“Well, I hope you’d vote for the best candidate, regardless of gender or race.”
“She is the best candidate. She’s smart, she knows how to play the game, she has visibility, she’s been through shit and survived, she’s someone who would have made it on her own, without her connection to her husband. I really believe that – she’s made me believe that.”
“What do you think about what many liberals are saying, the ones who write on the blogs I frequent? That she’s a corporatist, that she takes lobbyist money, that she’s beholden to big money?”
“Well, how does a candidate win with the way things are currently set up? Most of her voters are wage earners and even with massive amounts of voter contributions, she can’t compete against what corporations and groups can provide. I think that unless we make laws about this, that this is the only way to go, that the money has to come from somewhere and that we can’t fight fire with small sticks and stones. Most of the voters work for a corporation – are we going to tell them to quit their jobs because it supports an evil system? It’s unrealistic.
And you are a corporatist, Mom. You work for a corporation, because it has the best benefits. You quit ten years ago, and now you are working for them again. Why have you gone back? You told me it’s because you have to secure the future for you and for us. I think she has to do the same thing, for now, and I can’t criticize her if I see nothing wrong in what you have to do.”
I have to think about this. This was a conversation I had a few weeks ago when I stole away from home with my oldest daughter, who was oldest enough to vote in the 2004 election, having turned eighteen that year. She’s too young to really remember the Clinton years, and some of her exposure to the Clinton story has been persuaded by her first long term boyfriend of a few years ago, a Bosnian immigrant, whose family had great things to say on how Clinton and Wes Clark were heroes and rescued the Bosniaks from genocide. Her other impressions probably come from my liberal commentary or my insistence that my daughters watch the occasional Clinton speech, like Bill’s elegy at Corinna Scott King’s funeral. Because, you know, he can really grab an audience when he doesn’t ramble too long.
My daughter’s opinion on Hillary isn’t colored by the negatives of the Clinton administration much, due to her age in the time of Clinton. What she sees now is a viable woman candidate, and frankly, I had no idea that it would mean so much to her.
“You remember how you always had to tell Dad to look behind things, like behind the milk jug in the refrigerator for the jam? Well, you always look behind things, Mom, before you ask for help.”
“You know how you never have a problem asking for directions when we travel? And you pay attention when you get directions? Dad still doesn’t and I have no idea how he ever drove taxi years ago, because he thinks his sense of direction is great, but it’s not.”
“I think women know how to use their resources and they know how to communicate. I don’t really understand why this country has never elected a woman President.”
“So, do you see this as a woman thing versus a man thing?”
“Maybe it is. Maybe it should be.”
She graduated from an all girls high school in 2004 and she reminded me of the school’s motto, “Giving voice to young women”.
How much of the young female voter does she represent?
Here’s an interesting thought. If we elect a woman now, does this make it a better possibility that I will have the chance to vote again for a woman for President before I exit this life, assuming I live another 20, 30 years?
The question can easily fit the parallel of voting for Obama. If I vote for a black President now, what is the impact on upcoming generations of youth who will vote for the President in the future, who may run for office on the basis of the changing political reality that they can win? If we elect another white male President now, what are the chances that we socially and psychologically decrease the number of future possibilities for President in the future – of all races and genders?
I think these are questions that, if answered, are not the only deciding factors on who we vote for in 2008. But make no mistake, these are critical issues in play this time around.
What doors will be opened, or closed once more, based on who we vote for next?
What do your voting age daughters think?