14 February 2007

Barack do you like me; circle yes or maybe

It's a snow day, so naturally it's time to take a quiz on what candidate I should vote for. I'm actually a little surprised that Obama is my 100% (but pleased, I feel about him the way I felt about Jesse Kiley in 9th grade biology -- he's so intelligent and charming, and everyone likes him so much, I'm completely shocked that he likes me back -- insofar as "scoring 100% compatibility with me on some internet quiz" is equal to "likes me back" -- because it's Valentine's Day, we'll say they're equivalent).

Anyway. I'm also surprised that Clinton's so far down on the list; I shall have to investigate this further. I am having a hard time saying anything about Clinton right now without sounding like the people I heard at a recording of a Clinton Q&A yesterday, and though I think they were probably all very nice people, I kind of wanted to punch them in the face.

But seriously, Richardson beats both Vilsack and Edwards? Hometown hero love, I guess. The Albuquerque Journal is ripping him a new one, lately. They keep printing these front page articles about him being some sort of monster. GOVZILLA! they crow, and I'm a little taken aback by the vitriol I'm seeing here. I would assume that we'd be super psyched for him, or at least, you know, mildly supportive. Like if your cousin was running for office, you'd be somewhat excited and happy for him, even if you thought he was a douchebag. But that's just me.

And I love Edwards. He knows poor people. That's a huge deal to me. I honestly believe that most presidentially-driven politicians have never actually known any poor people. And no, talking to "Sally Johnson, a single mother of 3 in East St. Louis," for two minutes does NOT count as knowing poor people.

(100%) 1: Sen. Barack Obama (D)
(91%) 2: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D)
(86%) 3: Retired Gen. Wesley Clark (D)
(85%) 4: Sen. John Kerry (D)
(80%) 5: Ex-VP Al Gore (D)
(80%) 6: Gov. Bill Richardson (D)
(76%) 8: Ex-Sen. John Edwards (D)
(74%) 9: Gov. Tom Vilsack (D)
(73%) 10: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D)
(65%) 11: Sen. Joseph Biden (D)
(46%) 12: Gov. Mitt Romney (R)
(43%) 13: Rep. Ron Paul (R)
(42%) 14: Ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R)
(38%) 15: Gov. George Pataki (R)
(34%) 16: Sec. Condoleezza Rice (R)
(30%) 17: Gov. Mike Huckabee (R)
(24%) 18: Ex-Rep. Newt Gingrich (R)
(19%) 19: Sen. John McCain (R)


Lately, I've been hearing much talk comparing votes for Obama and/or Clinton to votes for Nader -- wasted, thrown away votes -- when we could or should be voting for someone who could actually win. To me, that's a pretty bleak assertion -- after all, the media's going to tell us the things that make better stories (or stories at all), and not necessarily the truest things, so "Could America Elect a Black Man????" is going to be a popular story, especially if the reporters interview lots of experts who say, resoundingly, no. The media is going to say no, no black man, no white woman.... until the day after we elect a black man or white woman, when the media will cry "AMERICA'S READY FOR A BLACK MAN!" Reporters, of course, don't like to look wrong. Like Senators. And they'll look back in retrospect and pretend they saw it coming all along, or they'll say that if they knew then what they know now.....

...but until then, it will be up to us to believe, and work for change.

And really, in this case, isn't strategic voting a form of racism? What would have happened if all the Freedom Riders had told themselves that "America isn't ready" to accept African Americans as equal citizens, and decided to fight instead for a cause they were more likely to win? Come on, kids, we've been waiting our whole lives for causes as worthy as those our parents had, and now we're in the SAME place our parents were in the late 60s and early 70s. Vietnam, Kent State, changing norms and expectations of gender and relationship roles, barriers in race and class and sex breaking down.... and here we are again, if we embrace it.

...I think of my mother in college, or Ali's mom, sitting in Grinnell's South Lounge with her friends and boyfriends, watching their draft numbers come up on TV, smoking and laughing and drinking and loving and fighting and fucking and working for change, working to make the world a better place for their children -- US -- and their children's children -- and now it's our turn to pick up where they left off.

And if we can't -- if we don't -- then we deserve every label the old folks can throw at us, we deserve every accusation of apathy and lack of focus, because we're too busy thinking in text-message-sized blips to see the big picture.

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