Monday, July 23, 2007

For Dolores

Recently, my mother-in-law was in town, having brought Joe-Henry home from his hedonistic, popsicle and gumdrop fueled frenzy that is a visit to Grandma and Grandpa's house. She returned him to us, happy and healthy and except for his desire to get a toy EVERY TIME HE BREATHES IN, pretty much as spoiled as he was when we left him there.

We started discussing politics, which, considering that they've been Republicans for most of their adult lives, not at all painful. For the most part, we're on the same page about things, the main one being that George is the worst president we've ever had. Ever.

My mother-in-law is one of the most passionate feminists I've ever met. I don't always agree with her about that either - having come of age in those heady days just after all the hard battles were won, I can sometimes be a snot about things. But we started talking about Hillary after reading this article by Anna Quindlen. I stated that I thought Hillary was incredibly bright, but I didn't want to vote for her just because she was a woman, if I vote for her I want it to be because she's the right choice.

"Why NOT?! Why not vote for her just because she's a woman? If we don't do it now, when? She's got more experience at running the country than any of her opponents, she has experience with foreign policy from just having been in the White House, and don't you think we need that now? Barack will have his time, but it's not now, he's not ready. She's been in it her whole life, and has risen above all the shit they've flung at her. We need someone with her experience to clean up the mess Bush has made of this country. Besides, Dad listened to you when you begged him not to vote for Bush. Even DAD is going to vote for Hillary!" (Note to my father-in-law: I promise that no one on your city council reads my blog).

It was this last plea that did it for me. "I want to see a Woman President in my lifetime. I think she's my last shot, and she would be amazing."

When I first met them, I was struck by the collection of political buttons they had in a shadow box on their wall. It was heavy on Reagan, and while not entirely absent, noticeably shy of Democrats, so over the years, we've added to their collection. Because I was a snippy little know-it-all, I thought I could peg them just by looking at that little box. I thought I was so much smarter and wiser and politically savvy. But luckily, I've managed to learn from their wisdom, from their passion for service, and their willingness and openness to change. We still have our disagreements, but I'm not so quick to pat myself on the back for being right.

I'm not telling anyone who I'm going to vote for.
But Dolores, I'll say this - You've convinced me, but even if you hadn't, I'd still do it for you.


Anonymous said...

I would love to see a Clinton/Barack candidacy, even as I wonder if the country that elected Bush, TWICE, is ready for them.

I'm torn on Hillary, to be honest. The feminist in me totally and completely agrees with your mil, but then the feminist in me ALSO believes that there is something somewhat anti-feminist about wanting a person to be president just because she's a woman. Like, shouldn't women be seen as equal, so why should we push for a woman, ANY woman, to be president just because she's a woman? Why can't we automatically assume that the other 50% of the population could be included in the "best possible candidate".

But then the realist in me says if that was the case, we would have already had a woman president. And I start back at square one with the the feminist in me just wanting a damn woman in charge of the country.

I love most of her policy, although I'm still pissed at her for originally supporting the war. I don't know...the bottom line is I'll vote for whoever the Democratic party puts up for President. Yes, I'm one of those "I would rather die than vote for a Republican". In the words of my colleague, a PhD who teaches a critical thinking class, that does not make me a "critical thinker".

I told him maybe not, but I would rather be a noncritical thinker who actually has a heart and a soul.

suttonhoo said...

after crushing hard on obama for a time, I'm definitely in the undecided camp (about so many things -- the presidential race being just one among many ;) -- but girlfriend, this post gave me chills.

bunch of little tiny ones running up and down and up and down my spine.

thanks for shouting out.

PureLight said...

I really like your mother-in-law, and I really like that you like her too.

Anonymous said... I don't seem to have your e-mail address either. And you don't have it in your profile on your blog.

E-mail me, you mysterious lazy butt.

anniemcq said...

Tracey - I think the country is ready for something. I'm really hoping we've learned from our mistakes.

Dayna - I'm glad to hear you're open to it. I know how much you heart Barack. I do too, but the task ahead is so gargantuan, I think the only man for the job is a woman.

And Purelight - you'd like her even more if you met her. She's amazing.

Donna said...

I agree a lot with Tracey on this one. I am not sure that I want to vote for a woman JUST to vote for one. Or just because she has more congressional experience. Part of me keeps hearing the old guard in the companies I have worked for saying, "Well, that's not the way we do it around here. Stick around for a while and you'll come to accept it."

I don't have enough info yet to decide, but I will not rule Barack out simply because he has not done hard time on Capitol Hill yet. The President is a leader, not a ruler, and a good leader, surrounded by a great team can get the job done. Shortsightedness and singlemindedness have gotten us into a deep hole. I want the next president to show that he or she will be thinking outside the political box, because what we have now ain't workin'!