Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Could You Vote for Hillary?

Eight years ago (give or take a few months) people started asking me if I could vote for Al Gore. It usually wasn't really a question - it was more of an accusation. They'd tell me that Gore was arrogant and over-educated (I always wondered what was wrong with being over-educated). They'd tell me Gore was stupid, that he thought he'd invented the Internet (which, obviously, he hadn't), and that Al made fun of Oliver North at a 1987 Senate hearing where North told Congress that one day Osama Bin Laden was going to be a problem (You remember that email? The truth is that Gore wasn't on the committee and never questioned North). Then they'd tell me something like that Bush had better judgment and would make a good president - and they'd finish with something about how a Bush presidency would be good for public education in America....

Four years ago those same people started asking me if I could vote for John Kerry. And, again, it usually sounded more like an accusation than a question. They'd tell me that Kerry was a hypocrite because he only threw cheap ribbons that can be replaced anyway instead of real medals at whatever that protest event was. They'd tell me Kerry didn't really earn those three purple hearts, anyway, and that they knew he didn't because Swift Boat Veterans for Truth said he didn't (and we all knew they were a disinterested party speaking on behalf of God and justice). And they'd tell that Kerry was really just a pansy who owed most of what he'd accomplished in life to money he got from his wife with the funny accent. Then they'd tell me that it was unpatriotic to vote against Bush in the middle of a war (even if he started it)....

Now those same people have started asking me if I could vote for Hillary. And it sounds like an accusation again.

I voted for Kerry. I think I voted for Gore, but that was a long time ago and I'm not absolutely positive.

When the Democratic Primary comes around in my state, I'll probably vote for John Edwards. For reasons I can't really quantify, reasons that have as much to do with personality as with politics, I don't really like Hillary all that much. But on November 4th, 2008, if the choice comes down to Hillary Clinton or Fred Thompson, or maybe Hillary vs. Newt Gingrich, I will not stay home and curl up in bed and pull the covers over my head.

The Republicans have spent eight years trying to privatize public education and take America backwards in time to before it was a Great Society. They started an expensive war to satisfy personal agendas. And when it's all said and done I'll go out on November 4th next year and vote for whomever I think is most likely to clean up the mess that George W. Bush and the GOP have made of America. And I'll do it at least in part because it's my patriotic duty.

The answer, then, is "yes." I'll almost certainly vote for someone else when Virginia holds its Democratic Presidential Primary on February 12th. But if it comes to that, I could vote for Hillary on November 4th next year. Quickly, and without much reservation...

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