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The Youth Vote

I know, I know … we’ve all heard enough about Hillary. But I just can’t resist getting my own 2¢ in with a personal theory on the youth vote that I’ve yet to read about anywhere …
Yes, no doubt Obama brings a fresh wind of change that is particularly appealing to youth (and many others), but I can’t help feeling that one reason young people aren’t so enamored with Hillary is because she reminds them of their mothers — not that they don’t like, even love mom — but when you’re at an age when you most want to assert your own authority and individuality, having “mom” in the White House has got to have negative appeal. (Think about it.)

Which brings me particularly to young women. Yeah … when and where I grew up (Arkansas) many of the young ladies were far too intimidated by their need for male acceptance to ever admit (even to themselves) that they were “closet” woman’s libbers > that is, they felt the same rules should apply to them that applied to men but didn’t have the courage to say so. Before you say phooey, please recognize that things still haven’t changed so much for the girls who don’t have the benefit of a private school which nurses their ambitions or a good university where they can achieve them.

So … you can talk all you want about race and gender, hope and experience — I’d put “mom” versus “orator” up there as the real test for who’s going to win the youth vote.


Email <a href=”mailto:harriettbalkind@snoety.com”>harriettbalkind@snoety.com</a> or join the conversation with Harriett and/or snoety users by typing your thoughts and questions in the box below.

RESPONSES to “On Harriett’s Mind”

Comment: from Denise Thursday, January 24, 11:51
Hillary even reminds me of my mother! And I’m fifty. I want to like her. Honestly. There is almost nothing I want more than to see a woman leader for our great country. However I don’t agree with Gloria Steinem when she asserts that this is about gender. As a bleeding heart lib(ber) I can tell you there is just something about Hillary that rubs me wrong. Baggage? Maybe. More I get the feeling she’ll say anything we want to hear to get elected. There is a lack of ‘authenticity’ for me around Hillary. She’s ambitious as hell. Nothing wrong with ambition. However I get the feeling this drive may overshadow all our best interests. Finally I think about who would I want to listen to for the potentially next 8 years. (Gawd knows we’ve suffered enough the last 8!). Hillary runs on the ‘shrill ‘ end of the scale for me. Along with a great many others I remain undecided.

Comment: From Ginger Thursday, January 24, 4:31 PM
Will you really vote for Monica Lewinsky’s ex-boyfriend’s wife for President? Barack is cerebral articulate and minus all the baggage.

Comment: From Devin Thursday, January 24, 2:45 AM
I agree with Denise. I don’t trust Hillary. Neither do my friends. She is more of the same. Your mother concept is BS. More significant is the generational issue. My generation thanks your generation for a broken political system that gave us 8 years of the worst president in recent history and a democratic congress complacent during all of it. We’re all sick of baby boomer politics. We’re sick of Republicans and Democrats. Both parties have failed miserably. I’m waiting for the next party (something libertarian and reasonable.) In the meantime I’m for Obama. I like the crew he roles around with like Rahm Emanuel and he doesn’t have years of patron-client relationships that always turn into corruption like Hillary does. Good politician DOES NOT EQUAL a good leader.

Comment: From Janet Friday, January 25, 2:43 AM
Instead of being “overly critical” as women looking at other women let’s look at the bigger issue. If Hillary doesn’t make it into the White House let’s look at another 8 years of male leadership the posturing of “figuring out” how to fix the mess and making minimal progress. When is it our turn to lead? When do we “step up to the plate” and allow it to happen? I am amazed and appalled at the fact that women are her biggest critics….does she have the “perfect personality?” No but she sure does have the credentials and political relationships to move us on Day One into change. I am concerned about our relationships worldwide, our very broken system and the political machine that is complicated and needs a saavy leader who can address it head on without taking months to figure it out! And with Hillary and Nancy Pelosi in the White House we will see a change in this country experiencing the way women lead. When will we have a leader that is the female gender? Like so many other countries we will also be sending a very strong message to the world. Look at the horrors to women in the world…the situation in the Congo, the inequalities in Afganistan to name only two, and there are many others…when will it all end? When do we put a woman in the lead role to represent the majority of our population? It would be a huge change and although there will always be criticism let’s put the petty conversations aside and look at credentials to get the job done…and relationships to allow it to happen. Hillary is smart, savvy and has learned the “system”…let’s stop beating up on her as a woman, a “mother figure,” a wife the tone of her voice blah blah blah. I wish we would look at credentials and the larger picture of who would be able to hit the ground running and start fixing this mess. I like Obama but I think that he needs more time and is a great inspirational speaker. He doesn’t have the same relationships and experiences dealing with the complexity…and I am concerned that if he made it to the White House we wouldn’t have him for long….I think he might be a target for assassination in this biased country.

Why are we so critical of our own gender? This happened with Geraldine Ferraro…and a huge topic of conversation was her haircut!!! Come on women. Let’s be a little deeper and supportive of movement and women’s ways of leadership. If any woman can handle all the criticism, and she gets more than her share, she can. We would be taking a huge step backwards if she doesn’t make it….and please stop looking at things that really don’t matter and look at the “bigger picture” of our global world.

Comment: From Anne Friday, January 25, 3:37 PM
Ignorance is bliss…I do not believe so but sometimes this is the way I feel about this election. We know so little about Obama and his track record even if he is smart, articulate, good looking, charismatic and a man, and we know so much about Hillary’s view and track record so we call it baggage. After all the track record is quite good…She is smart; understands the issues deeply; has devoted her life to public life; strongly believes in diplomacy and working out solutions between different factions with minimal conflict since she was in college to now in the Senate, and she has fostered change… so she is criticized because she is too much of a politician… it is the business she is in. She is too ambitious. Do you know anyone who wins at becoming the President and is not ambitious.

She is ready to lead in this troubled world and difficult economy. She works nonstop; surrounds herself with great teams; and truly tries to develop the best solutions with the information she has at the time and is not afraid to evolve. She is the best candidate.

I am deeply committed to:

1) the end of the war, and she will do it without abandoning the thousands of Iraq-ians who have been with us during the war and to returning the troops so they are in minimal danger as we retreat: The army trusts her.

2) health care reform and universal health care, and I believe that she is the only one that truly will make it happen. She has learned from her mistakes. and so many people after the first try would simply give up but not her… it is one of her core beliefs and she will stay on it until solutions are found.

On a personal level she is tough, has unprecedented composure and great stamina and energy. The job is grueling and we need someone that can sustain the pressure, and we know she has been tested about pressure. She is not perfect but who is perfect? I do believe she is the best candidate, but are we ready to have a woman President? This is the question I have been thinking a lot about. We know many men will no vote for her so if she wins it is because women who are 53% of the electoral vote will vote for her. It is entirely in our hands. So let’s ask ourself do we believe that a woman can lead this country and be the leader of the free world? If that scares us why? Do we have enough confidence in womens’ capabilities? In ourselves? Sometimes I feel in speaking with women that it becomes a reflection of oneself and one’s own fear…I know many of you will disagree but all I ask is that you ask yourself the question and answer it. For yourself. It is up to us to make it happen and will we?

P.S. on the issue of accepting her husband’s behavior — It was both of their choices; who are we to judge? What I know is that not many people would sustain the hurt, scrutiny, public humiliation that she did and move on. She decided to forgive him and believes that her partnership with him goes beyond that…and that she has a much more important mission, and that he can be her partner in it. I respect her for it, even if I might not have made the same decision.

Comment: From Anna Monday, January 28th, 2:17 PM
Wait wasn’t Rahm Emanuel one of the key guys that helped Bill Clinton get elected and then served as a Clinton advisor for many years … he’s not new, he’s just a democrat. All the politic-ing is something that every single candidate does and always will do. She’s not worse just because she’s engaging in the strategizing that’s necessary to win. And I CAN’T BELIEVE that anyone would refer to Hillary as Bill’s girlfriend’s wife. That is really unfortunate. I don’t necessarily agree with Hillary Clinton on every issue; in particular, I wish she would address energy and ecology more specifically. You can forget about her gender or put it first if you want. Either way I think she’s the best candidate and Really hope she wins >> just imagine what it would be like to have the first woman president? Very Cool!

Comment: From Anne Park Farella    Wednesday, January 30th, 3:20 pm
I am disappointed that snoety would even suggest that we should “not consider” Hillary because she looks like our mom? (She is a few years younger than I.) I feel that she is a very capable intelligent woman and very experienced.  I feel that Obama is enormously charismatic with a great smile. He’ll be a great future President, perhaps, but I am not impressed. He talks the talk but in my opinion simply does not have an agenda. My vote is for Hillary. (I would have next voted for Edwards but the media has eliminated him).  I’m not thinking about race or gender simply the best candidate.

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1 Comment
Ann says: January 30th, 2008 at 5:07 pm

Does a male in the White House signify “daddy”? No? So why put “mom” there? Think patriarchy has settled into your consciousness a tad too much?

Perhaps if the secret feminists of Arkansas had positive role models they could come out of the closet. Maybe they have to become the change they want….(look up that quote) …Hillary isn’t that person, but this is a great thing to have a woman running.

I’m a Boomer Woman and I’m for Obama.

Google: BOOMER WOMEN FOR OBAMA and read the one that is in all caps and appeared on craigslist. (currently it is number two, this could change)

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