The hit song, Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer, is about political apathy and I am declaring that it’s time to change our tune as Americans.
Even as a political science major with an obvious interest in politics and social change, I have been just as guilty as anyone of political apathy over the last 7 years of George W. Bush’s Presidency. Republicans ruled the House of Representatives, the United States Congress, appointed a majority on the Supreme Court, and controlled the Presidency of the United States. It seems all I, as a democrat, could do was wait patiently for power to swing back in our direction. I still voted, but let’s face it, I live in Texas, a very conservative Republican state and I didn’t harbor any illusions after 9/11 that power was going to swing in the direction of my kind any time soon.
But, now that New York Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton has announced that she will be seeking the office of President in 2008 and Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama will soon announce the same, it is time to stop waiting and start influencing the world to change.
I am inviting all democrats, black and white, male and female to join me in refusing to vote for one more white middle-aged man in 2008! Sorry, John Edwards but, your kind has ruled this country since it’s inception and that fact has a negative influence on the possibilities for girls and minority kids. My vote will be to end the reign of white men in 2008.
Now, I don’t have a thing against middle-aged white men in general. My father is one, my husband is one, my son will one day be one and my brothers and brothers-in-law, grandfathers and cousins are all inhabit the bodies of white-middle-aged men. But, I am advocating voting the gender-line or the race-line rather than the party-line in the 2008 Presidential Elections as a valid and legitimate political position.
A few weeks ago I was having dinner with a bunch of visiting relatives when a cousin of mine asked me how my younger brother was. I reported that he is working as a financial analyst for Maracopa County in Phoenix, recently bought a condo with his new wife and is expecting his first baby. I joked that my brother Klint is the only person I know who still seriously thinks he might become President of the United States and therefore probably won’t be satisfied with financial analysis for too long.
My husband then shocked me by saying, “I could be President of the United States one day, I haven’t entirely given up the idea.”
To which I couldn’t help laughing hysterically and saying, “I hate to be the one who tells you, but there is no way on God’s Green Earth that you will ever be the President of the United States.”
I was bewildered that my response would even come close to hurting my husband’s feelings, but it did. He felt I wasn’t being a very supportive wife.
After asking around I realized that having seen white men, sometimes pretty average white men, achieve the highest political office in the land had a profoundly positive effect on boys as they grew up and pursued higher education and landed jobs. They truly believed in their innermost selves that the Presidency was attainable to them. They would, after all, grow up to be white middle-aged men and they had as much chance as anyone else of achieving this ultimate ambition.
I, quite conversely, never believed this was a goal that was even remotely attainable to me. Forming my formative self in the ’70s, in the midst of the women’s revolution in a highly conservative household, where my parents both voted NO to the Equal Rights Amendment, thereby denying women (ME) equal rights under the Constitution of the United States, it was radical that I even thought I might be able to pursue a career when I grew up.
My son, like my husband and little brother, has only to look in a history book and see the 43 white men who have become the President to believe that he’s got a chance. My daughter, however, has only to look at the same page and see that this is a possibility that she is, fairly or not, excluded from.
So, this election I urge everyone, even white, middle-aged men, to cast their vote for our daughters. A vote for Hillary means a vote for Possibility. The possibility that 50 percent of the population, females, might believe us when we tell them that if they work hard, stay in school and get good grades, they too might achieve the office of United States President.
And if Hillary doesn’t win the primary, vote for ALL the minority kids out there and the possibility that they might be anything they want to be when they grow up.
Ideally, I would love to see Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the same ticket, president and vice-president, woman and man, white and black, giving every kid in America the same hope, the same possibility, the same ambition and the same belief that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up.
Vote for Hillary Clinton
Encourage Barack Obama to run for President
Encourage my brother, Klint Johnson, to run for President