This is an exciting political season. And I’m an old political animal, passionately engaged and paying close attention. My plan was to vote for Hillary. I’m a life-long democrat, and a sixty three years old . I’m female. I’m a feminist, and I’m volunteering for Barack Obama. I don’t have children or grandchildren influencing this decision. I came to it slowly and it took the behavior of both candidates after the South Carolina Primary to galvanize me to take action and actively support Senator Obama. I have written a letter to the editor of my favorite local news paper. I write a daily political blog and I am calling folks on the phone, asking for their support but most importantly urging them to vote. Really the most important thing in a democracy is the right to vote. Give up that right, leave it to someone else to make the most important decision of you life, and you get the government you deserve. What’s worse, you’re stuck with it for at least four years. And very often that mistake can last eight years. And look what can happen in just eight years.
I love the Clintons. The Clinton years were some of the best of my life. But the rancor and divisiveness during the Clinton years was exhausting. It was the press and the very far right-wing side of the Republican party that kept the engine of vitriol cranking out mud to be slung everywhere. And Bill didn’t help much with his licentiousness and his inappropriate choice of on-the- side partners. So Hillary as our nominee will churn up all that hatred again. It is tiresome and boring. I do not want to go through that again. And as we all know, with the 24 hour cable news cycle, a rumor seems to be as good as the truth. Say it long enough and a lot of people are going to take it as the truth just because everybody’s saying it.
My second problem with Hillary is her vote on the resolution for the Iraq War. I have listened to every debate on both sides of the aisle and I have heard her tortured rationalizations for her vote several times. If the Clintons learned nothing else from their experiences in the White House, the one thing they should have learned is that we Americans can forgive a lot of bad behavior and wrong votes, but we can’t abide a liar. But if once the lie has been told we are pretty quick to forgive once an apology has been given. We seem to like to forgive. John Edwards knows us pretty well. He was quick to say he was wrong on that vote and he apologized for that vote. ‘Nuff said. On to other subjects. But Hillary keeps explaining as if that changes anything. We need an apology. That’s the bottom line.
Then there was the Primary in South Carolina. There were three things about that Primary that made me change my mind:
First there was the stunningly beautiful speech Senator Obama gave that night. It was so moving I sat on my bed as I watched and sobbed. I’m a tough old bird and it isn’t all that easy to move me to tears. But Barack can do it. He inspired me to write a letter to the editor of my local paper. A first for me. The second thing about that Primary was Senator Clinton’s boorish behavior toward Senator Obama. She didn’t have the courtesy to go to South Carolina, face her disappointed supporters, and deliver a graceful concession speech. She was campaigning in Tennessee (I think that’s where she was) and gave a graceless stump speech. Yes she did say “congratulations”, but that was about it. And unlike Senator Obama, who almost never uses the personal pronoun “I”, her stump speech was full of “I”. “I have the experience” “I will be ready from day one.” We yearn to be a united country again. We do not want anymore politics of polarization and divisiveness. We are sick of huge egos and it isn’t all about you. It’s all about us. But the final thing that made me volunteer to work for the Obama campaign was the demographics of that vote in South Carolina. I knew that the large African American population in South Carolina would give Barack a slight edge, but what I was unprepared for was the vote by young people. I have watched young people turn away from participation in electoral politics over the decades and worried about the fact that the old farts are choosing the leaders who will set policy and direction for a Nation that will soon be in the hands of those disaffected young people. It made me hopeful once again that we will be able to keep this country a democracy. It makes me proud of all of you young people. And so I join you to support the new leader of your generation. Yes we can.
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