Bing was flabbergasted.
She had been going on and on about how she couldn't wait for today to come: the first Nebraska caucus. She wanted us to both go and caucus for Hillary.
I told her that I was still undecided.
Blank look. Incredulous blank look.
"What do you mean "undecided"? she finally asked.
It means that I don't know if I am supporting Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama, I told her.
This was a first for us. We have had our differences about money, about child rearing, about many, many things, even seemingly mundane things such as how to train a dog, and what exactly is junk food, which ended up to produce rather large arguments considering they were small matters on paper.
But we have always been on the same page politically. Both of us solid liberal democrats and proud of it.
And now I was rocking the boat. Bing already has the Hillary yard signs in the garage.
I told her that I wanted to take more time to look at all the issues, that I wanted to be very, very sure. That to be honest, I just liked Obama better. He spoke to me in terms that resonated clearly with me. Hillary? Well, I liked the content of her speeches, just found myself stepping back from her for some reason. I wanted to explore that reason.
So, I have spent the last two days going over issues that are important to me and seeing clearly where all (Clinton, Obama and McCain) the candidates fall on them. I want to make a good decision, not one based on personality, etc.
There are many, many issues to think about. Abortion, economy, civil rights, crime, drugs,education, energy, environment, children, foreign policy, free trade, government reform, gun control, health care, homeland security, immigration, infrastructure,jobs, principles, social security, war and poverty.
I decided to hone it down to my top five issues that I feel strongly about.
2) Civil rights
4) Gun control
5) Health care.
I researched all three candidates on the above topics and came up with these answers:
Both Obama and Clinton voted yes to 100 million$ to reduce teen pregnancy and both support Roe vs Wade.
All candidates voted yes to expand research to more embryonic stem cell lines.
Clinton supports parental notice.
McCain wants to prosecute abortion doctors and overturn Roe vs Wade. He voted yes on banning human cloning.
I can't go with McCain on this issue (imagine my shock and surprise), am pretty much appalled at his stands in general.
Clinton edges out slightly ahead because of the supporting of parental notice. I tend to lean that way too.
All candidates agree that states should decide on gay marriage.And all candidates voted no on the constitutional ban of same sex marriage. That seems reasonable to me. But McCain voted no on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes, while Clinton voted yes. That is a HUGE deal to me. McCain also voted yes on prohibiting same sex marriage. So, which is it, McCain? Can't seem to make up your mind on this one, huh? Or maybe just some fence sitting? Time to heave yourself up and off that fence, big guy. Obama says that he opposes gay marriage but supports civil unions. So, we can legally do it, but not morally? Obama and Clinton also agree that there should be health benefits for gay civil partners. Since I don't care if I can legally marry so much as I would really like to have partnership rights in Bing's health insurance, I am sort of stuck on this one. I can support either Obama or Clinton.
Clinton stands for cleaner air (as opposed to what? wanting dirty air?)and funding the EPA.
Obama wanted to see Katrina contracts go to the locals, not to Halliburton. Ok, yes.
McCain wants to use park visitor fees for park development bonds and make the EPA into a cabinet department.
All candidates voted yes on including oil and smokestacks in mercury regulations. This sort of seems like a no-brainer issue to me, though...
Hmmm...toss up, but, I am going with Obama for this one.
McCain gets a firm shake of the finger from me in so many directions on this issue. He opposes restrictions on assault weapons and ammunition types. Voted yes to banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence and also on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers in general. He also voted yes on loosening license and background checks at gun shows. Like, what? We are just too hard on those guys or something and need to cut them a break? I don't think so.
Both Clinton and Obama voted no on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers.
Obama goes the extra distance on this one, though, by wanting to ban semi-automatics and impose more possession restrictions.
Obama takes this one.
All candidates voted yes on increasing Medicaid rebate for producing generics and on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D and on allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada.
Obama says that he wants "government healthcare like the members of congress have." That sounds wishy washy to me. He also supports condom distribution to deal with the scourge of AIDS.
McCain doesn't believe in any mandated universal system for health care. Which basically means that he is okey dokey with us drowning in our current sea of insurance companies sticking it to us but good. He IS for higher taxation on cigarettes and matching funds for senior citizens prescription drugs.
I'm not impressed with either Obama or McCain on this.
Here is where Hillary really shines in my opinion. She wants universal health care coverage by the end of her second term, to insure ALL children, fund teaching hospitals federally, regulate a tobacco fine of 3000$ for every underage smoker and let states make bulk Rx purchases.
I have never understood why so many people in America get all shaky and nervous about universal health care. Have you ever had to deal with a catastrophic illness? If you did, you would understand why so many people hate insurance companies. If you just have to go in every year or so when your little Susie breaks her arm, well....consider yourself very, very lucky. And don't come bawling to me when some terrible health crisis DOES hit your family and you didn't vote for universal health care. God, can people really be so obtuse?
Want a crash course in this topic? Work in a medical environment that tends to America's poor. I did. It nearly broke my heart. You will see harsh realities that you never thought could happen in OUR country. People who are dying and being turned away because they either don't have insurance or have bad insurance. It should NOT happen on our watch. We should never ever let a child die. EVER. Or an adult for that matter. But, they do. They really do. Just open your eyes and do some serious research while you sit your fat, cozy ass in your cushy chair with your laptop. Now, stop.
Close your eyes and imagine that poor person is you or your child or your aunt or your best friend. Because if you or they get REALLY sick, it very well could be.
And think of all of the people in England, in France, in Canada. They have universal health care and hey...if it was so terrible, wouldn't they be storming America? They aren't. Universal health care works. And it is time for America to step up to it.
Hillary Clinton is the only candidate that seems to see that. So, she wins this issue.
Okay...now, it was time to look over my issues.
Civil Rights: Obama or Clinton
Health Care: Clinton
Ugh. A tie. Shit.
So, I thought about which two issues mattered most to me, whittling it down further. I came up with Civil Rights and Health Care.
And well...yeah. I guess I am going to have to go with Hillary Clinton.
The problem: I LIKE Obama's personality better. I like his speeches better. Something resonates in me when I hear him speak. But, if I am completely honest with myself, I must realize that my beliefs and Hillary Clinton's are more in sync.
Bing was getting ready to go to the caucus this morning. We hadn't been able to get a sitter, so I was planning to stay home with Liv. I caught up to her in the kitchen.
"Hey," I told her. "Have fun and tell me all about it when you get home, yes?"
She said she would and then I hugged her goodbye and whispered those seven magic words in her ear: I have decided to support Hillary Clinton.
She grinned. Two hot lesbians in love on the same page again.
"I knew you'd come around..." she said.
But, it wasn't without a lot of thought on my part. I wonder how everyone else decides on a candidate? Their party? Their gut feeling? Or...like me...the issues.
What issues are important to you? No slug festing allowed. Let's all keep it polite and respectful. Because, I will be honest, if you are going to tell me that Hillary's laugh bothers you or you don't like her hair, shoes, clothes, husband (and spare me the reference to philandering unless you truly are without sin and can cast that stone in your hand) or tone, I'm not going to listen. Because it is easy to slam dunk but it takes a brain to formulate an opinion. I will respect yours, please respect mine as well.
And you non-Americans? What do you think? Do you like any of our candidates?