So the day every political junkie has been waiting for is just around the corner—Super Tuesday is this coming Tuesday, February 5th.
For those of us who have doggedly tracked this protracted presidential race, Super Tuesday is the mother lode of primaries. Democrats in 22 states and Republicans in 21 will choose their candidates.
This year-long roller coaster ride of democracy has treated us to a panoply of candidates that span the political spectrum. But as Super Tuesday approaches our choices have been slashed and for some hopes dashed.
New York’s Republicans are denied their favorite son because Rudy Guiliani denied good political advice. His Florida-only strategy backfired. Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee may or may not stick around after Tuesday but for all intents and purposes the Republican race is now between John McCain and Mitt Romney.
When the race started, my favorite Dem was John Edwards—I really don’t care how much he spends on a haircut. I liked what he had to say. I liked his dedication to his wife and family. I liked that as a southern Democrat he gave the Republicans agita. But as the race heated up, his candidacy didn’t.
So the burning question now is who am I going to vote for on Tuesday?
Well, I have never been more conflicted in my life. My internal flip flopping between Clinton and Obama makes Mitt Romney look like steady Eddie.
As far as lesbian and gay issues are concerned, I know we can count on either Clinton or Obama to do the right thing. With either of them in the White House, the eight years of homophobia that has become a trademark of the Bush presidency will end. Assuming that the Democrats maintain and expand their majorities in both the House and Senate, we’ll see either President Clinton or President Obama signing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Matthew Shepard Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Those events will be the beginning of what could be a golden age for LGBT issues in America.
But, what about Super Tuesday?
I like Hillary Clinton. She’s done a good job as one of our U.S. Senators. She’s intelligent, understands the intricacies of U.S. policy both abroad and at home and has a personal fortitude that has withstood political and personal firestorm after firestorm. She welcomes challenges. She’s not afraid of anything.
Letting down her guard just a bit in New Hampshire showed the country that there’s an emotional core to this woman. Opening up that window let us all know that she’s just like the rest of us—human.
It may surprise some of you that behind this hard, political exterior of mine there’s a political idealist defining my views.
After eight years of cynicism and lies, I really want to believe in our country again. You have no idea how deep this desire is. I’m one of those kids Caroline Kennedy spoke about in her recent op-ed in the New York Times. I really never knew her dad. My first real memory of the Kennedy presidency is the grainy black and white image on our family TV of the plane in Dallas that flew his body back to DC. I was five. My mother stood at the ironing board crying.
But it is the hope he instilled in my parents who handed it down to me that has informed my politics and my activism. JFK embodied an America of promise. He reached out his hand to us so that we could take the hands of others and make our nation a better place to live.
I want that back. I want to believe in America again.
The only candidate that has spoken to the idealist in me is Barack Obama.
His belief in change, his ability to bring people into the presidential process who usually stay home, his understanding of the real challenges that face our country inspires. But the pragmatic part of me is concerned about his experience factor. Are his years as an Illinois State Senator and a U.S. Senator enough?
Well let’s not forget that political office was W’s fall back position because he couldn’t make it in business. Obama on the other hand has spent his entire career organizing people for political change. Perhaps the experience issue is just a political ruse.
In just a few days I’ll have to make a decision. But, it won’t happen until the voting booth’s curtain is closed and I’m ready to pull the lever.