Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More than mere candidates

By Faith Chatham - DFWRCC - March 11, 2008
Crossposted on Texas Kaos

Once in a lifetime a candidate comes along who embodies the hopes and dreams of a gender or race. That's happened on both counts in this election year.
It's too bad that one or the other couldn't have waited to run another time, because each means so much to the voters who believe in them. Neither should be sacrificed to the other; when one of them loses, as one must, it will be like a death in the family.

Politics has moved from the realm of casual interest among voters to a visceral feeling that it's now or never. How did we get this way? It's simple: a backlash against the horrible situation into which George W. Bush has put this country, like a bad case of food poisoning.

Not just any candidate would do, either. They had to stir the hearts of voters. Hillary Clinton represents all that women ever hoped to achieve, and Barack Obama represents the equality of African-Americans.
There will be sadness in the country when the dust has settled in the Democratic Party - not just because of voter fraud and disenfranchisement, and not because someone had to win and someone had to lose, but because the hopes and dreams of what the loser represented will be gone.

- Shirley Bumbalough, Watauga

Shirley's letter was published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram and shared with friends. I think it expresses realities which we, as Democrats, need to remember as we face off with our friends and neighbors in Senatorial and State Conventions and discuss politics in our homes and workplaces.

I was amazed at my reaction this election cycle. I have never voted for or against a candidate because of race or gender. This year, I found myself thinking that when the woman is more qualified or as qualified, shouldn't she get the job! I was honored to be a Jesse Jackson delegate to State Convention when he ran for U.S. President. This year I shared with my precinct that this is the first time I've had the opportunity to be a delegate for a qualified woman for president.

I don't think we should vote for or against a candidate based on race or gender, yet this year, many people are voting that way. This year it is much more personal for many than ever before. As Americans, many of us seem to be seeking a "rite of passage", an untettering from the discrimination and marginalization of our childhood and years in the community and work place.

I believe that we need to be more respectful of our neighbors who support "the other candidate" this year than in years past. For most folks, it is truly, as Shirley so eloquently expressed, more than merely politics.

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