Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why I Turned PUMA

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By LisaB

I’ve given a lot of thought to why I turned PUMA. On paper, I should be a loyal Democrat excited about this year’s “break-through” candidate.

But I’m not. I will not vote for Obama under any circumstances I can think of (well, OK, if Cheney became the Republican nominee, I’d go for Obama).

Given my history of voting for AA and Democratic candidates, this really doesn’t make sense, does it?

Hillary was never the perfect candidate. Luckily, I didn’t expect her to be. I expected she would sometimes disappoint me and take a position I disagreed with. Such is life, quite frankly. I was initially intrigued by Obama - a fresh face and a promise of change. But as the season wore on, I settled on Hillary. Why?

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Hillary has a history of giving a damn. That’s rare enough in today’s Washington. More rare is someone who gives a damn and has been giving a damn for years. Any read of Hillary’s resume shows deep experience and any talk with her will show you this lady knows her stuff.


As a woman, Hillary has long experience watching men in power. She knows the fault lines of that power and how it often misses the concerns of more than half the population - women and children. She “got it.” Even if I disagreed with her on an issue, I knew it wouldn’t be because Hillary didn’t understand what it is like to be a working woman, mother or someone condescended to on a regular basis.

That meant a lot. Policy might or might not change much under Hillary, but I had a sense that it would certainly be more nuanced to include everyone. What could be more revolutionary today? Really? It’s often the subtle change that has the biggest impact.

But the DNC selected inexperience with an attitude. Even worse, a candidate whose very reason to run was as a “break-through” candidate shows absolutely no “break-through” policies or attitudes. We got race-baiting and a stunning disregard for people of good will who might disagree. We got misogyny freely and subtly applied and applied with a trowel. We got the newbie / juvenile “face scratch” and campaign music with “message lyrics.”

We also got an example of a race-fueled scorched-earth policy and execution of the same. How else do you explain the utter destruction of the Clinton history of working for the AA community? Disagreement from time to time? Sure. But the label of racist? Uncalled for. That’s truly wanton destruction, without regard for truth, history or people. Completely amoral and without any justification.

The willingness to “nuke” the Clintons in this manner means no one is safe. No matter your intentions, history or work, the “safety” is off and you, too, can be forever labeled a racist or just dropped forever like former “friends” and “mentors.”

Nothing and no one matters - not even if you vote for this man or support him, not even if you are the grandmother who raised him.

My vote for Hillary was a vote for experience, a woman’s perspective, a “stick-to-it” philosophy of working the problem and sheer intelligence. Competence, a willingness to work hard and an attitude of “never give up” completed the package for me. After 8 years of Bush, what could possibly be more different?

But none of that matters now. All of my reasons to vote for someone got shoved under the label of racism at one time or another during this campaign. Experience was turned into “working for the man,” a woman’s perspective got turned into “she periodically lashes out,” “stick-to-it philosophy” got turned into “take her into a back room until only one comes out.” Competence got turned into “likable enough” and “bitch” in campaign music, a willingness to work hard and a “never give up” attitude got turned into ungraciousness and unwillingness to, for-god’s-sake step-the-hell-aside.

That’s not just an attack against a rival, that’s an attack against the very things I’m looking for in a candidate. The Democratic party isn’t even offering me “half a loaf.” Their scorched earth policy has crisped me up, and the completely naked power grab by the party and its number one man has been breathtaking to watch. McCain is by no means perfect, but he didn’t shoved me under the bus. I’m there, courtesy of the “democratic” party.

And half a loaf is still better than nothing.

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