The Most Painful Vote I Ever Cast

My four year old son is having his adenoids and tonsils out early tomorrow, leaving me no time to vote in my neighborhood. So I headed to San Francisco City Hall today and underwent my own surgery. On myself. With a dull scalpel, a dirty sponge, and no anesthesia whatsoever. With eyes squinched I extracted my vote. It wasn’t joyless, but it still hurts.

I’ve posted long and often about my indecision.  I believe we have two excellent candidates, two great Democrats.  They differ on some details, but they both want healthcare for all, a clean and living planet, better schools, and repeal of the tax cut for the richest Americans.  And the war? Yeah, I know Clinton voted for it, but they both want us out now and, as much as I disagreed with her vote, I’m glad she understands the need to end this fiasco.

Obama captures an excitement that will be his to lose if he gets the nomination and, if he does, he better be prepared, lose that stutter, and get smooth in the face of attack.  He has the potential to be one of the most influential leaders of our century or the biggest disappointment in our lifetimes.

(more beneath the scar)

Hillary Clinton has history, I’ve stood and supported her through her husband’s hijinx and her own races for Senate.  Barack Obama isn’t without history, he comes free of it.  Free of the nastiness that was the 90s, free of rabid partisans at his throat.

Not that the 90s were necessarily the Clintons’ fault.  What should have blown over was made worse by Bill Clinton but far worse by the partisanship of the right.  It was a hateful time for all who lived it. I was outraged at what Republicans did then and failed to do recently as George Bush fractured our constitution in a way that didn’t involve his pants.

The Hillary bashing around here is, in my opinion, entirely unfair.  Her voting record is strongly progressive.  She’s extremely competent and has done as much for the Democratic Party as any.  She has strong labor support and we all know the woman is dedicated to health care for all those who need it.

Yeah, that’s right, I think we’re unnecessarily dissing Clinton.  She deserves respect and our votes (if you’re so inclined).  I know, she comes with baggage.  In fact, it’s that baggage that finally helped me make up my tortured little mind, along with two women in front of me and eight people behind me in line at City Hall.

The women were there together and asked me if they had cut in front of me.  I said I didn’t know and it’s okay, because I needed more time to make up my mind.

“Seriously?” one said.

“Yeah, they’re both good.”

“Maybe,” then she turned to me and the line and goofily mouthed “OOO BAM AA!”

I turned as everyone in line laughed and heard whispers of “yeah!” “you got it.”

You see, for me, it all comes down to turnout and support.  I find the candidates very similar.  I like them both. Hillary Clinton deserves to be president. She’s scary smart and capable. If she gets the nomination, I won’t have to hold my nose to vote for her.  

But I want to see a party united behind their candidate.  I want to see a country standing together to face the disaster of the war, the danger of our warming climate, the perils of mass foreclosures, and the need to help each other without denigration.

As a middle aged white woman, I feel like I owe Hillary Clinton a lot. I’m proud of her and proud she’s a democrat. I’ve been sad when she loses, sad at Iowa and South Carolina, and sad when I took out that scalpel and voted  for Barack Obama today.

The scalpel did not cut clean.  I wish I at least remembered aspirin. But I stood there and blacked the line for Obama.

I think I’m voting for a future.  We’ll see.  The stitches come out in November.


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    • ksh01 on February 4, 2008 at 22:45

    I’m looking at Mary Matlin on the tube now.  She’s one of the few that can make me rethink my decision…..yuck. And she’s putting makeup on with a cudgel.  Must have spent too much time at the Living Dead Beauty Parlor.

  1. i hope all goes well.

  2. As a middle aged white woman, I feel like I owe Hillary Clinton a lot.

    I don’t understand this.  I’m a constituent of hers.  I voted for her because the alternative, Rick Lazio, made my blood curdle.  In return, we have her voting record, which you characterize as “strongly progressive,” but which I don’t see that way.  We have what I consider to be her failure to lead on important issues, including Iraq and withdrawal of the troops and FISA and Gitmo.  I see her performance as timid, calculated, and far from inspirational.  And we have her pathetic role in a local issue that was extremely important to me.

    Is that an unfair bashing of HRC? Is it unfair that I want somebody to lead opposition in the Senate to the dismantling of the US democracy?  Is it unfair to think that somebody who wouldn’t lead on these issues in the Senate won’t lead on them as President?  Perhaps, but I don’t think so.

    I’m sorry today’s vote was painful for you. That’s what happens, I’m afraid, when we care more about winning than voting for policies we want, whether we win or don’t.  That’s why, generally, I think partisan, electoral politics sucks.  

  3. was in tears this morning about making this decision.  She was a former strong Edwards supporter.  It is causing her great angst to choose between Clinton and Obama but I believe she is leaning Clinton now.  

    Our office has had some pretty vocal arguments about the candidates in the past weeks/months.   Today our boss announced a moratorium on the discussion until August.   She doesn’t like everyone getting so stressed out about it.  

  4. literally. We all face the surgical slice that determines our vote. My decision is not as hard. Hillary and Bill long ago with NAFTA took away my livelihood as well as reducing my brothers and sisters in creativity chances of ever being paid for the work they do.

    As a woman of Hillary’s age I look and see a woman who while I was in the streets protesting the other useless immoral war was advocating ‘bomb’ as a solution. This trumps my visions of a woman in the WH. I want a President who recognizes the qualities that are truly the yin, the female, the nurturer, someone who recognizes our basic humanity which rises above all this crap, not the same old mentally in a pants suit making me wonder is this my female voice? Carl Sagen? once said that our government would not be okay (paraphrased) until we had a even mixture of women in the government, I see it as yin and yang. Hillary does not seem as yin as Obama. The physical sex may not matter as much as where they stand as humans, yin and yang. I am rooting for balance bias towards the yin. strangely the male in his contest.      

  5. All the contributors at THE ENVIRONMENTALIST, (climate scientists, writers, educators, etc), about who to endorse.

    The resultant consensus was posted by the managing editor here.

  6. …I should step into this.  It seems a tad scary.  But, as a 75 year old white female who has suffered all the slings and arrows of a misogynist culture, I’ll venture forth and have my say.

    There is abolutely no way I could support Hillary in the Democratic primary (carefully chosen words here).  To me, she embodies the preferences and tactics of the male dominant system.  I see her as an opportunist who has learned to play the game well with the boys by demonstrating that she can be “tough” in a crisis, up to fighting the mud slinging of this wretchedly competitive

    Darwinian socio-political structure, driven by ambition.

    Your quote on your consideration of choice is excellent.  You indicate your desire for a wonderful society, and I agree with your desire.  I just don’t think Clinton would bring us any closer to that better society.

    I want to see a country standing together to face the disaster of the war, the danger of our warming climate, the perils of mass foreclosures, and the need to help each other without denigration.

    I think Hillary is and would continue to be far too close to her husband’s policies to offer us anything new or better.  On the war, she seems no better.  

    On climate change, I haven’t heard what would amount to a reversal of our disastrous course.  

    On the foreclosure fiasco, don’t forget that it was Bill Clinton who presided over the  deregulating and dismantling of the last remaining protections against the capitalist corporate greed which led to the collapse of ’29.  I speak here of the Glass Steagal Act which was repealed under Bill in 1999.  Glass Steagal was the firewall between the banks and the investors.  When that was repealed, it led directly to the sub-prime morgage chaos.

    As to helping others without denigration, look to Clinton’s “Welfare Reform;” called “Welfare Deform” by those who understood who was hurt by it.  Or look at NAFTA and more…

    No.  I cannot support Hillary or the Clinton duo.  I also finally caved in and voted for Obama (instead of Kucinich) because Hillary scares me.  In this tragic society, my vote for Obama was a vote against Hillary as much or more than a vote for Obama! But at least Obama is still an unknown and is, therefore, a chance.


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