To tell you the truth, I haven't really decided on John Edwards for president yet. And I'll tell you why. I hope all those politicos are out there and they are going to listen so that tomorrow on the news I'll hear something about it and then one of the candidates will say something either moronic or profound that will finally set my vote in stone. But, honestly, those politicos have me exactly where they want me. Swinging and undefined. I'm the one they're campaigning to. I'm the one they're all talking to when they talk. I'm the one they are arguing over. I'm the one who will decide this primary election. Yet with California's primaries on February 5th I feel them breathing down my neck. Why can't I decide? This is the one and only time I'm going to claim liberal guilt...and I think it's the one and only time I think it really applies.
John Edwards is a white protestant southern man.
I, Claire Rice, is thinking about voting for a white protestant southern man over a woman, a black man, or a Hispanic man from her home state! I, Claire Rice, have always believed the United States of America is in need of a leader who fully represents its culturally diverse population and can finally put an end to any question that starts with: "Is America ready for a ____in office?" Yes! Yes! We are ready!
I don't like Hilary Clinton. Oh she talks a big talk now about the war and this President...but just like everyone else up there she signed the Patriot Act, she OK'd Homeland Security, she OK'd sending troupes into Iraq. Also, she's already been president. I think there are some wives who have just sat back, hosted Christmas parties, and kissed little sick children. Hilary Clinton was never one of those ladies. When Bill was elected to office, twice, so was Hilary. There was someone talking on NPR and he said that "People who are worried about Legacy presidency's should really not. These are not Legacies." Technically, I guess he's right. But still. I don't know if I like it that the history books will read:
Vice President Bush 8yrs (elected in 1981)
President Bush 4yrs (elected in 1989)
President Clinton 8yrs (elected in 1993)
President Bush 8yrs (elected in 2001)
(maybe) President Clinton 4 years (elected in 2009)
That's my whole life so far that I've known these people. The guy on NPR said that, yes, it may be that Bush Jr. was groomed for office, but that the Clintons are self made people (how ethical that making was that created them is up for debate). But my whole life with the same few people in office. This may not be a legacy, but it is an era. If Hilary wins the election and has to run for re-election in 2013, I will have lived with the Bushes and Clintons for 32 years.
This will also be how long I've lived with slogans like "peace in the middle east". Isn't it cute. It almost rhymes.
Peace in the middle east is about who gets what piece of what resource pie and how are they going to get it. It's about our national fear factory switching gears from pumping out movies about "evil" Russian Communists to "evil" Islamic Extremists. I feel like I can almost remember the last movie that had a Russian bad guy (007: Golden Eye) and the first Islamic Bad Guy...no wait I can't. It's hard to think of terrorism and not think of someone from the middle east with thick accents, dark skin, curly hair, and guns in their hands.
The Iran-Contra affair. Happened under Regan.
The bulk of Charlie Wilson's war (also known as the Soviet War in Afghanistan...also known as the Afgan Civil War) happened under Regan.
Gulf War Part I was George Bush Sr.'s pet project.
The campaign against Saddam Hussein continues under Clinton as Operation Desert Fox, which was a series of bombings meant to weaken Saddam's grip.
Gulf War Part II: The Revenge. Don't kid yourselves. This will continue.
A Few Notes: SaddamHussein's reign of power from 1979-2003. The Iran-Iraq war was a terrible eight years from 1980-1988. Regan supplied arms to Iran (even though a young Rumsfeld was at that same time IN Iraq telling Saddam that the US hated Iran just as much as he did) in hopes that it would kill a murder of crows with one stone. He hoped Iran would help free the hostages held by Hezbollah, end the war with Iraq and dispose of the major pain in the ass Hussein, pay the Contras in Nicaragua with a fun combo of drugs and money who could then continue fighting Sandinistas who were socialist and thus the real enemy, and then a great full Iran would turn around and work to open peaceful relations with the US again by attacking the Russians in Afghanistan and ending their own messy little revolution by kicking out the supreme leader and becoming a true democracy. All the while, he could be saying thinks like "Tear down this wall!" and walking on the wall of China and putting up communication walls so that he could have plausible deniability and getting his wife to tell kids to "Just say no" to the drugs that were now spilling out of Nicaragua to pay for his peace efforts. If you didn't know, this is what he really meant by the trickle down effect. But, just like the plucky little economic strategy of the same name, his arms selling plan didn't bare edible fruits. Iran took the weapons and continued a desperate war that would destroy it's population and would only end when Crazy Hussein decided it was more fun to kill his own people. The hostages were release in small packs like a drip from a faucet. The Contras took over the government and getting them out of office has been a little hobby of some of the good people of Nicaragua since. And we sure did kick Russia's ass in Afghanistan. Yes sir. And left Afghanistan high and dry and in the middle of a civil war. Good times.
Peace in the Middle East my ass.
The Ottoman Empire was broken up in the twenties. The state of Israel was calling into being in the 40's. The United States started making it their business to dig for oil in the 1950's.
"One thing Congress should not be doing is sorting out the historical record of the Ottoman Empire," President George W. Bush October 17, 2007.
But that seems to be our favorite thing ever! Why not keep digging our fingers into the remains of the Ottoman empire. It's a game the whole family can/is playing.
I have never known peace in the middle east. I have never known a world were Rumsfeld 's and Dick Cheney's influences haven't fertile ground.
A Note: Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense under Ford. He opened relations with Iraq under Regan (and even said he would have loved to help in the war against Iran if it wasn't for those pesky chemical weapons). He wrote up this cute little interest piece during the Bush/Clinton years http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/missile/rumsfeld/. He worked for a Neo-conservitive think tank called "Project for a New American Century" that is good reading any day of the week http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century (Stephen King should take notes from old Donald on how to scare the shit out of people.) And then you know what happened next.
A Further Note: Dick Cheney (whose middle name is Bruce) was secretary of defense under Bush Sr.
"We are always going to have to be involved there and Saddam is just one more irritant but there's a long list of irritants in that part of the world and for us to have done what would have been necessary to get rid of him--certainly a very large force for a long time into Iraq to run him to ground and then you've got to worry about what comes after. And you then have to accept the responsibility for what happens in Iraq, accept more responsibility for what happens in the region. It would have been an all US operation, I don't think any of our allies would have been with us, maybe Britain, but nobody else. And you're going to take a lot more American casualties if you're gonna go muck around in Iraq for weeks on end trying to run Saddam Hussein to ground and capture Baghdad and so forth and I don't think it would have been worth it. I think the, the decision the President made in effect to stop when we did was the right one." - 1991 Frontline interview http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/gulf/oral/cheney/2.html
"Those charged with the security of this nation could not read such an assessment and pretend that it did not exist. Ignoring such information, or trying to wish it away, would be irresponsible in the extreme," Cheney said. "And our President did not ignore that information--he faced it. He sought to eliminate the threat by peaceful, diplomatic means and, when all else failed, he acted forcefully to remove the danger." - Speech to a conservative think tank 2002.
But then...people can change their minds.
I'm not sure there really was a break in the war. Mr. Clinton didn't take us out of it. Mrs. Clinton wont take us out of it. I don't know what she'll do now that we've made an Iranian sandwich with Iraq and Afghanistan. What will she do as an incoming president, the first woman president, for a nation that is currently occupying two countries that are both in the middle of civil wars, who both have to worry about the countries at their boarders.
Will my children know a world where they can visit the beautiful places that some say are the cradles of civilization? Will my children be able to see a women in a burqa and not immediately think radical? Will my children be able to meet a man named Osama, or Hussein, or Muhammad and not think terrorist?
I had a teacher in elementary school who when asked the question "Who are the Muslims?" answered "People who want to kill anyone who isn't their religion." I wonder how many children in my class took that lesson to heart and let it fester into a belief. Will my children be taught the same lesson?
So, no to Clinton for me. She is not change, not policy change. Not idealogical change. Not real change. Being a woman is not enough for me, because the feminist revolution taught me that just being a man shouldn't be enough to get jobs or votes or power. We should all get to/have to follow the same roads. Being a Clinton is not enough. Being a woman is not enough.
Next time I feel like writing: The real contest for me is between Obama and Edwards...but I'm going to take a good look at some of the other dudes running first. Like Dennis Kucinich. I'm not going to vote for him. Being a cute little elf from the North Pole is not enough.