Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hope, Change 2

When you're torn about whom to vote for, when your primary vote (on February 5th) actually, improbably, seems to matter a little, and then one of the candidates comes to YOUR town during winter break, well, you walk up the hill to go to the rally.

I met my husband in line at St. Peter's College yesterday at 2:00. Doors opened, they say, at 2:30, but we didn't make it inside until 3:45 or so. Obama spoke an hour later.

It was good, not great. Not great because he was tired, I was tired, and it was the stump speech, much of which I'd heard. But I feel great today about having been there. Very exciting. We were in the last 100 or 150 people who got into the gym, so Obama was a couple basketball courts away. Still, when he was waving good-bye in our direction, I stood up on tiptoes, waved ardently and, I could swear, he made eye contact with me.

Charisma is a lovely thing.

We walked briskly down hill to arrive at daycare just five minutes before closing, grabbed the girls, ordered a pizza, and collapsed.

I am still troubled by the sex thing. After Iowa, Chris Matthews reminded people that Americans granted black men the right to vote 50 years before we granted that same right to women. Gloria Steinem made that same point in her Times editorial. (I suppose she was flipping between MSNBC and CNN like the rest of us?) And Dr. Crazy, too, has been eloquent in her defense of the importance of a woman president. I don't want to wait until I'm 91 to elect a woman. My daughters will be older than Obama is now. (Maybe they'll run....)

Still, whomever we elect, we will have broken a major identity barrier. The discussions about which is more intractable, racism or sexism, seem impossible and ludicrous to me: without context, it's impossible to decide. In a way, Obama vs. Clinton is so hyper-charged on the issue of identity that identity leaves the room for a moment and we get to think about which person is right for the country right now.

When I think about all those Novembers trudging to the polls to vote for anemic democrats (Dukakis? Kerry?), I am readier than ever to vote for someone I can feel hopeful, excited about. I guess I wasn't undecided for very long, was I?

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