And, at its core, the fact that Sherman is a woman is a key element in The First First Gentleman. As Weaver noted, “The elephant in the room, of course, is misogyny and we don’t talk about it. My experience is I’m a man and I see how men are. It’s worse than race and it’s terrible. If Clinton is elected I think the world is going to look at America differently, everybody’s going to look at America differently because she’s this path breaker.”
If anyone is qualified to write about the underpinnings of D.C. politics, it’s Weaver. As a young law student, he came an intern on Capital Hill. After spending a bit of time there, he left to run a Democratic campaign, only to return to the Hill as the youngest Chief of Staff in history the age of 26.
Turns working in Pennsylvania on Joe Biden’s 1987 run for President, on Al Gore’s steering committee in 1988 when he was running for the nomination and on the Clinton campaign in ’92 followed. But, as Weaver puts it, “Right about then is when the wheels came off… I got caught up in the Post Office scandal, a politically motivated investigation, and ended up going to Federal prison for 18 months. I was supposed to be there two years but when the judge found that my attorney had a conflict of interest he let me out.”
Although it’s not a time he looks back at with fondness, Weaver concedes he learned a few important lessons while he was away. “It reinforced my view of the world as being much less conventional than I may have seen it before. It also reignited my desire to write and to write in a way that might change things.”
His first novel, Gospel Prism, takes its protagonist on a series of “spiritual mysteries” beyond the confines of the prison walls in which he lives. “I was hoping that it would help people see that religion is fine as long as you don’t impose it on the world,” acknowledged Weaver.
Now, Weaver has a new message to deliver with The First First Gentleman. As he noted, “I firmly believe that one day we’re gonna reach that tipping point and women are actually going to be in charge. More of them are going to college and graduating. If I were going to start a campaign today or start a business, I would hire women. And I think that’s coming.” He hopes the novel “focuses people on the prospect of not just a female candidate but one who’s more herself and who speaks her mind and is respected for that. I really do want to push the cause of a new feminism as much as I can. It’s time. And I think the world will be a better place.”
To find out more about The First First Gentleman visit Gerald Weaver’s website.