Thursday, 20 November 2014

Not Ready for Hillary

by E. Amato

I was so ready for Hillary in 2008. I was thrilled to be able to vote for the one person I believed could create effective solutions to health care in this country; whose very presence would stand up for women's equality; someone who had experience on the world stage, and reach.

I was totally ready to voter for her in the primary.

Then she dropped out before I could.

And now the world is different. I'm different. Everyone I know is different.

Yet somehow, government has remained the same.

I truly thought I was ready for Hillary 2016. But I've had to check in with myself politically in the past few weeks, and the truth is, I'm not.

The Hillary I'm ready for was here twenty years ago. Bad*ss Hillary who took on health care and crammed a thousand-page report down Congress' collective throat. Who got it fed back to her in defeat, but who stuck to her guns, her intel, her analysis, and most of all - her commitment to create change.

Cut down by misogyny, fear, and the ever-present profit-motive slithering through government, that Hillary regrouped, learned power games and D.C. players. She learned side-deals and polite smiles in public. She learned handshakes and the game of owing favors. She rose and rose by playing the game she stepped into better than many of the lifetime players. She gave up on changing the game. She did the calculation that so many do - perceived future effectiveness and gain, weighed against clarity, directness, and meaningful change. She played it safe to stay in the lineup. But by doing so, she perpetuated a game that needed ending. One that needed courageous people like her on the field.

Obama has clearly learned from the Clintons' first two years. Despite early declarations, his main goal seems to be to stay safe in office. For me, he's erred on the side of offending everyone by offending no one. I'm not ready for the remaining two years of those policies.

I'm not ready for 2016 Hillary.

I'm ready for Elizabeth Warren.

I'm ready for someone who gets where we are going and is not beholden to where we've been. Someone who thinks freely and believes problem-solving is done from the ground up and not from the top down.

After serving as Secretary of State under Obama, I find it impossible to know who Hillary Clinton is anymore. Is it a credit to her service that we are still in every military action Obama inherited plus a few more? How will we ever now where she stood on those policies?

Clinton is certainly qualified. She's smart, presidential, accomplished. She knows how to be diplomatic and she knows how to get tough. These are all good things if you look at the role of president as we have been looking at it since 1789.

Perhaps it's time to look at it differently. Warren is different. She's combined understanding of issues with  analytical finesse. She's compassionate. She's a solid and clear communicator. And she does not believe the citizenry should be pawns for a military-industrial complex fueled by lobbyists and dirty cash.

There are policy decisions in play at this time that will affect quality of life for centuries - privatization of water, fracking, privacy to name a few. These are not policies that will see-saw from administration to administration. The choices in front of us are the kinds that there is no turning back from; I don't want someone in the driver's seat who makes policy choices based on expedient relationships rather than core values.

The Clintons have done amazing things in the private sector, where they have the freedom to affect non-legislative change through the Clinton Foundation. Hillary may be most effective there, pushing forward the agenda already in place. In Washington she has a role to play, part-inherited, part-earned, but one she must fulfill if she is to get anything accomplished. It's a role I am tired of our leaders playing. It's a role that does not address or meet the challenges we are currently facing.

Zestyverse Editor/Publisher E. Amato has woven a creative life that moves fluidly between words, stages, film, and practical activism. She was a member of the 2011 Los Angeles Slam Team and has competed at Poetry Slam Nationals and WOWps. In 2010, Zesty Pubs released her first collection, Swimming Through Amber, her Kindle book 5 in 2012, and her second poetry collection, Will Travel, in 2013. In 2007 and 2008 Down Home traveled to the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, garnering 5-star reviews consecutive years – a rare honour. She recently produced Homeless in Homeland, Saria Idana’s solo piece, which received 4 stars at the Brighton Fringe 2013.

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