Not that I think this is especially effective in any way, but that doesn’t detract from the hilarity…
When I was small I used to watch the news every night. At seven I was probably more educated about congress and presidential politics than I am now.
In the first election I was old enough to chat about – likely Bush Sr. in ’88 – I remember my mother telling me about Ferraro. “In 1984,” she said, “there was a woman on the ticket for the first time ever – Ferraro.” (My mother never uttered her first name that I can recall.) “She would have been Vice President for the Democrats, but they lost to Regan.”
I don’t remember her sounding too upset; I guess everyone liked Regan at least a little bit. But, I do remember the message that followed, whether it was said out loud, maybe in a voting booth, or just implied during our next re-watch of Free To Be You and Me.
It’s important that a woman can be considered for our second highest office. You’re going to grow up to be a white man, and in a way you’re lucky because you can aspire to do anything – even be president. At some point in your life you’re going to have the chance to vote for a woman, or for someone who is black or Asian, or for some other kind of person who usually isn’t given the same opportunities you might have. And, if you vote for them you might have to vote against someone who is more like you, but it’s important for you to support them. Not only because you agree with them, but because of what their election could mean for America.
In a way her message, however she actually conveyed it, changed my whole life. It was the birth of my feminism and the kernel that would become my fierce dedication to civil rights for everyone, no matter how different from me they are. And, it made me become aware that America means something very special and very specific – it means freedom to be and freedom to choose.
For that reason, even in the moments I have been the most critical of America, her message has always inspired me to fight for my country instead of against my country. That distinction has nothing to do with party lines and colored states on a map – it’s about freedom and choice. It’s about the quality of compassion.
Yesterday we elected the first black president of the United States of America. Not just black, but multi-racial. Just like America. Just like the family I have created for myself with Elise.
Tonight I’m already looking forward to America’s future elections. I’m looking forward to presidents who are female, Muslim, gay, Asian, or atheist.
Yesterday we could have elected the first woman vice president. And, though she lost, she may inspire stories told to another generation of little girls and boys who will grow up to love their country not for what it is, but for what it can be.
Tonight I spent some time with my two best friends – a woman who has made her way in a white man’s industry despite discrimination against her and everyone else, and another woman who saw four states tell her she doesn’t share the same rights as her peers because of who she is and who she has chosen to spend the rest of her life with.
Yesterday I cried from when I made that last post until about thirty minutes after the acceptance speech ended. I cried, and it felt good, because I was witnessing the birth of the America my mother promised me I would have a chance to live in. It has arrived blessedly early in my charmed existence.
Tonight I am weary and drained, but still ready to fight for my country, in my way. To fight to make people understand the rights we have and the process we are due. To fight for our freedom to be and to choose.
Today my mother sent me an email that shared its subject with this post’s title. It read:
We just made history!!!!!!!
C-Span has the entire VP debate already typed in, sliced up, and graphed out at the C-Span Debate Hub. Halfway through the debates it is the best single-page tool I’ve found for recapping the debate in nothing more than the candidates own words.
Also, again, Washington Post did some live fact-checking that rebukes a few of tonight’s more notable points. However, beware of some of the facts they check – on the health care fact they state that Biden mischaracterized McCain’s plan, but he was mostly addressing how many people would be dropped due to the tax on health benefits – WaPo does nothing to refute that.
In the long run, Fact Check does a good bipartisan job at debunking the various claims of the campaign.
We have arrived at perhaps the most anticipated televised political event in at least a decade, if not of all time: the Vice Presidential debate between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin.
I’ll be liveblogging this debate to capture some of the highlights and to discuss my immediate reaction, just as I did last week for the first Presidential debate.
Here we go.
Mics on for the intro, Sarah in black, first punch: “Nice to meet you! Can I call you Joe?”
That leaves us at Biden 42, Palin 31 – which seems like a touch of a blowout, but really it was just Palin’s failure to really address the fundamentals of a handful of questions – Obama and McCain did the same thing. Realistically, she hung in well for the entire debate. Against anyone other than Biden she may have won handily.
Significantly, Biden is the real straight talk express. The man does not parse or lie – he is an encyclopedia of issues and facts, and he will outright say that he was wrong or that he disagreed with Obama rather than spending two minutes trying to build a narrative to explain away the inconsistency.
Equally significant for the general election, we were reminded that Palin can be very effective – in some ways the most out of all four candidates – at talking to the general population. It’s not because of her folksy charm, either. It’s that Palin truly is an outsider, and so she won’t go into talking points that would lose the average America. By that virtue, it’s absolutely guaranteed that everything she says is going to be understood, even if it’s ultimately not agreeable or credible.
I will not be surprised if the GOP converts Palin to Congress at the next possible chance and starts grooming her for 2016 or 2020. Maybe even a Clinton-esque move for her into a more prominent state?
In my 4-5 points per question format this debate had double the points of the first debate, so I’m going to half them in updating the overall total. I awarded McCain 18 and Obama 16 at that one, to which I’ll add Palin 16 and Biden 21. We currently stand at Obama 37 and McCain 34.
Personally, this debate just furthers my relatively tepid response to the two main candidates, who I have more strongly endorsed in the past. It really makes you think about the early primary period, where people like Biden were offered to us as a pick against Clinton and Obama. I think next time around I’m going to be paying a lot more attention in the earliest stages of the election to make sure I wind up with the candidate I actually support, instead of just the one who I hope will win.
Washington Post provides an excellent annotated transcript of the debate that provides some fact-checking as well as allowing you to watch specific exchanges as you read. Similarly, C-Spans Debate Center offers isolated video and graphs each exchange by speaker over time. The two most effective recaps I’ve found so far.
I’m apparently in the vast minority in my opinion that McCain held a slight edge over the course of the entire debate. I even got flamed for saying so on Huffington Post!
I think part of my opinion was the expectations game. After all the ridiculous, manufactured drama this week from the McCain camp I thought he’d be vastly under prepared. That was not the case. At the same time, virtually the entire country touts Obama’s speaking and debating skills, while not giving McCain much credit at either.
Based on the combination of those two factors I was expecting an Obama blowout, and since it wasn’t I likely graded Obama harder than he deserved. Also, I’m not nearly as liberal on economic and foreign policy issues as I am on civil rights and domestic issues.
Essentially, I’m willing to admit that my deck was a bit stacked against Obama, in this particular instance. But, I have an equally stacked deck against any Republican presidential nominee, so if anything I think this might represent one of the few chances to capture my unbiased opinion on the political process.
I’m interested to see if I have a similar reaction next week to the VP debate, where I have a significant absence of respect for one side and expectations about neither.
I think that presidential debates are crucial to our understanding of how we can use our votes to better this country.
I’ve been a supporter of both of these gentlemen at different points of this election cycle – I respect them both, but I also believe they’ve each made some grave mistakes. I can’t pretend to be actually “undecided,” since my lifelong commitment to women’s and civil rights clearly dictates my choice in their pairing, and because of that certainty I don’t know whose side I fall on a lot of the other major issues of this election.
Hopefully after the debates I’ll be able to make a more educated decision.
The debate begins…Read more…
Ms. Couric says it best: experience vs. judgment. On this particular range of topics I think experience has the edge. My final tally is McCain 18, Obama 16. Though they were both credible, I’m not really seeing a benefit to voting Obama based on tonight’s performance.