If you read my post yesterday, you know I’ve been obsessing about who to vote for in the primary, that I’ve been feeling like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, who weighs everything “on one hand,” and “on the other hand.” In my case, on one hand there’s Barack Obama, who’s inspiring, charismatic, and electable, not to mention the First African American blah blah–but who also, to my mind, lacks substance. On the other hand, there’s Hillary Clinton, who’s committed, focused, smart and The First Woman blah blah–but who’s also a big red target for Republicans and conservatives.
This morning I realized there is another hand, and his name is John Edwards.
Edwards was my choice from the start. He’s the only guy, other than the completely unelectable Dennis Kucinich, who gives a shit about my life, i.e., who cares about the many people seriously struggling to survive in corporate America. He’s the only candidate who has a strong political analysis and consistently injected it into the otherwise superficial national dialog. But because The First Black and The First Woman made for sexy copy, the media all but wiped Edwards out of the picture.
True, I was pissed at Edwards for his reaction to Hillary’s tear–in typical sexist language he declared she could never command the armed forces. A few weeks later, though, this seems but a blip in the context of the whole campaign. Edwards’ principled stand on significant issues is more important than his moment of knee-jerk male chauvinism.
Various progessive organizations have been sending out e-mails encouraging people to go ahead and vote for their original favorite candidate, emphasizing the media’s role in wiping out Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards and the rest of the presidential wanna-be’s who were, for one reason or another, given little air play. At first I dismissed this strategy as a ridiculous waste of votes. Then I considered how I’ll feel if I vote for either of the Democratic contenders. If I vote for Obama, and he wins, and becomes a placating president who caves in to pressure from reactionary forces, I’ll curse myself for not sticking to my gut instincts. Ditto times ten if I vote for Hillary Clinton, and the Republicans do such a number on her that she loses, making John (“Bomb Iran”) McCain or Mitt (“I-pray-to-Jesus-just-like-you”) Romney the President of the United States.
Voting for John Edwards, I don’t have to hold my nose. And I’m still voting for a First: the First Presidential candidate (other than the egomaniacally despicable Ralph Nader) who sees the cruelty and corruption of corporatism and isn’t afraid to stand up and say so.
That sound you hear coming from my computer is the sound of the other hand clapping.