The Road to Independents

Ever since my last post, I’ve been thinking of ways to show that I’m serious (well, that and I took a little time to party for my birthday…priorities and all, you know). I’ve got an idea or two, but I’m letting them soak in for a bit before bouncing them off you all here (the title of this post may or may not be a clue).

However, I thought I’d share something I found recently while sorting through some random Word documents I had on my memory stick. I’m not sure when I wrote this…obviously, it was in 2008 and it was after one of the Clinton/Obama debates, but I’ve no idea which one, and no idea what the “XEROX quote” is all about. I’m sure I could look it up, but meh.

It doesn’t really apply to the now, but I thought it was interesting enough as a flashback to where I was politically four years ago: The disenchantment was beginning, but I still held steadfastly to my hope that something good could happen, if only the right person was elected for the job.

Person.

The 2008 Democratic primaries taught me an important lesson regarding my place in the Democratic agenda: Good enough to pander to for my vote; not good enough to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate because I might do something offensive…like age or cry or have “cankles.”

Of course, had Hillary won, it would have probably been four solid years of uphill battle after uphill battle while she was constantly critiqued and criticized for every decision, both politically and personally (probably mostly personally). At least she got to be Secretary of State. And at times more popular than the president himself. And be the inspiration for a really groovy meme.

And now it’s 2012 and women seem to have become an even greater…what? Mandatory voter demographic to capture? Asset? Threat? Our bodies apparently are incredibly threatening. You know what’s even more threatening? Our minds. It’s time, then, that we started listening more, paying more attention…not to what is being said to us, but what is being said about us, oftentimes without our input and without our consent…what is being valued, judged, ruled, overruled, controlled, and taken from us in a continuing attempt to reduce us to nothing more than…our bodies.

There are many things transpiring in this country that I find worrisome, but the ongoing ramp-up of rhetoric regarding what is ultimately politicians deciding for me what can and cannot be done with and to my own body is definitely of key concern. I’m not talking about the minutia; I’m talking about the overarching message being sent by every politician, from both sides, who thinks that they have the right to speak for women, to determine overall what is best for us rather than letting us decide for ourselves. Can’t stop us from choosing for ourselves? Then just limit our options across the board…you know, to make sure we’re protected from our own attempts at making up our own minds.

Whenever a politician uses rhetoric aimed at a woman’s body as a plank in their party’s respective political platform, they’re simply reiterating one of my steadily growing concerns: that we’re nothing more than something to walk over, to stand on. Use us to reach what you want and then pack us up until the next election cycle.

I’m tired of it. Are you?

We are more than our bodies. Just ask Hillary Clinton. She might answer you if she has a free moment while running the world.

I think one of the most telling moments of last night’s debate was when Senator Obama stated that he has been campaigning for the presidency for two years, and I have to say that I am very disappointed in how the mainstream media (MSM) has preferred to turn a blind eye to such statements and instead cram down our collective throat the “Xerox” quote. I suppose, though, that Senator Obama’s smartest move early in his campaign was getting a billionaire media mogul to throw down the race gauntlet for him, thereby bullying the complicit silence of the MSM.

(Side note to Ms. Winfrey: When I say that I think Senator Obama needs a little more federal-level experience, I do not mean your race-baiting interpretation that Senator Obama needs to “wait his turn.” I mean that if my car breaks down, I want the experienced mechanic to take care of it, not the guy up the street who’s looked under the hoods of a few cars and is really excited about what he believes he can do. Fixing a broken country is far more daunting and precarious than fixing a car, so why would I entrust my future into any less capable hands than I would entrust my car?)

Now, back on point. When Senator Clinton decided to run for her New York senate seat in 2000, the MSM and all her detractors could not wait to accuse her of being a “carpet bagger” and only thinking ahead as to how she could position herself properly for a run at the presidency in 2004. However, she was able, during a year when being a Clinton was by no means a positive point at all, to convince the people of New York (not a state known for being an “easy sell”) that she would serve them honestly and honorably, and that she would not desert them before her term was up. She kept her word and served her constituents well enough, including during the most horrifying moment of New York’s—and this country’s—history, that the people of New York thanked her with a second term as one of their U.S. senators.

Senator Obama, by his own admission, has spent the past two years campaigning for the presidency. I’m a word nerd and by no means great with numbers, but I believe that equals out to 80 percent of his time served as a federal-level politician. Beyond this marathon campaigning, we have heard recently that even some of his own supporters can’t point to one accomplishment that the senator has achieved while at the federal level.

That, of course, makes me curious about his state senate service, and when I look back into those records, I see someone who has run for the offices that he has held because they are the inevitable stepping stones to what he has desired most all along.

True, he has done good things. One must make a positive impact of some sort to continue to win votes. However, he also padded his state senate voting record with “present” votes—a lovely passive-aggressive way to keep a cheery, positive record. He also ran for his current U.S. Senate seat as the sole Democratic candidate against a highly unpopular Republican opponent. Since then, he has written two books filled with lots of personal confessions as a means of vetting himself to the people as being a “transparent politician.”

However, I see a more telling transparency when I look at how each of the senators’ states recently voted. Each candidate won the vote of their respective state. Look closer and you’ll see that Senator Clinton won every county in New York State except one. This is not true for Senator Obama’s win in Illinois. He, in fact, did not carry any of the counties that make up southern Illinois—a region of the state that comprises blue-collar workers who don’t possess college degrees or earn $50,000 or more. These counties went to Senator Clinton. That is a very telling transparency.

Contrary to the beliefs of the current president, the engine of this country isn’t its white-collar elite. Instead, the engine is the blue-collar workforce—people like my father, who worked often thankless time-clocked jobs for more than 30 years before injury retired him. I learned an honest work ethic from him. I also learned that the longest day’s work won’t amount to much if the people in power don’t listen to your needs. These are the people who need the most help. These are the people who should inspire real pride in our country. And these are the people who, after 10 1/2 years of familiarity with Senator Obama, cast their confidence in Senator Clinton.

At the end of the day, both senators are, as someone rightfully pointed out to me, “just politicians.” But when I look at Senator Obama, I see a politician who has spent the past decade carefully crafting the perfect launch pad for obtaining what has always been his ultimate goal.

When I look at Senator Clinton, I see a politician who doesn’t have the mostly spotless track record of her opponent because she has been willing to place herself in the line of fire for who and what she believes in. Yes, she’s made mistakes, but she has picked herself up, learned from her errors, and gone on to fight another day. She has sustained incredible professional and personal blows throughout her career, and yet, to paraphrase Maya Angelou, still she rises. That is true inspiration.