Friday, March 28, 2008

Vote for Clinton and for Obama

None of my friends, family or associates knows who I voted for in the race for the democratic nomination, and I plan to keep it that way—at least until after the election. In an open world of constant surveillance, in which the government can’t trust you unless it can see inside your armpits and underwear, my silence in this seems anti-present, anti-social, anti-friendly, and anti-American. So be it. Most of the time my cell phone is shut off as well. I like what my silence says about me and others. The truth is it’s enough I’m supporting the democratic party at all, and am doing so only because the election and political coup by the republicans changed America’s political vocabulary so that words such as freedom, votes, torture, profits-making, ethics, news, enemy, citizens, friend, credit, terrorist, and rights took on new connotations, maybe even new denotations. The Constitution itself lost power and was redefined as an enabler of terrorism.

What I would like to talk about on this blog are the issues we so desperately need to talk about: election fraud, political coup, health care, women’s equality and safety, children’s opportunities, education, corporate power and profits, homeland security, the environment, the high cost of credit, the loss of dignity among young and old alike.

Before I set up the issues, I would like to give initial reasons why I would vote for and accept either democratic candidate as the nominee. Feel free to respond with your own reasoning and intuition. This is not a dissertation. I’ve kept it short. I think.

Why I Vote for Hillary

First, I don’t believe a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Bill Clinton. If I thought this were true, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary as the nominee. I didn’t vote for Bill Clinton when he ran for office, and, in retrospect, I find his presidency pretty ordinary. He ruled in the interests of the rich. Most presidencies have. It takes a lot of backbone to stand up to money entitlement. That is, all presidencies of the 20th and 21st centuries have been continuations and maintenance driven; and maintenance of the status quo in favor of the rich, I believe, is one reason a lot of people have fallen asleep before reaching the voting booths. Of these two centuries, only two presidents—Roosevelt and Johnson—have bent the system somewhat to extend our country’s obligations to a larger people. Limitely. Let's not get carried away. Both the New Deal with Public Works Program and the Great Society were good enough bends. Neither went far enough. Now there’s a chance for a woman to do a little bending. The Internet, in particular, has forced voters to shake themselves awake a little and take a second look and pay attention. A feminist is running for office.

Do I think Hillary will swing in a different direction from previous presidents? In broad fundamentals, I’m a skeptic. She’s pretty embedded in Washington. But I will vote for Hillary because she is a woman, and because we have to start someplace. This primary season has pushed her to find a voice within her that pressures her to pay better attention to voters or to face historical humiliation. That’s the way it is with minorities and women; they have to come through on promises more because they aren’t given as many chances to make mistakes. The public is more eager to turn on them for errors. I do believe she will address some of the needs of women and allow other women to stand on her shoulders. How strong those shoulders will be will depend on many factors, including on Clinton’s awareness level, on the goals of women themselves and on which doors get opened (forced or not) in communities. The good news, Hillary is no Thatcher, who I find as hollow a historical political figure as is George H. Bush. Hillary still breathes out the words that she will fight for people with little power—such as single mothers—even if the initial words are stated to enhance her image. But it won’t be anything she says. I think that just the presence of a feminist in the White House will make a difference in women’s lives. As a feminist, Hillary will take women to the next step in terms of opportunity and in terms of image. As a First Lady, she was beaten into silence. As a senator, she coaled forward the status quo to build up power and trust. That’s what she had to do. Do I agree with her political positions? Not many. She doesn’t go far enough in any direction for me. Do I agree with how she’s running her campaign? Not much. She’s got poor advisers and I see a lot of temper tantrums. But I do think once she’s in office, she will attempt to curtail the standard practice of herding Americans into befuddled conformity in the name of patriotism. I think she wants to fill a void in history as someone breaking with the mold. Do I think she’s redefining her level of experience to her advantage? Well, yes. She’s still trying to shape her accomplishments in terms of patriarchal values. She’ll get to her own kind of problem solving experience in time. Besides, no one person runs a government. It’s a start. If she is elected and doesn’t come through in reversing the extensive damage caused by the republicans, we’ll be in the streets making our demands or back in the voting booths in four years. It’s a process. We must start someplace.

Why I Vote for Barack Obama

First, I believe Barack Obama if elected faces the same dilemma Hillary Clinton faces: if he doesn’t come through on the changes he proposes on his platform, he will face public humiliation. His can’t be just another presidency designed solely for political maintenance of the status quo. Does he embrace the status quo? Too much for me. His plans don’t yet go far enough to make significant dents. He risks the humiliation of skating on the ice of the issues until his next term. In this sense, he needs atypical experience, and he seems to have it. And he’s a newcomer, which works to his advantage. He will have to stand up against entitlements. Not easy. Better not to have strong bonds. His proposed changes must start the day he arrives. What attracts me to Obama is probably what attracts a lot of people: his approach to making the needed changes in government include his demand people participate in their own change. This shows great judgment. Obama can right the priorities of this government with the right advisers as well as the continued support and involvement of ordinary citizens. In fact, it is the only way a president can do so. His campaign slogans suggest a debt of citizen participation collectable during his entire term. We will ask him to pay up. And I believe Obama wants a popular presidency more than he wants a historical presidency.

So, do I think Barack will be able to disentangle and free democratic principles from the web of deceit and manipulation set in motion by the insane and incredulous “so’s” of Cheney and the political sadism of George Bush? It is not as hard as it looks. Supported or pressured by the people, a definite yes. Unpressured, probably not. No one person can. Do I think he can put an end to the wars in the Middle East while promoting human rights and helping to create safety for women and children in these countries? If he unites other countries to join in this cause, a big yes. Feminists in and out of office can also help here. Do I think he will take racial and ethnic difference to the next level of acceptance? His biracial presence in the office will do so. Do I think he’s experienced enough? In the kind he needs, yes. No one person runs a government. I’m willing to give Obama the chance to try it. It’s a start. If it doesn’t work, we can head into the streets or back to the voting booths in four years and make another choice.

Let’s not forget McCain. One of these two will run against him. Let’s not unleash the extension of McCain’s kind of experience in the Oval Office. Let loose, his policies on war and on economics could easily lead the country into bankruptcy.

So am I fence sitter in the nomination process? We can only support one candidate in November. I will vote for the democrat. Don’t ask me to do more. I like both Obama and Clinton enough. And I do respect everyone’s right to fight for his or her candidate for nominee.


I undertook a little experiment to get a better understanding of the fight and the frenzy over one political candidate or the other and to get a better feel for blog writing. How? I decided to venture out into the Blogosphere anonymously and participate. I’m pretty private, so the anonymity helped me jump into the fire of discourse. The anonymity was the key. You get to see your spontaneous reactions and even flawed reasoning without too much shame because your name isn’t attached. I can’t say enough how valuable this experience of blogging anonymously was in trying to understand not only blogging and the ideas of the campaigns, but seeing the direction my own voice took in joining public discourse.

The experiment gave me the opportunity to think through how to approach this blog. It took a little getting used to the anonymous vitriolic yelling on these public blogs, but in the end I appreciated and embraced it rather than discounted it or cried foul—even though I think I succumbed a little to the crying foul. We are our discourse. In any case, I will talk further about that invaluable experiment after the general election.

Welcome to my blog—where we journey through culture revisited.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Political campaign for president
I published the following on the presidential elections at the Feministe site:

LD JANAKOS says: January 30th, 2008 at 3:42 am -
I’d like to see Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama run on the same ticket. Now that’s a ticket that has the potential to break down a lot of walls and ceilings. Kick through a few doors.
I don’t stand by any of the mainstream candidates enough, but I believe you have to start someplace. Who can beat that ticket? It’s the kind of surprise that comes with a pause, the right kind, the opposite kind of pause you stand together in just before the storm breaks or you’re waiting for the bombs to drop. I trust my feeling that this duet in office will turn the corner.
( With these two candidates on the same ticket, we will all get universal health care within a short time. With these two candidates, we will put borders around the power of some of the major corporations. With these two candidates, we will increase the chances of women and minorities here and in different parts of the world to gain a better lifestyle or access to freedom. This list of our demands is long and we must start someplace. )
Here’s the real two for one: Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
What a fine ticket for the Democratic party, a place for it to turn a corner, to get out of this treacherously predictable time in history when assassins run the world; and yes, with all due respect, the chance for the new face of the Democratic Party to poddy train itself in harnessing its political shit and piss, so it can be recycled as rich fertilizer on the fields of We the People.
This ticket may double the chances that the Democratic Party can provide us the momentum to get away fast from the Republican’s pursuing car of accumulation about to run over us on its way to its next conquest: our homes, paychecks or savings accounts. Not to mention those of persons living or dying in other countries. Who can fight against the current monstrous momentum sucking us dry of our money and our imaginations? We should hire these two to cultivate the voices of the people long repressed in this country, We the People, who are capable of taking back our country.
In fact, we ought to demand they run together, whichever way it goes at the end. That’s my ticket. Which one heads the ticket is up to the election process. I have my favorite but I can go either way.