Monday, January 28, 2008

Hillary Clinton for President

My wife finally became a US citizen a few months ago because it was important for her to participate in the 2008 elections. We had dutifully paid our taxes, employed 15 people, followed the law all those years but because we did not want to renounce our Filipino citizenship, a prerequisite to naturalization, we were disqualified from voting and running for public office.

All our children were born in the US and we are disturbed by the growing divisiveness in US society that is fuelling the power of the Republican right wing and securing their disproportionate voice in the formation of the national agenda.

Many Americans believe that the continuing occupation of Iraq is a favor to the Iraqi people. Many like to believe that it is worth the close to 4000 American lives to depose a tyrant like Saddam as long as they stop asking why the US allowed a dictator like the recently deceased Suharto to kill many many times more people to get away and die in peace.

Many Americans believe that the majority of illegal immigrants are freeloading off the system and taking away more than they are putting in. Many like to believe that jobs they consider beneath their station and dignity are better left unfilled; that these immigrants pay into plans like Medicare and social security even if they will never get anything from their contributions.

Many Americans believe that the US is a major contributor of aid to poorer countries. Many like to believe that the US is feeding the world for free and distributing free medications when in reality, the biggest beneficiaries are countries like Israel, Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan and these nations are forced to buy arms and ammunition with the “assistance” they receive. The US lags far behind Europe and Japan in terms of aid as a percentage of GDP.

Many Americans believe that the pursuit and attainment of happiness is their birthright. Many like to believe that irrespective of what situation you are emerging from, the playing field is level. You work hard and you bask in the rewards of your prodigious exertions. Never mind the weak, the defenseless, the poor and those simply shit out of luck. Less taxes, 0% down payment, max out the credit cards, take a third home equity loan--who is going to contract cancer anyway? Who is going to have an MI? The kids will turn out stronger individuals if they acquire and pay for their own educational loans. Life is too short and we need to gorge on whatever it has to offer.

If I could vote, I would vote for Hillary Clinton. My wife and I drove to Little Rock in 1990 when her husband was governor. We attended the inauguration of Bill Clinton in DC in 1993. I was so impressed with Hillary Clinton when she visited Brooklyn in 1994 when she was trying to pass revolutionary health care reform. That was when I realized that if you want to change a nation, you go by the political route. This is a woman who is extremely gifted and who is viscerally hated by many for reasons that are totally unfounded. Just stop for a moment and try to think of a single reason why she should deserve this hatred. And then ask why you would not hold other politicians to this same standard.

In 2004, shortly after reading “Dreams from My Father”, I remember telling my wife that it was time for us to return to the Philippines. It was a powerfully inspiring book from a State Senator from Illinois who had lost a congressional race. I am all for transformational change that my America badly needs but I know in my heart, as a minority, that the US electorate is not yet ready for a black man to become President. Many people will tell you they will vote for Obama but alone in the voting booth, a lifetime of conditioning will keep them from casting the right vote. John McCain would have made a good President in 2000 but his all-out support for the war in Iraq has sadly quashed his heroic qualities. We have had enough of these Republicans for now.

The wonderful aspect to all this is the excitement being generated by Obama’s candidacy. It will wake up the young people in the US and make them become more socially conscious. With the support of the Democratic heavyweights going to Obama, the primaries will cease becoming a coronation pageant. Hillary Clinton will have to work hard for the nomination but this is one reason why I have faith that my America will rouse from all this ennui resulting from the sub prime mortgage fiasco, the recession, the debilitating war, the intolerance: when America begins believing again in its fundamental character of faith, fair play and respect for the common good.

5 comments:

Ryan said...

Martin my good friend, I have to disagree with you, I believe Obama is going to win.

thestoryofhealing said...

I think I disagree with you, Dr. Martin. America is ready, not only for a "black" President, it may also be ready for a "woman" President. But that is exactly that, not the point but a product of an old consciousness that puts limits and judgments upon people. We all know about the conditioning to have a point. But I believe it could transcend that. And the same America that embraced people like us (who can also easily have labels as quoted above), is the same America that is being ushered into this further level, that if she is wise, she will know she can course her own better future. That she shall put into office a man or a woman who is the best for the seat. Black, woman, or whatever, it will not matter. The faith of the collective can be a powerful fuel for the will. And when a being wills, we know something happens. The messy domestic issues and situation has encouraged people to do something--many know and many hope it could start with a vote. His campaign offered a vessel for these people, many of whom never cared to vote. This year's election would be very interesting, I think. And I believe Obama will win.

rey said...

Although I prefer Obama, Hillary is not a bad alternative. We know that the Clintons are policy wonks and I read that Hillary is actually more organized and systematic than Bill. Although I also believe that Hillary will eventually get the Democratic nomination not because of gender or race but the process of placing more than 20 states at play this coming Tuesday is very advantageous to those who have long-term relationships with each state. Clintons (they are running as a team) are way ahead in many of these states and have cultivated a loyal following. I admire they way Obama can inspire with his speeches (they are one of the best so far since JFK), Clinton will overcome this with her machinery. I guarantee that she will win majority of the delegates come Tuesday.

thestoryofhealing said...

January 20th 2009...didn't we say so? ;-) Funny how the January 20th post never even mentioned President Obama. But then, I guess, Dr. Martin, you're wanting to tell a different story there.

All the best to you!

md bautista said...

mea culpa. you were absolutely right. God Bless America!