Hector J. Vila
(Hector J. Vila of New Haven is an assistant professor in writing at Middlebury College. )
I have entered into an agreement with my mother and one of her friends: If Hillary Clinton is the nominee of the Democratic Party we won't vote in the national election.
I have learned that these first feminists -- my mother is in her 80s -- on whose backs Hillary is trying to climb to the White House aren't happy with her. Ambition at any cost is the "me" generation Hillary and Bill helped define. And my mother and friends are unhappy with how this pantomime has become a substitute, very real, feminist struggle.
When Hillary voted for the war in Iraq -- and Obama didn't -- she made a political decision based on convenience. She went along with Bush's crude unilatirism because it fit her White House aspirations and sent thousands of those folks she says Obama is out of touch with into harm's way. With Bush, she is responsible for Iraq and its aftermath -- the deaths of thousands, the suffering of countless others, and the mushrooming debt and the economy's chaotic spiral.
This same level of convenient abdication of responsibility is what prompted Hillary to suggest that she landed in Bosnia under enemy gunfire. Sidestepping the truth is in the Clintons' DNA. Continuing down this road will drain us emotionally and spiritually. My mother, her friends and I are exhausted.
Politicians say that "you get what you pay for." During the last eight years Americans have paid for one of the crudest moments in our history: A mindless war for control of oil; a middle class that has not grown for the first time in American history -- some even dropping from this scale; and while confused and beleaguered in Iraq, over 100,000 Americans have been murdered within our borders since 9/11. This is what we paid for.
Hillary is asking voters to take a look at her baggage because the Republicans have attacked it and she has come through this test victorious. Indeed -- there is Whitewater and Travelgate and Filegate, and the circumstances around Vince Foster's death. A cloud hangs over Hillary. Old news, perhaps, but if we stop and take a closer look, we see a couple that has miraculously escaped condemnation, legal or otherwise.
Hillary claims that Obama is out of touch, an elite. But the Clintons have skirted reality -- our mounting debt and the fear that we are transitioning into a new age where America is no longer "top gun" but something else, lagging behind China and India. Neither Clinton nor Obama are addressing this reality. This and the war plague the American consciousness.
It's politics as usual with Clinton and Obama. Rather than face reality they are busy ripping each other apart. Obama has allowed himself to be caught in Clinton's venomous web. We thought he was smarter than that.
In the politics of bitterness, the American Dream -- hope and possibility for tomorrow -- suffers. It's often said that truth is the first casualty of war. We've seen this in Iraq. But truth is first and foremost the first casualty of politics.
Suddenly, as if we've passed through the looking glass, McCain looks good. The dark horse is the image of hope for many Americans -- Democrats and independents alike. How is this a turn away from Bush? A vote for Hillary Clinton is a return to the "me" generation that brought us here -- and that gave us Bush.
Monday, April 21, 2008