Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What do Iowa & New Hampshire say about me?

"He's inspiring the young people to get interested in politics," I said with what felt like genuine enthusiasm following Obama's overwhelming victory in Iowa. I was thrilled for him, for us, for Oprah.

When confronted with a less enthusiastic response, "As inspiring as his speeches are, there's no content," I countered that he's making us feel good, infusing us with optimism.

Then Hillary stole his thunder, and my feminist pride was reinvigorated as I applauded her, agreeing with those who insist, "She's the one most prepared to take over on day one". I was thrilled for her, for us, for Madeline Albright.

I immediately let Hillary off the hook for her relentlessly shrill and unpleasant stump speeches, reasoning she'd had no choice but to appear tough. Now that she's revealed her softer, more vulnerable side, the face she presents to those she trusts, I switched to team Hillary.

Okay, maybe both candidates fall short of perfect, but so do I. I'm on my own listening tour, swayed on a daily basis, able to rationalize why either candidate creates a personal victory for me. Does that make me the political equivalent of bi-sexual? Or can I defend my waffling by admitting I'm not sure I trust any campaign promises and would just feel better about America if we were to elect a president who's a member of a minority group?

Maybe we can't be sure that our candidates will do better than their predecessors (however low that bar), but this is our chance to vote more thoughtfully.