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There Is Always An Upside

May 2, 2008

“I’d vote for her because this country needs change and maybe it’s time for a woman to be president.  You know, maybe a woman’s emotions are what we need.  I don’t think he’s going to be any different, he’s just another man”  Says one older woman to another in the waiting room at the doctors office.

I nearly choked on my Starbucks when I heard that.  Serves me right for eavesdropping on their conversation, I guess.  Still – the irony.  I mean, how sexist!  Where’s the equality ladies?

Yeah, it would be great to have a woman in the white house and not as first lady but as president but I want her to be there because she was “it”.  I want her to be there because of where she stands on the issues.  I want her to be there because she can lead this country.  I want her there because she was the best candidate and not because she was the most ambitious.  And right now, the issue is change and I want her to bring change.  When she gets there, I want her to remember where she stood on the issues during her campaign and I want her to do everything in her power to remain faithful to those promises.

Obama and Clinton, in my opinion, have both been pretty close in regards to most issues that they care to elaborate on.  I prefer Hillary’s national healthcare plan because it offers a sound solution for small businesses which help our economy.  I prefer Obama’s Immigration reform plan which would provide driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants (I don’t think anyone should be out there driving without a license and unable to aquire insurance – I don’t think it’s a fair trade to punish illegal immigrants and at the same time punish law abiding citizens who may end up in an accident with someone that does not have insurance – it also makes sense that this is a good way of knowing exactly who is in our country).

However, there seems to be much going unsaid on Hillary’s part.  Take for example Hillary on women.  She states:

“Today, despite the progress women have made, they earn only 77 cents for every dollar men earn — and women of color earn even less. Hillary is leading the charge in the Senate to strengthen equal pay laws and end pay disparities between men and women. She introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen the penalties associated with wage discrimination, to ensure that the federal government sets a higher standard, and to increase oversight of employers. Hillary has also worked to increase access to capital and other support for women-owned businesses.”

That’s nice.  However, Obama is ahead of the game on this one as he’s not only as pro-choice, pro-family, pro-women’s rights but he addresses issues that go beyond the laws.  Laws are wonderful but if we as women can not count on the agencies responsible for enforcing those laws, they mean little to us.  Obama states:

Historically, the Civil Rights Division has been the primary protector of the nation’s anti-discrimination laws and has helped transform our nation by leading the fight against racial, ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination. Along with agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Civil Rights Divisions that have been created within other federal agencies (such as the Department of Education), DOJ’s civil rights arm has helped transform our nation. These agencies have led the fight against racial, ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination – whether it’s on the job, at the polls, in our criminal justice system, or in our educational institutions.

Under the Bush administration, these important offices have experienced a shift in their priorities, and enforcement of various types of traditional civil rights cases has gone down.

􀂾 By the end of 2006, the Civil Rights Division filed only about six Title VII employment cases per year, and very few of them involved racial discrimination. This drop in cases does not coincide with a drop in complaints: the EEOC referred over 3,000 charges of individual discrimination alone to the Division.

􀂾 The number of housing cases filed by the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section has fallen from 53 in 2001 to 31 in 2006. Cases involving discrimination have fallen by 60%. In 2003, DOJ announced that it would no longer file disparate impact cases involving housing discrimination – a sharp break from DOJ’s longstanding and bipartisan policy to aggressively litigate these cases.

􀂾 The voting section filed no discrimination cases on behalf of African American voters between 2001 and 2006. The Bush Administration has only filed three cases under Section 2 overall, and has cut staffing for voting rights cases.

Part of the decline in traditional enforcement priorities is traceable to a shift in DOJ hiring. In 2002, the Bush Administration put political appointees in charge of hiring new attorneys in the Civil Rights Division – departing from the longstanding practice of giving the job to career professionals. Since then, less than half of new hires in the Division’s important Appellate, Employment and Voting Sections have had any prior civil rights experience – and less than a quarter have had any prior experience enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws. The others, according to a Boston Globe analysis, “gained their experience either by defending employers against discrimination lawsuits or by fighting against race-conscious policies.” Barack Obama will reverse these trends and reinvigorate the enforcement activities of these agencies. Read the whole plan at the bottom of this page.

Then, of course, there’s social security.  Ali Eteraz asks the question “who’s the elitist now” in a post highlighting a Clinton – O’Reilly discussion on social security.  However, it’s quite a bit more problematic than that.  It’s an issue that Clinton is not willing to address and the question why has to be asked.  Is it perhaps because it would affect her 100% rating by the ARA?  Is it perhaps because it would affect her standing with the middle class?  Bi-partisan-shmartisan – Obama says the same thing but at least he’s being honest about considers possible solutions. 

Sometime last summer Clinton was ridiculing Obama’s stance on diplomacy .. that he’d talk to leaders of countries who we consider hostile but today her stance on diplomacy is as follows:

We know we need global coalitions to tackle global problems like climate change, poverty, AIDS, and terrorism. And to keep our country safe, we need to start engaging our enemies again. During the Cold War, with missiles pointed at us, we never stopped talking to the Soviet Union. That didn’t mean we agreed with them or approved of them. But it did mean we came to understand them — and that was crucial to confronting the threats they posed.

Her talk on Iraq says one thing, her voting record quite another .. see here.

Fine, we can learn from our mistakes, I believe in that, but we can also learn from the mistakes of others.  Just today we’re hearing all about Clinton’s gas tax vacation plan, one which is unlikely to have any congressional support and Obama’s learned his lesson on this one already.  It may save the average family $28 dollars over the vacation but it could cost 6,000 jobs – it’s allready happened in Illinois when he voted in favor of similar legislation.  It looks to me like Clinton is looking to buy votes at the price of $28 at the expense of thousands of people’s jobs. 

Well, I can’t say I’m proud of the way this campaign of Clinton’s is going, that’s for sure.  From the Is Obama Muslim crap that was comming from her staffers to the landed in Bosnia under sniper fire to the some things just don’t need to be discussed evasiveness to the let me buy your vote tactics – hmmmm .. she’s sounding a bit like Bush.  I just hope that if she makes it into the white house as first lady president that she concentrates on the change that we’re all waiting for, the change she’s promising.

On the up-side if she does make it to the White House – hey – we’re going to have a “first man” sitting pretty (hopefully, that’s all he’ll be doing) in the White House.







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