I read Hillary's letter today oh boy. (So did my husband.) And found myself once again between a rock and a very hard place.
As a woman and a Democrat, I would love to be able to support Hillary in the primary wholeheartedly. But as a progressive person, how can I bring myself to vote for someone who belongs to the very ruling elite that has created the mess America is in right now? And how can I get enthusiastic about a candidate who does not express one substantial or original thought in her four-page letter?
In the first six paragraphs of the letter from Hillary, we were assured repeatedly that the candidate is a fighter, a theme that reminded us of the title of another public figure's recent book, A Fighting Chance. Oh yes, Senator Warren.
The letter's next big theme was a request for financial support. It is not immediately clear why a candidate, before a primary season in which she has four or five times the approval of the next most popular candidate, needs more money. Oh yes, she needs the money to fight the media war against the evil Republicans who, unlike the Democrats, believe in, rather than merely tolerate, a trickle-down economy.
Hillary trots out her immigrant grandfather, and alludes to her daughter's baby. She likes families. Which is fortunate, because the population of U.S. adults is made up largely of families, including families maxed out on their credit cards, including those young people burdened with huge student loans and a shortage of jobs.
What would she do to improve the economy for families? She doesn't descend into specifics.
She also likes women. She better like women since they make up about half of the population and of registered voters. Just as some people may have patted themselves on the back by voting for a black man who offered "hope," are Americans now expected to show how tolerant they are by voting for a woman who praises the family? Sarah Palin praised families. Did that qualify her to be the first woman Vice- President?
Hillary doesn't come right out and say how she will assure abortion rights, or raise the minimum wage to the level of purchasing power that it had, say, a third of a century ago. Instead she simply blames the GOP for opposing these reforms. The GOP has bad values, but what she'd do apart from blocking them, she doesn't say.
In the letter, which I assume went to millions of other voters, Hillary tells us "when our families are strong, America is strong. And that's what this election is about. If
the American people put their trust in me trust me," I will fight for real family value--access to health care, education, equal rights, an economy that works for"--you guessed it-- "families."
Well, we can hope, right? This reminds me of Obama's "Yes We Can" slogan. Can what? I was taught never to trust anyone who answered my questioning by saying "Just trust me."
Above all, Hillary is going to earn our vote, she is going to have a conversation with us, as she did in New York state before being elected Senator. A conversation about what? To judge by this letter, a talk about families.
Will this barrage of vagueness remain convincing when she is confronted in TV debates with the specific vision articulated by Senator Bernie Sanders? Interviewing Sanders, George Stephanopoulos, who worked for Hillary's husband, imagined a GOP attack-ad charging that Sanders wants to make the U.S. more like Scandinavia, like Denmark, Norway, or Sweden. Sanders began his response by asking simply, "What's wrong with that?"