Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: My flawed candidate, myself

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

My flawed candidate, myself

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Ok, I tried, but I couldn’t do it: I said I was staying away from campaign news but that was when we had a lineup of candidates yelling at each other about their body parts, aka the good old days. I felt smug back then, watching my side talking substance and showing respect for each other, for the office, and for us. 

Now reality intrudes. 

At first I was glad to see Bernie in the race. I thought he’d give Hillary cover to move a little farther left and enlarge the discussion. I thought he’d add the energy of his supporters to the effort to retain the Presidency and take back the Senate and House. I thought his modest decade-long record in the Senate would position him to speak to briefly before acknowledging his opposing candidate’s superior depth of experience and capability for the office, and graciously throwing his support to her.  I was wrong.

Instead he is, more each day, reminding me of Ralph Nader, who must be the hero of every Bush-Cheney supporter in 2000, a man who didn’t let political reality get in the way of his over-confidence that he alone held the key to Truth, Justice, and The American Way.

But back to now, now when the stakes are…pretty high. “Hamilton” groupie that I am, I am thinking of how George Washington, deciding not to seek a third term, sings, “We’ll teach them how to say goodbye.” Bernie, listen. But Bernie isn’t listening. Bernie is, instead, using the energy he’s created among voters as a weapon—and not against Trump. 

I remember Hillary in 2008, disappointed in her campaign and yet, in defeat, generous to her party and its nominee. Bernie, listen.

Bernie, your followers are saying  it’s you or no one. Really, Bernie? Is that what you want? You and your followers are saying Hillary is a flawed candidate. Ok, yes. And Donald Trump isn’t? And you, Bernie, who have been treated gently by Hillary and ignored by Trump, you who have yet to see your flaws splashed above the fold?  Yes, you, too, Bernie, are flawed. As am I, as are we all.

And here’s what your supporters aren’t seeing, Bernie: the Republicans have been kicking Hillary to the curb since the 1990s, with both every legitimate misstep and every invented wrong they could muster.  Twenty-five years of Republican vitriol—during which she continued a life in public service, as a respected and hard-working senator; as a tireless, effective secretary of state—and now you are feeding your supporters the whole putrid stew and letting them lap it up.

Has Hillary been perfect? Certainly not. But picture this—it’s 2018, maybe 4 o’clock on a  gray February afternoon, and the President is in the Oval Office meeting with Congressional leaders on something of importance, something like Obamacare or equal pay for women.  Or a Supreme Court nominee.The excitement of getting elected is long past and it’s time for hard, unglamorous, tedious work. It’s time for sitting in a room with people who may not be respectful and whose priorities are in opposition. What do you picture happening? Is the President telling the others, “You have to do it my way because I’m a terrific president and if not I’ll build a wall somewhere”? Is the President wagging a finger and scolding, “This system is corrupt”? Or is the President sitting there doing the hard work of finding consensus, building bridges, and, yes, probably compromising, and getting it done? Hillary is the only one I can picture being the grownup in the room, respecting the office enough to do whatever it takes to keep the country moving toward the future we need. She may be a flawed candidate, but this flawed voter thinks she is just what we need.

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