Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A decided voter

The candidate I will be voting for in this presidential election 
will come as no surprise to any reader of this blog. 
I’ve made no secret of the fact that my political leanings 
are to the left of Bernie Sanders.

Simply put, 
there are NO circumstances under which I’d vote for the Republican candidate.

Several months ago, my first born and I were having a heated argument about politics. 
It was nothing momentous or personal; it’s simply what we do.  
He’s one of the “on the cusp of everything, 
at the tail end of Gen X but not really Gen Y,
 undecided voters”; 
truth be told,
he’s a political atheist
who’s happy to live off both the political and economic grid. 

He asked me to stop saying all I despised about one candidate 
and make a case FOR the other one,
despite the deep reservations I have.

My response to his challenge that night stuck with me – 
and I thought about it again 
as even more ‘revelations’ and 'leaked' emails became public earlier this week.

Hillary and I are the same generation of American women.
She was born 2 years ahead of me, 
in a different part of the country
and raised with more money and privilege than I was,
but we were impacted and shaped by the same cultural influences and historical events.
The Civil Rights movement, the War on Poverty, the assassinations of political figures and elected officials, ‘Camelot’, Watergate, the ERA, the struggle for women’s equality, the Vietnam War, massive student protests, Kent State, the threat of nuclear annihilation, the Cuban Missile crisis, the Cold War, “bomb practices’ at school, tucked under desks with coats over our heads, Rock ‘n Roll, the heyday of Hollywood movies and Broadway musicals, the Beatles, American Bandstand,
Dan Quayle and Murphy Brown …

 I understand her references;
I speak the same language.

Her passion and ‘calling’ in her professional life has mirrored mine – 
albeit hers has been on a grander scale.

Right out of law school,
she began working as a staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund
and helped prepare a landmark report “Out of School in America” – 
which became a catalyst
for the enactment of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 
now the Disabilities Education Act.

Healthcare, improving governmental responsiveness
and access to services for the disenfranchised, 
working to make this country,
and the world,
a safer place for women and children 
has been her career path for decades;
in all the roles she’s undertaken – 
Governor’s wife, First Lady, Secretary of State, Senator and now candidate.

And she’s received push back every step of the way … 
because she’s a woman, a ‘libber’, 
because she doesn’t know her place 
(and doesn’t accept that it’s in the kitchen baking cookies), 
because the male dominated hierarchy can’t easily pigeon hole and control her…

She’s been investigated more times than any other public figure in history – 
and all those witch hunts have yielded nothing.

Nothing that was criminal – 
except in the florid minds of people who see conspiracies everywhere 
and who have raised rejecting evidence (and scientific fact)
to a whole new level of crazy.

Has she made mistakes? Of course. 
Has she learned how to work the system? I sure hope so. 
Are the systems in which she’s functioned broken? You bet.

But how is that any different from any of us
with long term careers?

I’ve worked for almost 40 years in the same healthcare system, 
interacting on practically a daily basis
with law enforcement and the juvenile court system.
All of them huge monolithic systems that seek
to serve, apply resources, healthcare and justice equally 
but systems that fail as often as they succeed.

And, like Hillary,
I keep getting up every morning, going to work
and, despite all the obstacles and barriers the systems 
(and individuals inside the systems) 
try to put up, 
I keep working whatever advantages I’ve got at the time 
(longevity, humor, coercion, knowledge of how the game is played,
threats, ignoring rules and pleading ignorance if caught) 
all to make ‘the system’ work better 
for the child I’ve got in front of me
on any particular day.

I keep advancing the ball down the field one small step at a time 
because that’s what women of our generation do.
You don’t whine and cry “It’s not fair”; 
you don’t pack up your marbles 
thinking there’s a more level playing field in some other system 
(there isn’t).
You keep your head down, 
let others have the glory if there’s success, 
take responsibility for failures, 
apologize for mistakes if there’s disaster – 
and you keep on keeping on.

And the outcry
because she might actually have one set of opinions in public
and another in private?
Hello, … it’s called having a damn filter!
As hard as it is for some people to believe, 
you don’t say everything you think or feel in public. 
You weigh your words. 
You see who your audience is and you frame what you share accordingly. 
It’s part of being a grown up.

It’s amazing to me that figuring out how to work the system
 is called “The Art of the Deal” 
if you’re a man
and corruption
if you’re a woman.

Then there’s her marriage – 
and her having to experience the most intimate form of betrayal
in the most public way imaginable – 
over and over again.

She didn’t go all psycho country-western bitch on the 'other women',
key their cars, break out their windows or burn down their trailers. 
So she trash talked them
and didn’t invite them over for the White House BBQ, 
so what?

I’ve been there – 
and you don’t have to have your husband’s affair
 broadcast on every news channel in the country 
to feel that the whole world knows
you were played for a fool.

And, as if you weren’t feeling bad enough already, 
society will then proceed to lay marital failure on your doorstep.
HIS conduct won’t be nearly as much of an issue for the gossipers 
as YOUR failure to ‘keep him satisfied at home’.

Would I have stayed with a serial cheater? 
I don’t know.

I’m willing to take her word that she genuinely loves him, 
accepts his weaknesses 
and was totally serious when she said,
before God and family,
that they made a covenant 
for better or worse 
until death do them part.

While I might have hastened the death part of that vow 
after the second time he pulled his sh*t, 
she opted for a different path.
She kept her head up, created her own life 
and, if he wants, he can follow along in her wake;
it’s his choice.
(For folks getting their panties in a twist about the Clinton's marriage, 
how in the hell is a misogynistic, serial cheater, marital rapist 
better than someone who honors her vows?)

I understand there's a 'taint' about Hillary -
some lingering scent of "where's there's smoke, there's fire".

There's been so much mud thrown
from so many scandals
that some of it is bound to have 'stuck'.

I appreciate the reservations -
but I've have decided to discount them.

I think for someone our age
to have acquired enough
personal life experience,
work credentials
and the political backing of a major political party
to be considered a viable candidate,
there's no way to have gotten through life or the process unscathed.

I know that for every client who thinks I'm terrific and is glad our lives intersected,
there's probably an equal number who think I'm a hateful bitch.
You can't do your job for decades and please everyone.

As Donald Trump apparently hasn't found out yet,
"telling it like it is" is really only telling YOUR perspective of the truth,
not THE universal truth;
NO ONE has cornered the market on universal truth!

The racial barrier in the presidential line was broken 8 years ago -
with serious unanticipated consequences.

There's every reason to believe that breaking the gender barrier
will bring more of the same.

There's a dark underbelly of our populace that has been exposed;
the contortions and vitriol that's characterized this election
and consumed so much of our national oxygen
are hopefully nothing more
than the death rattles of a scared, dying minority.

The future won't be pretty.
The ugliness and divisiveness won't go away.

Be that as it may, for better or for worse,

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for articulating so beautifully what I believe. I am a 68 year old woman and physician and you summarized our lives so elegantly