India elected it’s first female president, Pratibha Patil, last Saturday. This adds India to the list of countries that have elected, appointed or otherwise ended up with women as political leaders.
Now, I don’t know very much about Indian history, its politics or its culture. I know the basic story of Ghandi and I’ve heard “Bollywood” rivals Hollywood in terms of size and money. I also know that the few Indian films I have seen are absolutely beautiful.
But, as happy for India as I am, this post isn’t really about India (did you really think it world be?). See, America is on the verge of entering that list, too.
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is making a strong run for the White House and, across the country, feminists, Democrats and moderates are watching with anticipation to see if she can pull off the Democratic nomination and the general election.
As a male feminist, a large part of me wanted to immediately endorse Clinton and start campaigning for her. But I wanted to look at the field of potential candidates and, when I did, I also found a strong African American candidate and a wonderful, but second tier, Hispanic candidate. And I knew in my heart of hearts that as much as I wanted a minority as our Commander in Chief, to endorse, campaign for or vote for someone simply because he or she is a minority is just as wrong as not doing those things because the candidate is a minority. And thus began a long and difficult process of researching and thinking about each candidate.
I am from Ohio and I am an anti-war, ultra leftist liberal, so I absolutely love Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich. But he has no chance. Still, it is great to hear him speak so passionately about making peace the guiding principal of our nation’s political, economic, and foreign policies.
Mike Gravel scares me. Period. That man is angry. And he is too extreme even for me.
As for Chris Dodd … well, I don’t know him. And after watching three debates and doing a whole bunch of research, I still don’t know him. I don’t see much that distinguishes him from the rest of the candidates. And while he seems intelligent and capable of being a good leader, I don’t see the passion in him that I see in other candidates.
At first, I liked Joe Biden. He is clearly very smart and passionate. And I respect his comment in the recent YouTube debate about the Michigander whose baby was an assault riffle (Biden said, “That man needs help.”). Of course, the comment means the NRA will keep him from ever being President, but that is okay. He doesn’t seem right for the job. He doesn’t seem to have the temperment needed of a President.
I have been quite impressed by Bill Richardson, though. Quite frankly, I would love to see him as our President. But the time doesn’t seem right for him. He seems too uncomfortable as a candidate and this campaign feels more like a primer for him. He seems to be getting his sea legs in preparation for another run in four or eight years (depending on the need). I think he would be a perfect running mate for any candidate, though, especially with his ties to the southwestern states.
When the primaries started, I thought I was going to support John Edwards. His passion about fighting poverty is close to my heart. I still have warm feelings about him from the Kerry/Edwards campaign of 2004. He has seemed gentle, but firm. He has run a wonderful campaign based on populist ideas and issues that I support. But, I also think his cure can be as damaging as the disease. I cannot support a mandated universal heath insurance plan because it will take needed money away from poor people without them having any say in it. And something about him makes me trust him less and less. Is he saying what he believes or is he saying what he thinks people want to hear, even though all experts say not to say things like “We need to raise taxes”? In other words, I wonder if he is being honest or if he is pretending to be honest? I respect his editorial about his decision to authorize the War in Iraq. I also respect his honesty about his personal struggle with the issue of homosexuality. I want to believe him that his personal beliefs will not affect his decisions regarding “the gay issue” but as a strong believer is equal rights for all Americans, I cannot take the chance. So, for Edwards, gay rights became the deal breaker.
Barak Obama is charismatic, hopeful and exciting. I love to watch and listen to him speak. I love to see the crowds gathering for him. I love his optimism and his belief in the goodness of Americans and America. But I feel he lacks substance. His entire plan seems to be “Hope.” Unfortunately, as Anderson Cooper has said, “Hope is not a plan.” I know he has had experience as a community leader, as a state legislator and the past few years as a state Senator. But his inexperience worries me when I think of him as President. As with Bill Richardson, I think Obama would be wonderful as a Vice President, but not yet as a President.
And then there is Hillary Clinton. I didn’t want to support Clinton. I thought there was no way for me to support her without supporting her just because she is a woman. I really distanced myself when she didn’t take a strong stand against the Military Commisions Act of 2006 that allowed for the torture of individuals suspected of being terrorists. But then I stepped back and realized that I had given serious thought to the other candidates and I should give serious thought to her too.
And I found out that I loved Hillary Clinton. Yes, torture act aside (which she did condemn, thought she didn’t stop the act from passing), she is a fabulous candidate. Her foreign policy experience and connections are superb and make her, probably, the leading expert on such matters among all of the candidates (Democratic and Republican). Her record on women’s issues, gay and lesbian issues and other minority issues is flawless. She is calm, collected, intelligent and assertive. She considers compromise but also stays true to her convictions. And, though she is a progressive (which means she a moderate Democrat) and thought I am a die hard liberal, I understand the need for a united country, which a leftist like myself in the White House would never bring. Some say Clinton can’t bring that either, because of her baggage, but I disagree. She has a good chance of winning the general election and a good chance of taking us as a nation into the future. And I don’t entirely disagree with many of the ideas put forth by the DLC.
Monday’s YouTube debate solidified it for me. I want Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States. Now begins the future and it looks bright.
“By The Numbers” by KpZa
And because I thought it was a great video:
“Candidates” by Richardson4President
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Election, Feminism, Hillary Clinton, News, Politics | 9 Comments »