Wednesday, January 2, 2008

John Edwards... and a Close Encounter

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.

6 comments:

robin andrea said...

Peter, you articulate the issues so perfectly. We support John Edwards for the reasons you list. I want a real Democrat with real democratic principles. I think health care is the most important issue facing our country, and John Edwards is not going to negotiate with insurance companies to get us single-payer health care. He is right on so many of the issues for me.

It was great fun hearing your voice yesterday. I'm glad I took a chance and called. Hopefully the next time we are in the neighborhood it will be under better circumstances, and we'll actually get to match faces with the voices!

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khengsiong said...

If the government provides too many benefits to the people, economists would warn of creation of a welfare state.

What is fair? I recently studied Aristotlean Justice in my MBA program. We were taught various principles used to determined wealth distribution, such as equal share, personal efforts and individual needs. The difficult part is: how to strike a balance?

roger said...

i too thought dennis to be the purest candidate, but he has taken a strange turn. maybe kucinich is as nutty as his detractors claim. he's urged his supporters to choose obama as second choice. how can he support that wishy-washy faux centrism? i oppose obama because of his positions.

good luck to us all.

Tau said...

I completely agree with you about Edwards being the best candidate based soley on his ability to win. The Hillary Hatred runs deep with so many people. I don't think the US is ready for a woman president. As with the Supreme Court & Sandra Day O'Connor, I believe the first successful woman candidate will (unfortunately) have to come from the Republican side. As for Barak Obama, the prejudice would divide many liberal voters and give the electoral votes to the conservatives. :-(

Doctor Noe said...

Peter, u r tick u late. so well!!!

I can't stand Hilary because her image is a pain in the ass. That's her image. As for her politics, she voted for Iraq status quo.

Obama, beyond a facile intelligence, has no substance beyond likability.

Edwards is hope on a roap. Glad he did better than Hill in Iowa.