Monday, February 11, 2008

Why I won't vote for Clinton

My dogs actually got a squirrel today. The earth must have started spinning in reverse, or something. I have no love for squirrels, indeed I hate them most passionately, but I wouldn't wish a fatal dog-mauling on any creature.

But I didn't open my dashboard to talk about that.

The Virginia primary at last! For the first time in nearly four years, I am feeling interested in politics. Back in 2004, I stood in line for at least an hour to vote. This was in the gymnasium of Clark school here in C'ville, and the atmosphere was upbeat, almost exuberant, which made my disappointment the next day all the more devastating.

I hesitated sharing who I plan to vote for tomorrow. But why should I be afraid to say that I will vote for Barack Obama? Because I'm a woman, and I am somehow letting the side down by voting for a man over Hilary Clinton? Nonsense!

I don't like Hilary Clinton. It started with her comment about how if she'd been an at-home mother, she'd have done nothing all day but bake cookies. That was back in early 1992--I wasn't even a mother at that time, but her remark hurt me, since I planned to stay at home once I had a child--a very unfashionable choice in the early '90s. I know, I know, she explained the comment away as a reference to vapid political-wife tea parties, but I felt she showed gross insensitivity. Mothers who stay at home sometimes do have to make an effort to find intellectual stimulation, it's true, but is a job--any job--always more interesting and intellectually stimulating than full time mothering? How many women in the workforce have truly interesting, fulfilling careers?

This is not to say that I felt that Hilary Clinton was wrong for building up a successful career, or that all mothers must stay at home with young children. I just resented the slight against my life choice.

At the beginning of the Clinton presidency, Jon and I were newly married, with a newborn baby. Jon was in graduate school in Michigan, studying comparative religion. By the end of Clinton's two terms in office, Jon had switched careers and become a nurse. We'd had to move from our hometown, Buffalo, New York because Jon couldn't find a job there, or anywhere else in New York state. It was hard to leave family. My mother had died in 1997, Jon's father was unwell, we had numerous siblings, cousins and friends that we were leaving behind, but there was no future for us in New York, so we came to Virginia where a good job was waiting. I considered us to be economic refugees. Charlottesville, Virginia is a fine place to live, but we never would have come here if we'd been able to find a way to support ourselves in New York. I was acutely aware of the disastrous state of affairs in my home state.

Enter Hilary Clinton and her bid for the New York senate seat recently vacated by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. How I resented her blatant exploitation of the people of New York! New York State has an unbalanced population, with nearly half the state's people living in the New York City area. NYC has a population of around 8 million. Buffalo, the second largest city, has a population of less than 300,000. This means that in national elections, the people who live upstate don't have the votes to override what the people of NYC want, and pleasing or helping the people of upstate can be a low priority because NYC is where the votes are. And so it has been with Hilary Clinton's terms in the senate.

We go home to Buffalo every summer, and every summer it is shabbier. The population in the Buffalo area (not just the city) has fallen by 25,000 people since the year 2000. Hospitals are consolidating and many have closed. My father updates me on all the parishes that have been shut down by the Bishop of Buffalo because there are simply not enough people to justify their existence.

These problems were in place when Clinton was elected senator, but I don't see any evidence that she has done anything to rectify them. I feel like she calculatingly used people to further her own aims--not a unique behavior in politicians--but since we're talking about people that I know personally, I'm proud to vote for Barack Obama.

1 comment:

  1. I, as well, will never vote for Hillary Clinton for numerous reasons of which I will mention just a few, given the space allotted in this blog. It's not just that her husband gave national disgrace to our highest held office; or that seeing him back in the white house in any capacity would be disgusting given that he lied to a grand jury without suffering any repercussions. It's not simply that she is a woman in a world-wide male-run society. Other countries have lost enough respect for our land of freedom, but to have them laugh at our female president when they themselves hold women in such disrespectable regard, would be yet another slap in our faces. More than anything, our society has taken a deaf ear to our public shame and disrespect for our fellow human beings. I don't know at this very moment in time who I will vote for, but I know it won't be Hillary Clinton!