Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thank You, Hillary Clinton, for Breaking Cracks in that Glass Ceiling

We've begun getting phone calls from McCain for President, which has been puzzling because typically we only get campaign calls from Democrats. Then we noted an article in the newspaper about McCain's campaign strategy to recruit Clinton supporters. Now we know why they're calling us (thank goodness for caller ID!). Then yesterday afternoon we got our first phone solicitation from the Obama campaign. We agreed to make a donation--it was a turning point in our household, to fully support Obama for president. Chris is thrilled, as Obama is the COOL candidate at school.

I'm listening to Hillary Clinton's landmark speech while I'm writing this. I have to say that it's the most inspirational, moving speech I've heard from a national politician. It's the first time that anyone has addressed head on the disadvantages women and African-Americans face in politics. She acknowledged the suffragists and the civil rights workers, and paid respect to all those who have gone before us to work for equal rights for all.

Here's an interesting analysis, questioning whether Hillary might have been more successful had she embraced her feminity earlier. Somehow, I doubt that. I think she had to present herself as tough, aggressive, and strong; wear pantsuits; and fight hard. She paid a price to break those cracks in the ceiling, as Gail Collins says in her tribute to Hillary's campaign in the New York Times.

Thank you, Hillary, for paving the way for another woman to become president. I am sad for those elderly women who wanted to see a female president in their lifetime, and might not live to see the day...for the women who were alive before women could even vote and who proudly cast their vote for Hillary in the primary. I am grateful to both Clinton and Obama for offering hope to our girls and children of color that perhaps one day they might be president. I hope that in the coming months, Obama will find a way to engage Hillary's female (and male) supporters and convince us that he will fight for women and children as well as Hillary does.

Kieran's the Hillary supporter amongst our kids, and he announced that since Hillary lost, he is in favor of McCain. That prompted lots of protests from Chris, until we reminded him that at age 4, he supported George Bush! Of course, he doesn't believe us...I retrieved this article Mike wrote around then, which proves it! (And by the way, we were successful in convincing Kieran to support Obama...thank God!)

(or the Travails of a Progressive Parent)

My wife, Marie, and I are thoroughly modern parents. We advocate “positive discipline,” which means we honor choices, and talk about consequences. We don’t spank. We uphold the virtues of “unconditional love.” We’ve been known to say of our four-year-old, Christopher: “He can be anything he wants to be. Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy. Lawyer. Gay. Just as long as he’s happy.” But …a Republican?! Good grief.

My wife and I are not yellow dog Democrats. We’re dead-dog Democrats. We’d even have voted for Kevin Mannix in his Democrat days. In our house, the word “Gore” is uttered with reverence. The only “Bush” we can bear talking about is the one in our yard that needs pruning. Savagely.

So it was with nary a thought of disaster that Marie, idly pointing to a post-debate photograph of the presidential candidates, mused “Who do you think is going to win, Chris?”

Without hesitation, like a viper in the nest, our son pointed to Bush. “I want him to win,” he uttered, staunchly.

The resultant howl was so chilling that I raced upstairs to see who needed immediate evacuation to the emergency room. When the cause of the outrage was explained, I too felt an apoplexy coming on. It was time for desperate measures.

“Honey, if Bush becomes President he’ll take all the money away from the children’s schools.”

A shake of the head.

Marie added: “He’ll cut down every tree.”

“I want Bush to win.”

“Just think of it,” I continued. “Republicans hate PBS. No more Sesame Street. No Dragon Tales. And you can kiss Barney’s big purple buns good-bye.”

The look in his eyes was that of a GOP spinmeister leaping to deal with reports of George W. forgetting to mention an arrest for drunk driving.

“I get it,” I said, clutching at every conceivable straw. “You’re being a comedian! That proves you’re a Democrat. Republicans don’t have a sense of humor.”

His reply: the same old Bush-loving mantra.

We tried reverse psychology, bellowing “Bush is best.” Christopher looked pleased. Marie collapsed in a chair: palpitations, nausea.

I launched my final attack, betting everything on Christopher’s recent veneration of a bunch of talented munchkins who sing Broadway hits. “George W. Bush hates The Broadway Kids.”

Chris looked at me with compassion. “No, Daddy. He listens to The Broadway Kids all day long.”

The kid will be a renowned lawyer.

We have become subversives. We spell the candidates last names or refer to George W. as “shrub,” “undergrowth,” or “thicket.” Our fervent prayer is that we won’t have to speak in code for the next four years. As I lie awake at night, I try to look on the bright side. Perhaps it’s fitting that George W. appeals to those with the acumen of four-year-olds.

At least Christopher isn’t baying for Buchanan.

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts, Marie. You stated clearly what most of the CNN pundits took MUCH longer to say after the speech. Interesting that I didn't hear a single criticism of her at that time! Thank goodness your 5 year old is smarter than the democrats that now want to vote for McCain. Mike really needs to get published! That article is so funny and well written. Mom