by Pa Rock
First, let me clear the air on the question of my political leanings: I am a Democrat, a proud, totally-tilted-left, and, not ashamed to wear the label, liberal Democrat! I wasn't born into the party. My mother and father were Republicans, and I suspect that all of their forebears were also, probably as far back as Lincoln. My eighty-three-year-old father still likes to rail on unions as being "the ruination of America," and any positive mention of FDR will also send him into a sputtering tirade.
So, with this fine conservative background, where did I begin to stray? Easy answer: Nixon. Yes, Richard Nixon made me a Democrat. (Opening China to the West, lowering the national speed limit to fifty-five, and causing Rocky Macy to make a sharp left turn in his political life were undoubtedly Tricky Dick's top three achievements - meeting Elvis and giving Okinawa back to Japan were numbers four and five.) Okay, it wasn't only Nixon. Attending college in the sixties had a major impact on my political thinking as well, whether I admit to inhaling or not!
While I am very comfortable identifying with the Democratic Party, I will split my ticket on those rare occasions when I know that the other party has the better candidate. Thankfully, those situations are rare. All things being equal, I stand comfortably with the Party that historically, at least since FDR, has been focused on those in society who haven't been invited to the table for their slice of the American pie.
So why am I supporting Obama when Hillary clearly seems to stampeding the Party? Is my reluctance to tumble into the landslide some "anti-woman" thing? I really don't think of myself as being sexist, though my age and gender might lead some to speculate otherwise. I was one of the participants in this year's third annual MS Magazine Cruise, and I made if from Tampa to Belize to Guatemala to Mexico and back to Tampa without being thrown overboard or being forced to walk the plank, and I managed to take in most of their workshops along the way. America could definitely benefit from a leader whose perspective and values are something other than those of a morally stymied, white, male frat boy.
No, it isn't that Hillary is a woman, she is just not the woman to lead our nation out of the Bush morass. She very likely could win the Presidency, but she is such a lightening rod that every greed head and fundamentalist goober in the country would turn out to vote, and a lot of good Democratic congressional candidates would be defeated - in a year that should see a massive Democratic majority in both national houses and many state legislatures. What a shame to let the country submit itself to eight more years of gridlock, when it is clearly time to pull ourselves out of the muck and move on.
The true picture of Hillary developed at last week's debate in Philadelphia when she was asked about releasing her correspondence with Bill while she was First Lady. Instead of a definitive "yes" or "no," she equivocated grandly, trying to serve up some mishmash that said it couldn't be done because the National Archives works too slowly. Never mind that Bill had written a letter to them asking that those records not be released until 2012. George, Bill, Bill, Shrub, Shrub, and now Hillary, Hillary. What goes around comes around - and it just keeps coming! (Is anyone naive enough to rule out Jeb, Jeb, Chelsea, Chelsea, and then maybe Jenna, Jenna?) I am so tired of the Bush's and the Clinton's and their endless drama! And don't even get me started on Hillary's shameless milking of the health care lobby! It's long past time for national health care. Hillary can be most effective in bringing that about by getting out of the way!
So why Obama? He talks about ideas, as outlined chapter and verse in THE AUDACITY OF HOPE. He recognizes problems and puts forth challenges, rather than the feel-good pabulum that has been our national staple for years. He is new enough to the political scene that his soul is still his own, and not the personal property the lobbyists and corporate scumbags who regard government as their personal property and operate unchecked and unencumbered by conscience or the will of the people. Barack Obama is not only a fresh face, he is also a new voice with the potential to make bold moves and actually lead instead of being led. He is an eloquent visionary whose coattails will bring congressional majorities large enough to actually govern. Obama is the leader who truly has the potential to take us beyond the self-serving politics that have been the norm since Reagan.
Most importantly, Barack Obama is the only top tier candidate in either party who is younger than me - and I know that I am too damned old to be President!
"Vote early and vote often." -- Al Capone