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The Clinton Factor

By       Message Betsy L. Angert     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

I saw them.  I heard them.  The undecided voters were no longer in the shadows.  The seven, eleven, or fourteen percent, the unpersuadables who either decline to state a preference, or have not yet determined whether they could or would support the presumptive nominees, Barack Obama or John McCain, were there, at the Arena.  It was a Thursday afternoon, in Boca Raton, Florida.  Hundreds, myself among them, stood in wait as the storms overhead threatened.  Rain clouds did not deter us.  What some thought oppressive heat did not dissuade the many who wished to hear the former First Lady.  As we stood outside and discussed when the doors might open, many shared their deeply held conviction.  Obama could not possibly beat Senator McCain without Clinton, and her supporters.  If Hillary was at the top of the Democratic ticket, several speculated, we could crush John McCain.

Numerous expressed their distress.  People in this horde were not happy with what they felt was forced upon them.  Many mused of the eighteen million who cast a ballot for New York Senator Hillary Clinton.  Certainly, she received more, not less of an endorsement from the electorate.  More than one person proclaimed, "She was President for eight years!"  Hillary needs to be in the White House again.  However, these statements were offered in somewhat hushed tones, before we entered the building.  

While outside the auditorium, people chatted quietly as they expressed sincere concern.  Senator Obama does not address issues that are important to them.  He does not know what it means to be a woman, to be oppressed, to be the victim of gender bias.  Most offered their angst politely.  They made no loud declarations.  These respectful persons whom the Obama campaign, with the help of Hillary, hoped to recruit inquired.  Did the new man on the political scene have enough experience?  

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A few said, Barack Obama was not their choice, first or last.  Individuals whispered their disdain for the person the press says now leads the Democratic Party.  This group was for the most part refined.  In the throng, the older population was well-represented.  The persons in line, before the doors to the Florida Atlantic University amphitheater opened, were ladies and gents, sophisticated and sensitive to the fact, Barack Obama, and his supporters hosted this event.  The actual audible venom was not heard until we were indoors.  There, shouts would ring out more loudly, although just a few.  "Hillary for President."  "We can secure the nomination in Denver; yes, we can!"  

While at the entrance of the edifice, before the rally began, and after, inside the sanctioned sports center, men and women discussed what for countless was a dilemma.  How could it be that Hillary Clinton was not the Democratic nominee?  What could be done to make her dream, their hope come true?  This was the consensus in this assemblage, although most had reluctantly resigned them selves to what seemed out of reach.

Silva, a very sweet women in her seventies sat to my left.  This delightful woman shared stories of her past activism.  She had been committed to a Hillary presidency.  She worked on the 2008 Clinton campaign.  While she had always liked Bill, in this election season she thought much of what he said was inappropriate.  Yet, the words of Hillary's husband did not lessen her commitment to the former First Lady.  Silva, though wobbly when she walked, as she recovered from a serious illness, was willing and wanted to devote hours to the Hillary Clinton candidacy.

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The lovely silver-haired lady, whose smile lit the room, grimaced at the thought of what she might do now.  No, she had not met Barack Obama.  She did not attend any of his forums in Florida.  "What was he like" she asked after she heard my stories of him.  Silva listened intently.  She knew, chapter and verse of all that the Clinton campaign had hollered.  Every barb the New York Senator directed at Barack Obama as she  attempted to defeat the Illinois Senator was familiar to this genteel and feminine being.  However, she had not heard much else about Obama.  Nor had she had the desire to listen in the past.

Silva was turned off to Barack Obama before she had ever tuned in.  Admittedly, her love and trust in the Clintons had shaded her research early on.  She remembered how well the Clintons had served the American people.  Prosperity and peace, just as Hillary Clinton often claimed were emblematic of the 1990s.  Oh, how Silva longed for the good old days.  

Before the Democrats were barred from the Everglade State, prior to primary date being changed, Silva saw the Clintons on more than one occasion.  As we watched the clock in anticipation of the first Lady's arrival, this gracious women  wondered aloud.  Is Barack Obama as impressive a speaker as Hillary is?  Her sharp and focused eyes voiced her curiosity as much as her words did.  She said, "Hillary answers every question posed to her.  She cares.  The Senator from New York is passionate; her speeches are animated.  Does he listen to the people in his audiences?  Can he relate to the average American?  I shared my story.

I told her of how, when he went through the rope line, he shook my hand and that was nice.  However, such a gesture could be expected.  Then, I told her of the tale.  

As Barack Obama stood before me, I said, "I have a silly question to ask."  He stopped.  The Illinois Senator still held my hand.  As I offered my inquiry, he did not let go.  Indeed, he looked me in the eyes throughout our conversation.  I expressed a concern for what had troubled me.  I went on and on for minutes.  The background seemed important to me.  I mentioned a friend hand-delivered an article I had written on the topic to each of his offices, in Washington and in Chicago.  "Had he reviewed them before his oration on the subject?"  He smiled and honestly admitted he had not seen the script.  The Presidential candidate mused of his schedule and the lack of time he had in the office during the primary campaign dash.

As hundreds vied for his time, as hand after hand reached over my head, and out to him, the Senator from Illinois took more than a moment to spend time with me, a no one to him.  My story is one of millions.  I assured her that my meet and greet with Michele Obama was equally wondrous.  

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Still, I have other questions about Senator Obama's candidacy, not the conventional sort, that fill the airwaves.  I worry of advisers who think they know what the electorate wants.  I agonize over turns to the Right, Left, Middle, or what is declared the popular, and therefore preferred path.  

Candidates who crave to appease or please the public trouble me.  Both Bill and Hillary appealed to the moderates, to many conservatives, to the same voters Barack Obama now seeks.  Compromises were well crafted by the Clintons.  Obama fashions the familiar.  Too many Presidential aspirants, for too long, all at the expense of the American people, shape their speeches.  We, the people may admire one, and hence, dismiss another.  Likeability, more often than not, determines electability.

"Silva," I shuttered, "Divisive dictums disturb me."  Hillary harkens.  Bill beckons.  Barack has begun to bellow.  My qualms extend to the constituents.  People, every one of us, are entrenched in what we believe to be true.  Frequently, we cannot see beyond our limited scope.  Silva understood.  She acknowledged she had not sought out information about Barack Obama prior to today.  She was sold on the Clintons and had faith that her choice was the best.  While my stance had, has, and still waivers, I am certain that no human is objective, not even I.  Sadly human, I too can be influenced.  However, I hoped I would not let a person sway me.  Principles, I feel, must be my guide.

The thoughtful soul that sat near me understood.  We had conversed at length before and after the conversation focused on the candidates.  We told each other of our personal physical and psychological traumas.  She was less steady since she suffered from what for some is a fatal illness.  I had been in an accident that could have left me unable to move through life as I do.  She had explained, as had I, our history taught us not to trust experts, to be weary of titles, and not to do as prescribed by a "professional."  In our lives, physicians told us what they thought best.  Yet, for us, the treatments were unwise.

When Silva and I honored our insights, our intellect, our sense of veracity we did better than when we listened to one thought to be knowledgeable.  We concluded we could not be lead by a love for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or the hate for either.  As one woman near us declared her hate of all that is Obama and her intent to cast a ballot for John McCain Silva and I thought how silly she or we might be.

The answer to what ails America will not be found in fondness for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.  The cure for this country will not be cast in a vengeful ballot for John McCain.  If Americans are to truly care for the body public, we must vote not for a person, or a particular policy.  What might best persuade us is not the Presidential nominee, he, or she.  The principles, philosophies, or ideas that invest in our ideals, not individuals, will bring this nation back.  If the undecided are to choose wisely, perchance they, we, might look away from the podium and look within.

References Revealed . . . 


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