As I mentioned yesterday, John Edwards increasingly looks like the best Democratic candidate to me. I hope he does well in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire, so that I still have a reasonable choice to vote for him in the California primaries. It pains me, I have to say, to have the choice to vote for a woman or an African American candidate for the very first time, and to be choosing instead another of those rich white guys, but I simply trust him more to fight the good fight against the wealth and power that runs this country.
Edwards's vision of those "two Americas" rings true to me. I believe that we have too many in this richest country in the history of the world who go to bed hungry, too many who lack the resources to buy health insurance from the for-profit insurance companies that have a strangle hold on our medical system, too many lacking the education and the opportunities to achieve what the fortunate boast of as the "American dream"--a term, incidentally, that I've come to despise for the values it too often embodies.
I trust Edwards's ability to do what he says he will. His experience as a trial lawyer, confronting the powerful on behalf of the powerless, is an excellent qualification for the work that needs to be done. As he has said, you don't solve some of these problems by making deals with those who stand to profit from the status quo.
I trust him when he says that he will work to disempower the lobbyists, and that he has the will and the ability to do it.
I trust him in part because of his background, his personal experience of poverty and lack of privilege, the pain of losing his son in a senseless accident, the intense challenge of his wife's illness and their mutual loyalty and tenacity. I trust the power of his intentions, and the values that he seems to represent.
I like both Clinton and Obama, and would have no difficulty in voting for either of them. My "ideal" candidate would be Kucinich, whose views are more radical, even, than those of Edwards. I harbor fears about the fierce hatred Clinton would have to surmount to be elected, and hesitations about the Bush-Clinton dynasties. I have different, but comparable worries about Obama: racism, sadly, is still deeply rooted in the American psyche. And I have fears about the proven Democratic ability to seize defeat from the jaws of victory.
That's how I see it, as of this moment. I hope that others will see it as I do.
Oh, and that close encounter... of the telephonic kind. What a thrill to have a call, yesterday evening, from Robin of The Dharma Bums, who is in our neighborhood visiting her ailing mother. We did not manage to get together in person, as we had hoped, but it was a delight to have a voice to put together with those wonderful words and pictures that reach us via the blogosphere. I wish her mother a speedy recovery and good health in the coming year. We agreed, by the way, about John Edwards. See her entry today.