[Lady Lake, Fl. September 14, 2008] Last Sunday morning the Bourbon Street Restaurant at The Villages [the fastest growing micropolitan area in the United States according to a 2008 Census Bureau report] ran out of seating for all the mamas for Obama and a few men who turned out to hear Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Deidre Hall, best known for her role as Dr. Marlena Evans on the daytime soap, Days of our Lives speak to the local Women for Obama organization.
Deidre will turn 61 next month but looks two decades younger. She graciously sat down with me for a few minutes before she spoke at the gathering of Women for Obama and joked, "In 2000 I campaigned for Gore. In 2004 I worked for Kerry. My 13 year old son commented that if I really want Obama maybe I shouldn't campaign!
"I really do want Obama because I have two sons and I want a better world for them and what we don’t fix they will inherit. So much is broken in our country we must start repairing it and people are not yet clear on what Obama is offering and he is on the side of families, women and children. He has impressed me with his integrity because he walks the talk and he is the man to fix what is broken.
"I want to encourage every Days of our Lives fan, and every American to not just vote, which is the least one can do, but to volunteer, talk to neighbors, friends, families about where Obama stands. It is time to stand up and be counted!"
Even though I knew my issue of justice and peace in Israel Palestine was not on the agenda, I seized that brief opportunity to stand up and be counted and told Deidre I want to support Obama but I am not there yet because of his pandering to AIPAC and choice of Joe Biden, a gleeful Zionist. But, I have a radical hope and was audacious enough to speak my mind and hand her my Wide Awake business card before thanking her for her time.
I made my way through the crowd of a few hundred and sat on the floor next to the stage and learned I was not the only non-resident of The Villages to turn out. A mother and daughter from Ocala told me, "We want the Bush's out so bad; because we want change so bad!"
A registered Independent remarked, "I am here to be informed and have not made up my mind. I moved here from Congresswoman Maloney's New York district."
Congresswoman Maloney represents the "silk stocking district", which includes most of Manhattan's East Side and is the author of Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women's Lives Aren't Getting Any Easier -- and How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters.
The former high school teacher and administrator informed the SRO crowd, "It is obvious that we cannot afford four more years as well or forty more years with a Bush-McCain Supreme Court. McCain voted with Bush 95% of the time and before they tell you what they will do-look at what they have done! We had a surplus when Bush began and now we have record debt and deficits. The gap between the haves and the have nots has grown and our middle class has shrunk.
"Obama has a strong platform for women, children and families; equal rights equal pay, not like today when women still make $.77 to very dollar paid a man. We need a president who will really support the family and Obama's plan calls for 12 weeks of leave for the birth of a child to be paid leave. Right now America is tied for 179th place tied with Swaziland and New Guinea on paid leave."
A recent study estimates it will take another 47 years for women to close the wage gap with men at Fortune 500 corporate offices. Obama has committed to better enforce the Equal Pay Act, to fight job discrimination, and improve child care options and family medical leave. His economic plan for women also addresses the reality that one in four will experience domestic violence in her lifetime with family violence accounting for 11 percent of all violence between 1998 and 2002.
Deidre Hall informed as she entertained and also moved a few in the crowd to tears, "I grew up in Lake Worth, Florida. I am one of five children; my brother was born with Downs Syndrome and my twin sister is a special education teacher who just cannot believe the No Child Left Behind program. Do you know that Florida has the highest high school drop out rate in the nation!
"I am here because I am inspired, moved and scared. I have two children, both born by a surrogate mother because I could not conceive. If Robin hadn't the heart she wouldn't have and if she hadn't the right she couldn't have; and it's all about women's rights.
"The other day in L.A. I was in the car near to the Veterans cemetery and we were stuck in traffic. I got out to see a small line of cars turning into the cemetery for a funeral and I cried. I do cry for a living but, it was because we are so insulated we do not see dead soldiers and we have not gotten angry enough to say enough! This family gave up their boy and any boy, who is lost, hungry, scared, alone is our boy. They are all our boys and they need to come home. We all need to pick up the gauntlet and do something to bring our boys home!"
A voice rose from the crowd and announced, "Bring our daughters home too!"
"Yes of course our boys and girls and women's rights and all of it, and all of it needs you! Stand up everyone, I want to see you," Deidre said as she stood upon a chair.