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shrinkykitten

"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.

6.13.2007

My evening with the Breck Girl

So I must have been on crack or something, but I thought that when the event was advertised as having drinks with the Presidential Candidate, I'd actually get to meet him. I got super excited watching Obama walking around Iowa and shaking hands, and I thought I'd get to do the same (but with the Breck girl). But no, it was a ton of people packed into a tiny bar, all craning to catch a glimpse of the man who some of us hope might be our next president. Why they didn't even put him on some sort of booster chair or something so that we might actually see him, I don't know.

I got to see him some - but only when the crowd shifted. I wasn't close enough to really judge if he looked different than he does on tv - he was so far away, he may as well have been on tv. I always think of him as being short - but I couldn't judge that for myself.

More substantively, I was pleased at what appears to be his platform. Ianqui will be glad to know that he promises that if elected, on his first day he will close down guantanamo. That made me tear up, actually. There were multiple times that I got weepy - but know also that I am on the rag*, so weepy is basically my permanent state this time of the month.

I wept when he talked about changing the way the world views America - he wants us to become a country that has a positive influence on the world - that is known for its altruism and humanitarian missions - not for our war mongering. As he said that, I thought how wonderful it would be to be able to be proud to be an american - and to be proud of our effects on the world. He said he wanted to redefine patriot acts not as starting wars, but as taking care of our environment - to feel so proud of our world that we want to take care of it and to see recycling and developing "healthy" cars as being acts of patriotism.

He wants universal healthcare that is not contingent upon your job or your state. He wants every american to be continuously covered, no matter where you live or whether you change jobs. He wants to outlaw "preexisting conditions" and wants to achieve mental health parity. I was proud of my city-dwellers when that last one got a HUGE amount of applause.

He wants everyone to have the ability to be unionized. The bartenders stopped serving drinks and applauded then.

He wants to reduce AIDS in Africa, end genocide, cure global poverty, and again to have America have a positive influence.

It wasn't until the end that he talked about poverty in the US - and I was slightly grouchy at him until that point that he seemed to talk about poverty everywhere except here. He noted that it is obscene that in the US we have 30 million people who wake up each day not knowing whether or not they'll be able to eat. He said that it is a passion of his, and he hoped to make it a passion of everyone else's. He noted that in an international newspaper after Hurricane Katrina, one of the headlines said (above pictures of the poor in the 9th ward) "America's Secret Shame."

All of that is great, I think. I find myself, however, suprised that I am (at this point at least) supporting a white male most strongly. That said, I still don't really know what Obama and Clinton see as their platforms. I try to figure it out - but I get confusled by all the glittering generalities.

I also feel some dismay that issues related to women were never brought up. There were two attempted rapes in my neighborhood this weekend alone. I don't know the exact number of women and children killed in this city by partners and fathers in the past few days - but I'll tell you, the number is terrifying. Where is the candidate who cares about that?


* my aunt flo, grandma fell off the roof, ridin' the red wave, my little friend, the crimson curse

5 Comments:

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Ianqui said...

I *am* glad to hear that about Guantanamo.

You know, I was sort of supporting Edwards in a general sort of way (since I'm not following too closely right now, mostly because I don't have CNN and can't watch the debates). But then I read the NY Times magazine article about him from this past Sunday and now I don't know. Parts of the article are meant to be flattering, but other parts make him sound like a stubborn neophyte. You should read it and let me know what you think.

 
At 11:56 PM, Blogger shrinkykitten said...

Okay - I've not gotten to it yet - it's next to my bed. Maybe I'll read it tomorrow on the train (to the zoo!) and let you know. I will say that even though I resonated with his optimism that the US can be a force for good, and not for evil - and part of me desperately wants that optimism - I'm also aware that he was tonight so idealistic as to seem naive. But maybe I'm okay with that for now.

I was going to mention too two things that surprised me about tonight:
1. I was not made to show ID nor was my bag checked when I went there. All they did was find my name on the list, and I got in.

2. It started exactly on time. This was hugely surprising to a lot of people. In fact, people were talking about it on the way out. I think people felt like it showed respect for us. Maybe it was just an indication he needed to catch a plane to rush elsewhere right afterwards.

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger Ianqui said...

Hmm, those things are interesting.

I also read the NYT article on Hillary Clinton, and that also turned me off. So I don't know--if the NYT could do a piece on all of them that are about the same level of criticism and praise, maybe I could make an informed decision. I'd like to see them do Obama and Richardson.

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger ding said...

he spoke at a luncheon for an organization i support and i loved his speech on u.s. poverty. i think he really has a clear idea of what needs to happen domestically and i wish his message about this increasing wage divide could really get out there. before he declared himself as a candidate, he was working at a poverty institute in virginia, i think? i'm sure that's where his ideas about what needs to be done to end poverty in america really solidified.

i've always admired edwards; i don't think he's dumb and if he's a little bit of a neophyte i chalk that up to everyone else around him looking like the big bad wolf about to chomp of red riding hood.

but, yes, he is short. i came really really close to shaking his hand once and i just chickened out.

 
At 10:05 AM, Blogger shrinkykitten said...

ianqs: I'd like to see such a balanced piece about Obama too. Maybe Richardson - but I think he has no chance whatsoever.

ding: He headed a poverty center in So Carolina, I think. He talked about a college program he started in So Carolina to help poor kids go to college. How come you chickened out?

 

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