I happened to watch the Democratic debates at UNLV on TV last night. It reminded me how much I love a spirited Presidential campaign, and how invigorating an election year is: especially now, just about a year in advance of the big day.
I felt burned by the last election, though. I was so impassioned in my distaste with the Bush administration during Election 2004 that I fell in love with the election, with the campaign process, with the potential of stopping Bush before he really fucked this country up. I signed up for all the MoveOn.org daily email blasts, donated what little money I could afford to give to MoveOn (trust me, it wasn't much & it still jeopardized bill pay a bit that month), and was ecstatic when the DNC came to Boston. I stood outside the tent where U2 gave a celebratory concert on Newbury Street, drunk with the excitement of it all, more thrilled about the possibility of change than about the fact that the legendary Bono was like, 15 feet away from me, just on the other side of a white canvas tent.
And the election disappointed me. It failed, like so many other things I believed in had that year. So, it is with great wariness that I turn my attention to the 2008 campaign. Still, watching the debate last night was invigorating and fun, like getting swept up in Red Sox fever as they race for the pennant.
And watching a woman negotiate this campaign is absolutely fascinating. If you watched last night, you may recall: in the space of one hour, Hillary was forced to DENOUNCE the prevalence of gender bias in our political system in response to a pointed question delivered by a woman, who implied that Hillary is "playing the gender card" in this race; then AFFIRM her femininity at the debate's end with a flagrant highlight to her womanliness, when a nubile female undergrad asked only of her, "Senator Clinton, which do you prefer: diamonds or pearls?"
Sen. Clinton laughed and responded quite naturally, "I want both."
Both what? To be BOTH the President AND a woman? To be BOTH powerful AND feminine? To have BOTH diamonds AND pearls?
I want that too.
(Well, not the President part.)