A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Thursday, July 28, 2016

History. Made.

On Monday, November 3, 2008, I attended a rally with then-candidate Barack Obama. His voice was hoarse - it had been a long campaign, and you could tell he was worn out. It was the night before the presidential election and he had been crisscrossing the country rallying voters and pouring energy into his campaign.

That night, I was thrilled by the words Obama hoarsely shouted, which I could hear even at the end of the huge crowd: "Fired Up? Ready to Go!" It was an historic moment and I was proud to be there. While I had not personally experienced racism, it was marvelous to me that America elected an African-American president just a few decades after desegregation. That experience, coupled with attending the first inauguration in Washington, D.C. reminded me of the joy and optimism of the American story. Those experiences inspired me to start this blog.

It's no secret from the title of this blog that I was probably going to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. I can't stand her opponent, and I probably would have voted for any Democrat running against him. Yet I was unexpectedly touched while in my car on Tuesday night - as I was listening to the radio, Hillary Clinton hit the number of delegates necessary to win the Democratic nomination.

The outcome wasn't a surprise, after all, but I was so moved that I got to see the first woman presidential candidate from a major U.S. political party. I wrote a book report about the book: "Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling" while in high school. The book walked through the possible women who might be President. While I joked with my friends that some day *I* would be President, I don't think I really believed it possible.

Listening to the radio on Tuesday, it got real. To me, it was a wonderful moment, and it's been fantastic to read about 100 year old women who were born before women could vote and get to see this day, about the woman Senator who handed Hillary the sledgehammer to break the class ceiling, and see the momentum that women are building in politics. It's hard to believe that the idea of a woman President was so offensive that Walmart banned a T-shirt with that idea. In 1995.

You may not be wild about Hillary, and I get that. But can we all appreciate that it is awesome to see a woman Presidential candidate? As she herself said tonight in her speech, "when the ceiling is broken, the sky is the limit." Tonight, and this week, I've been reminded of our nation's history of optimism and progress. Truly, the sky is the limit, and we ARE stronger together, standing as Americans first, and Democrats (or Republicans) second.

"What the World Needs Now" performed by Broadway stars at the DNC

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Tale of Two Politicians

Let me introduce you to two politicians, and see who you would choose to represent you. Because this is 2016 and one of the major party candidates is a woman (!), I'm going to use non-gender specific pronouns.

Politician #1 spent their pre-political career participating in non-profit work to aid children and rape victims and establish rural health clinics. They served on hospital boards and non-profits aiding children. They authored numerous scholarly articles about children's issues. Once in politics, Politician #1 pursued educational reforms to ensure teachers had necessary skills to teach and limit class sizes in public schools. They worked to expand children's access to health care with bi-partisan support. Politician #1 also worked to increase funding for immunization programs, asthma research, and cancer screenings. Additionally, they have experience in domestic and foreign affairs, and have developed personal relationships with national and international leaders. They've spoken many times about their faith in God and its influence on their life, and help in getting through tough times.

Politician #2 was an attorney who failed the bar exam the first time. Their first case involved getting a man accused of raping a 12 year old girl off the hook on lesser charges. Through work at their law firm, they mixed business and politics, and they were involved in dubious commercial transactions with people of questionable integrity. They served on corporate boards of companies accused of poor labor practices. Upon entering politics, numerous allegations were made of double-dealing, corruption, and fraud, and although nothing was ever proved, this Politician has been at the edges of numerous scandals throughout the years. They have used personal relationships for political gain.

Now, reading these descriptions, I think most of us would choose Politician #1, and would think that Politician #2 is an nonredeemable scumbag. Some of you may have already guessed this, but both politicians are Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton is the Presidential candidate that everyone knows about and has already decided how they feel about her. Most people have made up their mind that she is a shrewd and savvy advocate or a corrupt and conniving politician. We all then view her through our pre-conceived notions and aren't willing to admit that our view of her may be biased.

I'm just as guilty of this as everyone else - I tend to discount the accusations surrounding Whitewater, Benghazi, and the emails as Republican smear tactics, but there's no doubt that Hillary has been involved in a few questionable things.

Just like most career politicians (and Hillary has been in the public eye for over 35 years, so I think we can unquestionably call her a career politician), Hillary has done good things and bad things. She's a human being with faults and foibles. However, if we look at her career over the years, I think we can point to things that she has done well and faithfully. When I hear her speak, I honestly do believe she does care about our country and its direction.

If you've dismissed her in the past as a criminal or phony, I urge you to take a second look and read up on her. You may not agree with everything she says or has done, but at least do yourself the favor of being informed. Don't let your surface knowledge be a barrier to further investigation.

I'll try to blog in the next few months a few of the reasons "I'm With Her," but I urge you to consider her with fresh eyes, and be open to acknowledging both her faults and her accomplishments.