The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Saturday, August 30, 2008

2nd Choice


I have been thinking about posting on this subject for a week, since Barack Obama's announcement that Joe Biden will be his VP running mate in this election. I was a clear but not necessarily loud Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter during the primary season, and I admit to a great deal of disappointment that my dream team did not come to fruit. At the same time, I was relatively content with Biden as with Obama as a "second choice" who generally represents the same values of my "first choice," in both instances HRC. I understood that after all that had happened in the last 7 months, Obama was unlikely to choose to spend the next 2 months and with luck next 8 years with HRC and her famous husband at his side (or in his face.)

I am pleased that in the week since Obama's announcement, we have been treated to a week's worth of Democratic making up at the DNC. By the end of the convention, most Dems were content with our ticket and were feeling warm and fuzzy at the history Obama's nomination most assuredly represents. Although I myself was not teary during his speech, I understand the generations of Black people who were. Obama/Biden were second choices, for me, yes? But still very much good choices.

Then comes John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, for his number 2 spot. All I could think is that he must be crazy. For most HRC supporters, Palin is not an appropriate 2nd choice, especially not when she comes attached to the person (McCain) and constituency (Christian conservatives) who hate every progressive thing that Hillary stands for. I don't care that she calls herself a feminist or that she has a uterus, Palin represents no good option and would be a poor substitute for the leadership of a decent man much less that of an extraordinary woman, like HRC.

Now I am really not under the illusion that McCain picked Palin to appeal to women like me. I am firmly within the Democratic base and my views actually are probably to the left of everyone except Dennis Kucinich. And in truth, he's not after people who really liked what Hillary's positions represent. He smartly has consolidated the Republican base, as Christian conservatives describe themselves as elated at his choice. And he's after the folks who want to feel good about bringing change but only on the most superficial level, that keeps the powerful powerful and the disempowered weak. Shake up Washington? Yeah, right.

I am hoping that the next 2 months and Election Day, in particular, demonstrate our unwillingness to fall for such a ruse.

10 comments:

TalentedTenth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moonbeam said...

Out of good nature, Dr. C. I would like to hear more about why you clearly do not like Palin. I know she's a social conservative and I can understand disagreeing with her positions, but here are some things to ponder:

In my opinion:

1. She lives out what I thought was supposed to be the idea of a "feminist" -- she is independent, strong, has held her own dealing with the old boys network, and has not had a problem standing up to men in the workplace. She clearly has found a way to balance her life as a mother, wife, and -- a governor of a state. I like the fact she is a hunter - she could clearly defend herself.

2. Some have said she lacks experience. Well, let's think about that. As I woman, I am offended by that suggestion. Obama has been in the Senate for 3 years, 1/2 of which has been campaigning. He doesn't even describe accurately the one bill he toutes as his own -- the ethics reform bill. While Palin has been Governor for only 2 years, she has executive experience and did a very clear reforming during that time and before. Also, when the democrats were tossing around possible names for Obama's VP, Tim Kaine (Governor VA) kept coming up -- no one questioned whether he had enough experience and he was sworn in the same year at Palin. The difference between Obama and Palin in this regard is that Obama is at the top of the ticket.

3. Also I have been offended by questions about whether Palin can balance her family and being VP. First, has anyone asked male candidates through the years with kids whether they can balance work and family? Has anyone asked Obama whether he can be a Dad and President? Why is it assumed that the woman has to be asked that question?

4. All this talk by the Obama campaign abotu "change" -- what this change is has not really been defined...but, it seems all of us agree on change, but disagree what that may look like. Obama keeps talking about shaking up washington and that he is an outsider just coming to washington. OK. Well, here is a woman who has a record of shaking up the establishment, even against her own party. She has fought the big oil companies, helped to expand a natural gas line that will benefit the nation and provide jobs to her constituents, and said "no" to Ted Stevens' "bridge to no where" earmark for Alaska. She sold the governor's private jet when she got into office and travels mostly commercial (I have heard she even will fly herself -- talk about an modern woman), and she got rid of her governor security detail, saying she can talk care of herself.

5. On top of all of that, her son is going off to Iraq. I understand she's former union and her husband is a union member. They seem to come from a blue-collar background and have worked hard to achieve what they have.

I do understand how if some strongly disagree with her stance for prolife and maybe guns they would not vote for her. But, I do have to ask, putting aside difference in opinion, why we as women should not be proud she is on McCain's ticket?

It is interesting, I have other African-Americans come to me and ask, so you're not voting for the first black president? Don't you want to be a part of history? They seem to expect me to vote for Obama just because he is black and has a really chance of winning. I wonder if those same people who say that if Obama was on the Republican ticket. While I do not plan to vote for Obama, I am proud as a black woman of his accomplishments. I disagree with him very much on 90% of the issues, but I can still appreciate and value this historic election. Why can't people feel the same about Palin?

Leslie D. Callahan said...

Let's start with the last comment. I said in the post that I was a Hillary supporter and although I am voting for Obama now, it is based on his positions not his race.

As for Gov. Palin, I am responding to the silly notion that large numbers of Hillary supporters will vote for a woman whose positions are diametrically opposed.

As for her family, her very own conservative compatriots are famous for being excessively judgmental of women's parenting choices, esp. when their ambition takes them away from their small children (rather than financial necessity). I am saying that they are hypocrites. In addition, I am also saying that I would question ANY parent (dad or mom) who went on the road with a 4 month old.

I didn't pay much attention to the Tim Kaine possibility, but Obama didn't pick him. Perhaps his more extended vetting process led him to the conclusion that 2 years was not enough. But Kaine had also been lieutenant governor and mayor of a substantially larger city than Wasilla. He also has a graduate degree (law) and a bachelors in economics.

I would have preferred that Obama be around a bit longer and have more experience. But I think McCain's judgment is seriously flawed. He barely knew Sarah Palin. And she comes with significant baggage. This should upset you as a Republican - Who wants to spend 1/4 of the convention talking about her pregnant daughter?

No, I don't agree with her social positions- what we know of them. No, I don't like McCain's impulsiveness. In the words of my first choice, No way. No how. No McCain.

Moonbeam said...

I can respect your points. They are thoughtful ones. Interestingly, I am not pro-life, but I suppose fundamentally I have a healthy (or perhaps Unhealthy) distrust for government period. I think government inherently tends towards corruption, power, and frankly evil. I also don't know any major government program that has worked as it was intended.

So, my issue with Obama has little to do with the social issues. I was reform and change, but I want reform and change that decreases the role of government in our lives. I was change that makes the government smaller not larger with massive social programs that are modeled after those in Europe and Canada but for which their citizens pay more than 1/2 of their income in taxes and still decide to pay extra for private insurance because of the health care bureaucracy.

I do care about people who can not afford health care. I do not believe any American family or child should have to worry about housing on food or medicine. But, I also believe that not every problem should be and frankly cane be solved by adding yet another Federal program. I do not see how on the one hand people can complain about the government interfering with their privacy rights when it comes to abortion or wiretapping, but at the same time believe in an ever expanding Federal government.

Case in point -- look at some more recent efforts of legislators at different levels of government wanting to ban certain "bad" foods or make it more difficult. Or, people more willing in effect to take punitive actions (like airlines charging more) if people are over-weight. Part of their argument is that health care costs do impact all citizens. Imagine a federalized health care system -- the Federal government would have every argument to make restrictions and take other actions that dictate our lives based on the argument that it is paying for our health care. Would it not happen? When people were going against the tobacco companies, people asked, what next junk food? We were told that was ridiculous -- but, what was next? junk food.

Leslie D. Callahan said...

But Moonbeam, how can you vote for McCain? He is not a "small govt" Republican. That's Ron Paul. Indeed, the current Republican party has a larger govt than the Dems. I see your libertarian tendencies and I even sympathize with them to some degree. I just don't see how putting McCain in office, with him beholden to the Christian Right with their attachment to their own kind of activist judges, gets the libertarian job done. A Constitutional amendment against abortion as well as gay marriage and civil unions does not represent lesser governmental interference in individual lives - even if they tax us less to do it.

Meanwhile, the big question that emerges out of the last 8 years is the one about who is actually going to pay for all the spending.

Moonbeam said...

I can see what you are saying. I do disagree that McCain will be more of the same. And, frankly, I don't believe he will be beholden to anyone if elected, just to what he believes is right, because that's his clear record in the Senate.

So, we will see. But, I am sure you will agree that this is an interesting election year.

Peace.

K E Alexander said...

Leslie, I knew if I read your blog I'd find a voice of reason! Lately, I feel like I am an alien on some distant planet!

Since when did "family values" mean that you leave your family in a time of crisis? After years of being in the ministry and after knowing numbers of families who went through the trauma of a child (yes, a 17 year old girl is a child) who becomes pregnant...I seriously question a parent (read, parent, not mother...I would question a father doing so as well) subjecting their already troubled daughter (whose trouble will not be resolved by marrying a 17-year old father of the baby) to this "spotlight". I don't actually think the media has been unfair. In this case, if the Religious Right is not going to raise the issue, I'm glad someone is! And an infant with special needs will only grow to require more special assistance. Yes, this does make SP look more like the masses....but the masses are not especially equipped for the job of VP or President! And I refuse to be labeled a traitor to feminism because of my opinion. I know of no credible feminist agenda which would advocate abandoning first responsibilities like SP seems to be able to do "without a blink".

And speaking of that....I am SCARED TO DEATH of any leader who can enter into any major decision "without a blink". This is not a sign of readiness, but of cockiness and inmaturity.

Further, as a Christian, I am offended by both the tone and content of her speech(es). There is nothing of Christian charity in her vitriolic language and her claims about her "qualifications" have been proven to be lies. Or is "truth in love" no longer a Christian value?

I have been amazed at the Religious Right's blindness over the past 8 years and this choice reveals that blindness to be a terminal illness.

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