Archive for hillary clinton

What Women Want

Posted in Rants & Rages with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2008 by tigereye

Let me first say that when I was 13 and Walter Mondale, even in the face of doom, chose then-Representative Geraldine Ferraro, I was tickled as hell, along with all my Democratic female relatives, which is to say everyone on both sides of the family except one extremely sickening cousin. He probably wasn’t going to win, and we didn’t know jack about this woman — but she was bright, and kicked George Bush I’s skinny butt in the VP debate, and I held fond memories of her for all these years. Until this spring, when she pulled off her “Mission Impossible” mask to reveal a white hood, but that’s another story.

Let me also say: what y’all may not know about me is that I was a Hillary Clinton supporter long, long before I’d ever heard of Barack Obama and John Edwards. I would have taken a bullet for her. I got beat up at a rally for the 1992 Clinton/Gore ticket, and felt my black eye and bloody nose were as much on Hillary’s behalf as Bill and Al’s. I hate that she comported herself so awfully by the end of her campaign. Unlike Ferraro, I feel her legacy deserves better. Just because I found candidates I believed in more fully doesn’t mean I don’t have, well, feelings for Hillary, the way you sometimes hold a soft spot for years for that guy you dated a long time ago. You don’t want to be with him now, but you wish him well.

So I’m insulted.

On behalf of all women who supported Hillary Rodham Clinton; on behalf of all women who have ever worked and earned less than a man doing the same job; on behalf of all women who identify as feminists, not just co-opt the term and twist it into some unnatural mockery of what it’s supposed to mean.

Does John McCain think women are interchangeable?

“Look! Look, you former Hillary voters, over here! See, we have a woman too! That’s what you wanted, right? Isn’t that what you women wanted? See, here’s a woman, why don’t you get excited over her now?”

If Hillary Clinton had been the Democratic nominee, he’d probably be trotting out Alan Keyes to try to woo the Obama supporters.

I don’t like anything about this woman except her glasses. I really don’t. I haven’t seen anything admirable or likable about her, which should surprise no one: I tend to think uncharitably of Pat Buchanan supporters in all walks of life. But that’s not the point.

The point is, who thinks like this?

It’s bad enough that in 2008 women can’t make the same wages men do. It’s headache-inducing to think the world, and my own country, are full of people who have no trouble thinking I’m less of a citizen, less of a worker, less of a vote, less of an opinion. We’re 51% of the population and less than 20% of the representatives we elect. And worst of all, we’re taught not to mind. Some of our families passed this down to us the way it was handed to them. Some of our families told us it was wrong but our teachers and friends and employers and government didn’t, so it was hard to keep that message in mind. I cannot think of anything harder to do, right now, than raise a daughter. It would break my heart for her to find out her society didn’t love her as much as I did.

And that someone representing half the population of her country thinks she would be interchangeable.

You idiot, what the Clinton supporters — the real ones, not the ones with little reins leading back to Karl Rove’s web — wanted wasn’t a woman. It was that woman. They believed in what one particular amazing woman was trying to do, even when she lost sight, near the end, of how the ends don’t always justify the means. They held on stubbornly even when they knew she was wrong, even when their friends wanted to wring their necks and stamp our feet and shake sense into them. And most of them came around.

Sarah Palin can stand on that platform by John McCain and invoke Hillary Clinton’s name all day long, but that’s all she’s doing: name-dropping. She couldn’t stand more diametrically opposed to what Hillary Clinton stands for and believes in if she was Mothra or Lex Luthor. And it’s even more insulting to have a woman ask us to vote for her ticket because she has a body part in common with us.

Hell, all this and I’m an Obama supporter.

I hope thousands of other people are as angry over this as I am.


Cry You a River

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2008 by tigereye

I’m not a wimp, I swear.

I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, but everything makes me cry. Around Christmas, I figured this is normal, or as close to normal as I’m going to get. I have some relatives who are gravely ill, and seeing them or not seeing them evokes the same response — tears, natch. Candlelight communion always gets me too. And then there’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” and all the other holiday specials that pretty much flatten me around that time of year.

But I’m usually over it by now.

I think I spent half of last week either in tears or choking them back. I can’t bring myself to blame Hillary Clinton for starting it, but when I saw her on TV, genuinely moved, I was too. I love Hillary, and I’m not voting for her in the primary, and I’m unhappy with myself about it, and I found myself with big movie-ish tears welling in my eyes while I watched her. Then the media’s star collection of mouthy dolts spent the rest of the week talking about that moment, and I got so angry I found myself fighting off a whole different brand of tears. What the hell, people? Everyone swallowed that shtick about W hugging the teenager who lost her mother on September 11, but I didn’t hear every jackass with a microphone expostulating about it for an entire week. God save me from the “liberal media,” and other fabrications.

It was books that got me next: The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat, an old favorite by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who’s ever loved a pet, but there are a couple of moments in it that’ll make you reach for the Kleenex. I sniffled my way back to some dignity, stopping along the way to give Spike a huge hug he probably could’ve lived without. Then I also reread Elizabeth Berg’s Talk Before Sleep, possibly the best thing I’ve ever read about women and friendship, but it’s also about losing someone you love, and not only that, the first time I read it — not realizing what I was getting into — was less than two months after the unexpected death of someone close, someone I miss just about every day. It’s a beautiful, moving book, but dear God, I don’t know what got into me, reading it right after Foudini. I might as well have spent the evening stabbing myself with scissors.

Politics bit me again. I went to a John Edwards rally. I’d heard bits and pieces of his stump speech, and I knew his background was very much like my own, a family living in a mill village and working in a mill most of their lives. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of mills in the south, they’re the 20th-century descendants of plantations, for all practical purposes. He’s an exceptional speaker anyway, and when he talked about the worth of the mill workers being the same as that of the mill owner — words that, 50 years ago, would’ve got him run out of town — I only held onto myself by biting the hell out of my lower lip and thinking I’m surrounded by news cameras and I’m damned if I’ll be shown crying on the six o’clock news. I wasn’t, but it was uncomfortably close for a moment or two.

I want to emphasize that I knew the movie John and I watched this weekend was going to make me cry. I just didn’t know how much. We had a choice of “We Are Marshall” and “Gods and Monsters” this weekend, neither one of which we’d seen, and we picked the football movie since the season’s coming to an end. Look, I had very low expectations. Matthew McConaughey hasn’t been at the top of his game in a while, and he hammed up his character with an enthusiasm worthy of William Shatner. But the story of the movie got to me. It was a little close to home, about a small town that has everything emotionally invested in its football team (Clemson, anyone?), and there were a couple of scenes toward the end that even choked John up a little. I, of course, cried all over the sofa.

Then I went home the next day with a migraine, which knocks my defenses down a few degrees anyway, and tried to explain the movie to a friend on the phone, and ended up bursting into tears all over again, damn it.

Her: Are you crying?

Me: (sniffle) Uh, no.

Her: You sound like it. Movie really got to you, huh?

Me: I’m not crying!

Her: (silence)

Me: OK, maybe a little, but it was really good.

Her: Have some chocolate. It’ll make you feel better.

Which it did.

So what the heck is up with this? I can’t possibly be menopausal yet. I’m too young and not lucky enough. But I’d like to be able to go out in public without there being the chance that I’ll, I don’t know, hear “Fire and Rain” on the radio and not drive off into a ditch somewhere, sobbing.

And that’s all before the grand finale I’ve got planned for tonight: I’m going to watch “The Green Mile” for about the 10th time.

I have a box of Kleenex and a very furry cat in case I run out. Check the news for flooding in the southeast…

So, I Met My Candidate Yesterday…

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2008 by tigereye

This was totally unplanned. I had to go to Clemson anyway, to get my hair dyed before I go job-hunting in earnest, because someone with an inch and a half of brown roots grown out in their hair just doesn’t look like someone you’d want to hire. It looks like they’ve given up on life and are ready for the poorhouse, which is how I feel sometimes, but not necessarily how I want to look.

So I’m munching some cereal for breakfast with “The Today Show” on in the background, and the local update comes on and gives us the political visit news of the day. Mike Huckabee’s in Greenville, big fat hairy deal, and John Edwards is in Clemson…


Yep, in Clemson. A scant two hours before my hair appointment. Which triggers my brain to say, If you’re going there anyway, get a move on, fool. You haven’t been to a political rally since 1992, when you and your friends got beaten up by a bunch of Republican assholes. Yes, this is how my brain really talks to me.

So I shower and put on makeup and show up in Clemson half an hour before the rally. There were about 30 people already gathered, including a group of senior citizens seated in the chairs in front of the stage, which I thought was a nice touch — college students can sit on the steps, but no one over 60 should be expected to do it. I stood beside the brick ramp leading up to the little staging area, thinking There should be a better crowd than this — the guy grew up 10 minutes from here, for God’s sake. Little did I know.

Whoever put together Edwards’s music did a good job picking the songs. I’m always very conscious of this, because badly selected music really puts me off. (Some dolt at my college’s football games likes to play AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” during the pregame warmups, and at every game I wonder how hard it would be to break into his booth, knock him out, and put on one of my homemade CDs much more suited to a game. But I digress.) This person got it right, though: not only did he have “Fortunate Son” and a few other CCR anthems, and not only did he feature that ubiquitous Mellencamp song “This is Our Country,” but he had Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising,” Robert Randolph’s “Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong With That,” a Dr. John song I’ve heard before but couldn’t identify… Someone in the Edwards campaign needs to be congratulated. I couldn’t have put together a better playlist myself. OK, I probably could, but this person would still be a close second.

Within half an hour, the crowd of 30 had swelled to about 150, and was crawling with TV and print reporters, photographers, campaign personnel, College Democrats who made me all nostalgic, and a few people I recognized from working with the local Democratic Party all those years ago. Everyone was cheerful and, well, even brotherly, offering seats to older attendees, carrying John and Elizabeth Edwards’s books in case there was a chance for autographs, smiling at total strangers. Hell, even I smiled at total strangers, which is pretty much against everything I believe in. So sue me. The sun was out and it was in the 70s in January. Yesterday it didn’t quite suck so much to be in SC.

By the time the event was supposed to have started, about 300 people had gathered and were still streaming up the steps and across the field. The front of the crowd was encouraged to step forward, so I found myself in the front row, holding an Edwards sign, wishing I’d thought to look for my “John Edwards 2004” button before I left the house. The front row was now less than 10 feet from the platform. I noticed a Secret Service-looking man in the crowd who looked so much like Barack Obama he could be his Mini-Me; only their height differed. There was also a large guy, associated with either the campaign or one of the local Democratic parties, in (God help me, still stuck in the south) overalls with an Edwards t-shirt on under it. This is the guy the news cameras will stick to, I thought. Especially the ones from Fox.

The former Senator arrived about half an hour late — not bad for a politician, not bad at all — and by then there were 500 or more gathered around an area that could comfortably hold about a hundred. Immediately the professional photographers shoved through to stand in front of those of us in the front row, which prompted me and a few others to crowd them uncomfortably: sure, it’s their job, but it’s MY candidate, so at least excuse yourselves, people. Edwards didn’t look at all like someone who’d been up late the night before, sweating about the returns in the land of the rich and the white, up north. And when I heard him speak, I remembered why I’d wanted to vote for him four years ago, and wanted to again, now.

He talked about growing up in a family that worked in the mills nearby, which, if you’re not from the south, is comparable only to working in the mines. Mill work was grueling and it was one of the jobs most concentrated upon by union busters, beloved by the extremely rich mill owners, both groups that make me sick with good old-fashioned class anger. He talked about having no health insurance and being unable to afford medicine or treatment. He talked about the salaries of insurance company CEOs, of oil barons, in comparison with what the rest of us could expect to make. He talked about America being better than this, which nearly choked me up, because I remember once thinking we were better than this, before the entire nation was sold out to the corrupt cronies of a failed and corrupt president.

I don’t know how John Edwards is going to do nationwide — and I still like all three Democratic frontrunners — but for about half an hour yesterday, I remembered what it had been like in 1992 to have a candidate running who wanted the same things I wanted, mainly for our country to be a better place for everyone, not just the sickeningly rich. I don’t know if I can get that kind of optimism back on a full-time basis, but it was nice to feel it again even for a few minutes yesterday, a nostalgia helped out by my presence on my old college campus. Who knows? — If I’d looked down, maybe I would’ve seen my old size 2 self for a few seconds, but that’s neither here nor there.

When it was over I joined the crush of people in line to shake Edwards’s hand, which left me thinking That’s two candidates I’ve shaken hands with now — possibly one of them will be President by the end of the year. All I have to do is meet Barack Obama and I’ll just about have the trifecta.

Then I walked downtown and got my hair dyed.