Friday, May 9, 2008

Goodbye Senator Clinton

The Senator from New York State, or as I have called her the Senator from Wall Street, was unable to manage a comeback of significant enough magnitude to win the Democratic Party's nomination for President. In her underdog role, however, she looked good. She came very, very close to becoming the first woman to win the nomination for the highest political office in the United States from a major political party.

Mrs. Clinton, according to news sources, was raised in a Republican family, but then went to a liberal, pro-Democratic Party college in the 1960's. The 60's did not radicalize her, but events did push her left of center. Apparently she decided to become a Democrat only after attending the Republican Party nominating convention in 1968, which nominated Richard Nixon. She believed the Republicans were racists. Which is pretty funny, in retrospect. The Democratic Party was founded explicitly as a slavery party by a man who traded slaves (and exterminated native America Indians) for a living. It was the party of the Confederacy during the civil war. It worked with the Klan to eliminate civil rights for African Americans after the civil war and then was the party of Segregation Forever until, well, 1964. Not that the Republican Party was great on civil rights issues after the Radical Republicans lost power in 1880, but if you had to pick a year that was an anomaly it was 1968. White working class Americans were mad, and the Republicans wanted their votes, especially in the southern states. Richard Nixon whispered some racist code words to win the election, but as President continued the good work on civil rights that he had begun as Vice-president in the 1950s.

There is still racism in our society, and even more important, the results of centuries of racial and economic discrimination against non-whites still affect many people in a negative way. This is the year that Democratic Party voters decided to compensate for past crimes by nominating a half-African American, well-educated son of well-educated parents, to lead the nation. It is not a bad thing, but it means we won't have a woman President. I think women will continue to be marginalized because of this.

Hillary Clinton was part of a team with Bill Clinton. They captured the White House in 1992, but I suspect Hillary would have done better if she had become, say, the state Senator from Arkansas and then ran on her own steam.

I disagree with Ms. Clinton on many, many issues. She nods towards environmentalism when the nation needs a fighter. Same with most issues.

If Barack Obama wins the White House, I hope there is a role for Hillary Clinton. She would make a good Secretary of State, or of Health and Human Services. "Good," meaning good within the allowable spectrum of U.S. politics at present. I'd put Green Party members in every cabinet post, and the Presidency, if I could.

Meanwhile, you can still vote for a woman for President. Cynthia McKinney looks set to take the Green Party nomination. Cynthia is speaking in my neighborhood tomorrow, and I look forward to that.

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