I’m not about to tell you who to vote for this November. Quite frankly, I don’t know who I will be voting for, but I am sure it won’t be John McCain. It’s not just because he is Republican.
Recent political events have shown that if we want equality, we need to elect fair-minded, inclusive and diverse people to all levels of government – Democratic, Republican and Independent.
I won’t be voting for John McCain because of what he represents – yesterday, the past, the status quo. This will probably be the last stand of his generation of hawks, who grudgingly tolerate diversity but still are ruled by patriarchal conventions deeply embedded in the politics of power. He represents a generation of men who still think America is the mighty “super power” and fail to recognize we live in a global economy which has minimized if not eliminated our super power status.
I look at McCain and see the face of America that thinks of all immigrants as having brown-faces. The America that believes we must build fences to the south to keep Latino/as out of America. The politics of power that would pit brown faces against black faces for jobs that are rapidly disappearing.
I look at McCain and see the face of an America divided by class. The growing divide between the haves and have nots, which includes not just people of color and the poor, but now many segments of the middle class. I see no answers for the increased home foreclosures, inadequate health care, public schools ill-equipped to prepare our children for not just today’s economy but tomorrow’s burgeoning global economy – depleting natural resources not to mention global warming.
I look at McCain and I see continuation of the status quo. Continuation of an ill-conceived war with an unclear exit policy, the rise in communicable diseases untreated because healthcare has just about become a luxury few can afford, failing public schools, poverty, unemployment and yes an economic recession. So I won’t be voting for John McCain. We not only need a change, we must have change if we are to survive as a people and a nation.
Call it divine intervention, karma, or the winds of change but remarkably at this time when we so desperately need change two candidates have come to the forefront that represent a huge shift in the paradigm of politics as we know it. Not one, but two firsts are viable candidates for the presidency. The first woman, Hillary Clinton and the first African American within reach of attaining the Democratic nomination, Barak Obama.
Even though the stars have apparently aligned for change, the winds are apparently all blowing in the right direction and our karma is ripe for it, I can’t help but wonder if we are really ready for change.
Like most internet-junkies I watch the blogs to see what folks are thinking. The conversations are incredible. Today I read a posting and ensuing conversation discussing whether or not Barak Obama is the prophesized “anti-Christ.” Personally I thought George W. Bush had claimed that honor, or the “fundies” would at least find someone gay to carry the demonic mantel – instead they chose Obama. We already knew that race would matter, but race and satan – now that’s mind boggling.
Political pundits have already hinted that when the polling booth curtains close race will matter citing the differing results for Senator Obama in caucuses where voters had to openly declare their allegiance from primary elections where the vote is secret. I first heard of this after the New Hampshire primary where Senator Clinton defeated Senator Obama.
Can this be true? Are we still so afraid of change that we will fall back on familiar biases instead of thoughtful analysis of the issues and candidates so real change can occur?
On the other side, as if I needed reaffirmation that sexism is alive and well, the attacks on Senator Clinton have been equally ridiculous. Why was she suddenly more palatable when she appeared to shed tears in New Hampshire and more importantly why was it such a big deal?
The politics of division raised its ugly head when a woman at a Republican rally referred to Clinton as a bitch, a comment that was widely publicized but never really addressed. A member of the McCain generation, this woman did not realize that women tearing down other women is not a “feminine trait,” but merely a manipulation by a patriarchal society to disempower women.
And in the twisted game of politics – as the intoxicating aroma of power that comes with a presidential nomination increases – rather than embracing the opportunity for change and leading the country in this historic moment, both Democratic candidates have taken a step backward succumbing to the calls for negative campaigning.
This is the time. Now is the moment. Change is in the air. Change is hard and can be very frightening but the alternatives to change for this country are catastrophic.
What I would love to see is both Democratic candidates get on stage and rather than debating each other and ripping each other apart, turn to the audience, turn to America, tell it like it is and ask all of us to join together to define this new chapter in American history.
And so Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton but most importantly my fellow Americans I offer you this poem in closing as we think about November’s presidential election:
Come with me.
I’m afraid too.
I can’t promise what will be over the next hill
Or around the next corner
But it will be tomorrow.
Come with me.
Today we may not have all we need
But if we join our hearts and minds,
We will find resources yet untapped
And never ending
For all our tomorrows.
Come with me.
Everyone may not like us as we are
Some will try to break our spirit,
Not only with words
But with fists.
But together, we will support each other,
Respirit each other
And gain strength from our diversity.
Come with me.
When they try to tear us down,
We will rebuild together
From the ground up.
So take my hand.
Come with me
As we march into tomorrow.
(From my book Wild Fruit Hidden in Open Spaces Musings in Prose & Poetry)
Artist, Activist, Author
Musings in Prose & Poetry
The Universe provides unlimited abundance.