| Don't quit!
Between Barack and a hard place
By Ellen Snortland
Quitting is for smokers, not my candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"A quitter never wins and a winner never quits," proclaimed Napoleon Hill, granddaddy of motivational writers. Hear, hear! I have been an ardent Hillary supporter since 1992, and am just as enthusiastic now as I was at the start of this primary process - albeit tired. While I am amazed at the "Quit Hillary!" bandwagons that roll around, it's not mysterious. Barack Obama supporters want their candidate to win.
We want our candidate to win too! Please understand there are many, many people who are begging her not to quit. Her staying the course is not just some obstinate, evil, plotting stance that Hillary and her campaign has taken in some backroom vacuum.
When pundits exclaim that Hillary should quit, they are telling millions of Americans to quit too. Weren't primaries and conventions designed to let people have their say about their candidate? Isn't a democracy about representation, not just party machinations? Why are the voices of Barack Obama supporters more important than Clinton's? They are not. As long as there is a slim chance that HRC can win - even the slimmest - I want her to fight on!
And it's not because I hate Barack Obama. I just want her to be the president more than I want him to be president. She inspires me, she's brilliant, she has been an advocate for women and children from the beginning of her career. I have long dreamed of an American leader saying, "If there is one message that echoes forth . let it be that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights once and for all. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely - and the right to be heard." My candidate stood on a world stage and expressed my fondest dreams.
I heard her speak in Beijing at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 and declared my support for an eventual White House bid for her ever since. I heard her three times. She packed the places to the rafters with the international crowds who adored her. Our foreign policy stock would rise immediately upon her election. I have seen with my own eyes how beloved she is, sans Bill Clinton, by the way.
Let me share a portion of her Beijing address with you since it's gotten so little "air" in the current media frenzy: "Those of us who have the opportunity to be here have the responsibility to speak for those who could not. As an American, I want to speak for those women in my own country, women who are raising children on the minimum wage, women who can't afford healthcare or child care, women whose lives are threatened by violence, including violence in their own homes.
"I want to speak up for mothers who are fighting for good schools, safe neighborhoods, clean air and clean airwaves; for older women, some of them widows, who find that, after raising their families, their skills and life experiences are not valued in the marketplace; for women who are working all night as nurses, hotel clerks, or fast food chefs so they can be at home during the day with their children; and for women everywhere who simply don't have time to do everything they are called upon to do each and every day.
"Speaking to you today, I speak for them, just as each of us speaks for women around the world who are denied the chance to go to school, or see a doctor, or own property, or have a say about the direction of their lives, simply because they are women. The truth is most women around the world work both inside and outside the home, usually by necessity.
"We need to understand there is no one formula for how women should lead our lives. That is why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family. Every woman deserves the chance to realize her own God-given potential. But we must recognize that women will never gain full dignity until their human rights are respected and protected." (See the speech in its entirety at http://tinyurl.com/ah9fx)
Indeed, I am fighting to have my voice heard through an elected representative when I say, "Don't quit!"
Let me say I have vowed to never attack Barack Obama. And given that John McCain is the GOP nominee, why on earth would I denigrate Obama, my second choice as nominee? There has ALWAYS been a 50-50 chance I'm going to be working my butt off to have Obama win. Indeed, both candidates have flaws, but I'm not going to point them out as we go through the hell of getting this country back on course after Bush and his minions have destroyed much of what I hold dear.
As Winston Churchill once said, "If you are going through hell, keep going."
Keep going, Hillary!
Ellen Snortland teaches a writing workshop in Altadena. Click here for details
Pasadena Weekly: 5/22/08