Sunday, January 20, 2008

What Happens When I'm Sleep-Deprived

I Considered Change

My support of Hillary Clinton's campaign for President was unwavering since before day one of the campaign. When pundits were bandying about the possibility of her run for the nomination in 2008, though I doubted she'd run, I knew I'd support her whenever she did. I've been an admirer of Hillary since her husband's first term, when she had the audacity to take on a critically important policy issue--health care--rather than the public service announcement fluffery which typically engaged her predecessors. Here, clearly, was a person in her own right, a lawyer, in fact, with ideas, passion and conviction-- she just "happened to be" a woman, and a wife and mother; not necessarily anyone's "better half" and obviously not a "lesser half" but evidently fully half of a couple committed to shared values and a vision for a better America.

She particularly resonated with those of us who grew up in the post womens' rights era, embodying a de facto womanhood that was familiar. It was the first time, though, that this familiar way of being a woman was personified by a First Lady. Her distinguishing herself from her husband to such an extent was a BIG change--and not a welcome one for many. (Hence the cookie recipe offered as appeasement.)

For me, having a choice that I'm motivated and excited to support for President, (rather than just voting for the least worrisome of the lot as in recent Presidential elections) is a BIG --and welcome--change. I began to waver a little though, earlier on, when the buzz topic became electability. I started to consider that there are still people who'd rather vote for anyone but a woman for President. I'm not naive enough to think that there are not, but I didn't let this "issue" distract me for too long.

I hadn't considered supporting Barack Obama. Based on a rousing speech at the last Democratic National Convention, he seemed to me to be the new Colin Powell: honorary white, a media-anointed "Black Guy to Like This Year!", cocktail chatter fodder for politically correct aspirants; support for his candidacy the new millennium's version of "some of my best friends are Black". This "celebritization" does not detract one iota from the character or accomplishments of either man. To their credit, Colin Powell did not succumb to the hype and entreaties to run, and Barack Obama does not pander to a presumed Black constituency. The Obama campaign seems to emanate from who he is, an educated, accomplished man of conviction and ideals who "happens to be" Black.

For a moment though, after Iowa, I was swayed by the hype. The pundits emphatically projected a win for Obama in New Hampshire, without question. Though I suspected the Jackson phenomenon was in play, ("feel good" votes cast in predominantly white jurisdictions just until the possibility became more distinct than remote that if the practice continued, he could actually get the nomination), I second-guessed myself. Maybe I'd gotten it wrong.

I listened to an Obama speech. I got fired up, ready to buy whatever he was selling. Well-crafted speeches masterfully delivered by charismatic speakers have entranced and inspired legions of people for good and evil since time immemorial. I was not impassive, but nor was I convinced.

I remain convinced that Hillary Clinton's authenticity, fortitude and experience renders her the most likely of all the Democratic contenders to competently, creatively and compassionately lead this country. I believe she is capable of galvanizing support from various spheres of influence to populate a cabinet of like-minded individuals to confront the changes that will increasingly affect our personal lives and well-being due, in large part, to globalization. It is the economy, and we can't be stupid.

Hillary is the change.

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