It's been a hard year for this political junkie. I have been torn up over the primary trying to decide for whom to vote.
You see, I know Barack from my days in Springfield lobbying for poor people and the problem is that when you know someone up-close, you know their warts, faults, flubs and snubs.
Throughout my struggle to find my candidate, I kept saying to myself, if I knew Hillary (or Richardson or Biden an eon ago when they were still relevant), I'm sure I would have seen their warts as well.
So, I decided, screw the warts (which I shall not enumerate here). Everyone has warts.
Here are my turning points / bottom lines -- my reasons for voting for Barack today that coalesced just yesterday.
1. McCain and Independents. Independents will be critical voters in the general. McCain will get too many of their votes over Hillary and that is not a good thing.
2. Our relationship with the world. A number of months ago, someone, maybe it was David Brooks, said that the day Barack is elected, his name and face alone will alter and improve US relations in the world that Bush has done so much to tear asunder. I think Hillary would be an improvement, but not nearly as powerful and evocative a change of America's imagery of swagger and imperial power. Plus, I think Barack's desire (even if not actual capacity -- yet) to be a healer and "uniter" is desperately needed.
3. Rush and the other Screedmeisters. For me, the worst part of the Clinton years was the nightmare of rage the Clintons (innocently, in my view) provoked. I can't bear another four years of their screeching. While I know they will be hard on Barack, they will not be reduced to psycho attacks that I can only compare to the wild boys turned-cannibals in Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer. As Liz Taylor's Catherine Holly said, “They had devoured parts of him....or cut parts of him away with their hands or knives or maybe those jagged tin cans they made music with, they had torn bits of him away and stuffed them into those gobbling fierce little empty black mouths of theirs.” Rush's ditto-heads want no less as they seek to butcher Hillary.
Nothing unified the right in its quest for power during the Clinton years more than hating Bill and Hillary. Hate creates passion. Hate energizes. Hate creates focus. Hatred solidified and grew the right wing movement that had been delicately juggling Libertarians and Christian fundamentalists. Hatred brought them all together. As Stanley Fish and Jason Horowitz have pointed out, the Hillary haters are still living in their world of inexplicable psycho hatred.
I just don't want us to have to suffer that again -- even though it's not the Clintons' fault.
4. The Kumbaya Factor. It thrills me to think that finally a black man can elected President. It's about damn time. If it happens, I will be proud of my country and may once and for all stop seeing napalmed babies when the flag waves. (Update: I have since learne this is wrong, wrong, wrong to feel, as the kerfuffle over Michelle's comments have proven. So I should amend by saying, I would be over MORE proud of my country. . . Is that what you want?)