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Cousins Day, December 2007

FLIP FLOPPER

28 January 2008

I've been flip flopping all over the place with respect to the candidate I would like to support in the 2008 election.

The idea of a woman president is very exciting, but can Hillary really win, given what seems to be a bipartisan hatred of the Clintons?

The idea of an African-American president is very exciting, but is there so much overt and, more importantly, hidden bigotry in the country that could Obama really win?

I like Edwards, but he's still trailing significantly behind the other two, but I felt that when Super Tuesday comes around, I'd cast my vote for Edwards in the hope that maybe my tiny little vote would help.  But I wasn't convinced.

But, I'll tell ya.  This was the deciding week for me as far as my vote on Super Tuesday, in the very first presidential primary where California voters can actually have a voice and actually possibly make a difference.

I have not, in the past, been particularly politically knowledgeable.  I often went to the polls with a vague idea of what I was voting for, and more importantly knowing why I was casting my vote a certain way.  Sometimes it was the eeeny-meeny-miney-moe method of voting.  I didn't feel like a very responsible citizen.

Too often, in recent elections, I ended up voting for the candidate(s) that I hated the least.  I'm sure a lot of us did.

But as the war in Iraq has raged on, as the outrages against the constitution, the eroding of so many things that have made this country great, the loss of our standing in the world, the rising national debt and, more than anything else, the continuing ineptitude on the part of the president, and questionable ethics of the vice president, and who knows what all from the rest of the administration, I started Paying Attention.

I began watching MSNBC more often, listening to Keith Olbermann's statements, watching Meet the Press and Face the Nation; I began reading the Huffington Post and other internet news sites and actually, you know, starting to form my own opinions based on what I was hearing and reading. 

I found I could actually have a conversation about politics with friends and know what I was talking about, and be able to back up my opinions with facts, rather than just sitting back lost, while others talked current events.

But still a strong feeling about a candidate has eluded me.  One day I'm for Hillary, the next for Obama, the next for Edwards.  Each day I have a logical, rational decision for my candidate du jour.

For the most part, the race has been better than previous years.  Things didn't start getting ugly until this past week when Bill Clinton, a president I have long admired, took off the gloves and began hitting hard, began playing the game of innuendo and actual attack.

For the first time since the race began, I began to get a nagging anti-Hillary feeling.  Maybe for all the wrong reasons, but I just didn't like what I was feeling about the Hillary machine.

Then came South Carolina.  And Obama's incredible victory.  I got a little lost in all the pundits' various polls and which groups supported which candidate and which crossed over to vote for which candidate.  I swear Tim Russert and Chris Matthews get absolutely apoplectic with glee when they wallow about in these numbers.

When it became apparent that Hillary had lost handily to Obama, Bill gave the speech, since she was flying in and hadn't yet landed.  As I listened to him, I found myself asking myself, "isn't this her race?"  He spoke for about 10 minutes before he even mentioned Hillary, and he centered on what had happened when he ran for president and what he has been doing in his post-president years.  For the first time, I found myself turned off.

I wondered what would happen if Hillary were elected...what would Bill do?

Then Obama came to give his victory speech and I felt something I hadn't felt in so long that I almost didn't recognize what I was feeling.

Then I identified it:  I felt hope.  I felt hope that something actually could change.  I felt hope that the citizens of this country could be inspired to work together to restore the country that I once knew.  I was inspired myself. 

I became an Obama supporter.

I can comfortably support any of the three leading Democratic candidates when the convention is finally held and a decision is finally made.  But until that time I am an Obama supporter and this time I don't intend to flip or flop again.


happy birthday, Paul

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