Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Spare the change

Let me just be clear from the beginning: I think there are many of you out there who will not vote for Hillary Clinton because you do not want to vote for a woman, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

The scariest thing is that for most of you, this is subconscious. You don't actively think that you don't want to vote for a woman, it's just embedded in our culture. Every talking, squawking head goes on and on about how Hillary Clinton is "divisive" "scripted" "tough persona" "gasp-what-does-it-mean-she-showed-emotion" "bitch" etc. Every right-wing conspirator has babbled on about how "America" "could never" vote for her. And in their Prozac hazes, many United Statesians believed that and said, Oh, I couldn't? Oh, right, OK, I couldn't. I won't, then.

As usual, the wisest words in the issue have come from Gloria Steinem: Women Are Never Front Runners (Note particularly the part where she writes, "What worries me...")

While everyone rambles on the campaign trail about change, Dave Barry may have offered up some of the most salient words on the issue: Will Change do you good? He's writing from New Hampshire this week. This whole thing is freaking me out. I hate pollsters, "double-digit leads," and so on, but all last fall I also hated everyone who kept reporting in this sort of mystified way that Hillary Clinton was in the lead and was becoming a "sure" thing. I knew that would backfire. Do I believe in jinxes? Sometimes. But I also believe in vast right wing conspiracies, having been the victim of one myself before, so there you go.

"Change." Obama bases his campaign for the Democratic nomination on change. That seems silly to me. He should be distinguishing himself from other Democrats at this point. Of COURSE there's going to be a change once Bush is FINALLY removed from the White House. It's going to be a change from a psychotic, murderous, megalomaniac to a more thoughtful, rational person. Even if (forbid forbid forbid) Romney or Giuliani got in there it would be a more thoughtful, rational person. Dubya is a terrible, terrible blot on humanity and his presidency has been alternatively evil or an absurd joke, and sometimes both at once. There is no one else out there remotely like the Bush-oil-wealth-connected-Daddy's-warmongers machine. OF COURSE there will be a change. I'm with you, Dave Barry. It's absurd to base a campaign on that.

I'm still waiting for someone -- anyone -- to tell me why we shouldn't have Hillary Clinton now and Barack Obama in 2016, but no one seems to be able to tell me that. Obama supporters generally answer that question with something terribly off-topic.

I feel immense frustration, and it reminds me of 2004. And something else that reminds me of 2004, I just heard some New Hampshire voter interviewed on the radio who is "undecided" as I write this at 10:34 a.m. My response is, really? You're really undecided? How is that even possible? I would really like to get inside the mind of an undecided voter, just for once. And just to visit, I might add. I don't want to stay there. I just want to understand how you can really be "undecided"? And as Brian pointed out as I just ranted about that, how then do you decide? What happens in that moment when you step into the polling booth? Do you hear some slogan at the last minute and base everything on that? Fascinating.

Anyway, back in 2004 I volunteered on Kerry's doomed campaign and lived in Massachusetts. This led to a lot of assumptions about me, chief among them that I was a Democrat and that I was an advocate of same-sex marriage. True or not, assumptions are dangerous. (I actually spent most of my time in Mass. registered Green, by the way, though I have *not* voted for Nader in any general election...) And at that time I was baffled by undecided voters, but still not attacking them as people.

One day, around political convention time that summer, I received e-mails from THREE family members in the space of a week that said they were none too fond of Bush but had not yet "decided" if they could/would vote for Kerry. This horrified me, because at that point Kerry was the only sane choice. Now, you can go on about how there should be more choices (duh, unlike many of you I have long hated the two-party system) or you can question what "good" it does to cast a vote "against" a candidate instead of for? For whatever that's worth, when we reached August 2004, we had only one choice to make: Bush or Kerry. More Bush, or no more Bush. CHANGE, indeed. I couldn't believe people related to me were actually considering voting for Bush, and so I told them so, in what I thought was a terribly clever "Dear Family" e-mail. I said, "Dear Family, Please come out of the closet. If there are any more of you secretly harboring I-can't-decide-whether-to-vote-for-Kerry desires, just tell me now. After three such revelations this week I can't take any more surprises..."

I apparently no longer have that original e-mail, but I received a slew of responses to it from family members, most of them angry, although not all. So then I responded to those, and I do have my response, which I share now partly to recollect a time when the choice was clear and yet this fool country couldn't figure it out, a time when no one believed me that Hillary was going to run in 2008...change indeed.

Here's that e-mail, if anyone wants to reminisce...the allusions to algebra, etc. are from a prior discussion...

from Linda Napikoski
date Aug 3, 2004 8:33 PM
subject Top 10
mailed-by gmail.com

hide details 8/3/04 Reply

1. "Dear Family, Please come out of the closet.." was a metaphor.
They don't have those in algebra, but they do have letters that
represent numbers.

2. Same-sex marriage is quite possibly the least important issue to me
in this election.

3. Don't forget, oh ye in McCain territory, that my friend Mercy and I
went the distance. We temporarily registered Republican to vote for
McCain (and, well, against Bush) in the 2000 California primary!
Alas, to no avail.


5. Oh my goodness. What if JOHN MCCAIN and HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON ran
for president in 2008?!! I would clone myself so I could vote twice.

6. I challenge you to find what I said against people who haven't decided yet.
(I believe the part of my e-mail that mentioned that was the part that
said "I'm OK with people who haven't decided yet whom to vote for").
And if your opinion scares me I am totally allowed to tell you your
opinion scares me, especially if I am scared three times in one week.

7. What I did say was that the following sentiment bothers me:
"Wow, I don't like Bush and I think he is psychotic/a fool/fascist
but you know one day I heard that John Kerry left his bicycle out in
the rain when he was ten years old and so I just don't know if I can
vote for him, I mean, hello? He neglected his bicycle. I don't know
anything else he's done but that just gives me a bad feeling."

8. For all who referenced: "two sides," "both sides," "either one,"
"the left and right" etc. I don't like false dichotomies. Most
dichotomies are false. I don't believe in dividing issues into two
and only two sides, I don't like the two party system, and what looks
black and white is really a mix of lots of colors. I don't like
"you're either for us or against us" etc.

9. Isn't avoiding debates for the sake of avoiding debates just like
starting debates for the sake of starting debates? Or is that the
ultimate paradox, asking that question? But I wouldn't know because
I don't start debates for the sake of starting debates. I just say
things that sometimes upset people instead of specifically not saying
anything when something might upset people.
9a. Is it a coincidence that participation in the e-debates is
directly proportional to the amount of e-mails sent in general on the
family gang e-mail? If someone hates debates (<---rhyme, rhyme,
rhyme, I love it) so much, why not e-mail about something else --ever?

10. I don't really have a tenth thing to say. Oh yeah I do. I'm
going to be e-mail-less for large portions of August while in D.C.
Can you all send things to my much-more-storage gmail.com
account instead of Hotmail now? Thanks.

who did student government, mock trial AND speech & debate club in high
school in addition to algebra

p.s. #5 above contained sarcasm

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