I’ve been a Democrat since Adlai Stevenson, the first Presidential candidate I can remember, ran against Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, and lost. He had been Illinois’ 31st Governor, and was later the 5th US Ambassador to the UN during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. I remember him as a hopeful, staunch negotiator with integrity, who was unafraid to take a stand.
Democrats were always the inclusive, big tent Party, which is what I liked. Even when I had to hold my nose and vote, because they were too conservative for me, I pulled the lever for the straight ticket. Over the years I volunteered at the polls, registered voters, and worked for the Party during presidential campaign years. I was a moveon.org member from their beginnings in Berkeley, CA, where I lived during the late 1960s and again from 1993-2007.
As a perennial, idealistic baby boomer with hippy roots, and after a lifetime of controversy, I’m coming to terms with what seems to be my l-lot in life: I get in trouble for expressing my mind and trying to walk my talk. I don’t seem to make the most pragmatic point A to point B choices, perhaps because I’ve used my gut and intuition to guide me. That’s how I became an artist as a child and later a fifteen-year resident of a large Utopian-style commune, whose mottoes were: “Question authority,” and “Out to save the world!”
We chose a collective lifestyle and worked hard on all levels to pursue our ideals. Therefore, if someone makes a similar promise, I take it seriously. I married out of my religion and culture over my parents’ and grandparents’ objections. I became a healer and a body-centered practitioner, and in this election cycle, a blogger and a PUMA. It’s not an easy path, the warrior path. A teacher of mine said that once you declare a path, obstacles will come up to meet and challenge you along your journey.
I make choices based on:
- my assessments and those of others
- coherence between what I see, hear, notice, and feel
- my personal goals and standards
- what I want to have happen in the world
- what and how I am being promised or am promising
- if and how the promise has potential to be fulfilled, and if it is or not
Making promises is the politicians’ stock-in-trade, not just during the election cycle, but throughout their political life. Politicians make verbal, written, and implied promises from their particular point of view, to their political party, constituents, colleagues, and families—based in a broader promise to uphold the Constitution and laws of the land. Sometimes, the interests of the aforementioned parties collide.
To make a promise is a profound act. Within each promise lies the possibility and vulnerability of trust, and the hope of a desire fulfilled. —Jen Cohen, Leadership Coach
When someone keeps a promise, they are in integrity. When someone breaks a promise, it breaches trust, and unless re-negotiated or acknowledged, the promise-breaker is out of integrity. According to wikipedia’s scientifically-oriented definition, “Integrity comprises perceived consistency of actions, values, methods, measures and principles.” In my book, living in integrity means you walk your talk within truthful, ethical guidelines, and have inner and outer coherence or congruity.
The PUMA and Just Say No Deal movement happened because of a collective zeitgeist. A bunch of people saw something at the same time and could not remain silent. They saw that the Big Tent Party was out of integrity. For me it began in January ’08 with the blatant disrespect and misogyny directed toward Hillary Clinton by the DNC, the Democratic candidates, and the mainstream media. I was alarmed, wrote an email to friends and colleagues, got back some kool-aid replies, and in defiance learned how to create a blog and started publishing Lady Boomer NYC.
Obama’s promise was to create a new kind of politics. Instead we were handed: sexism, ageism, class-ism, misogyny, race-baiting, caucus and voter registration fraud, threats, intimidation, mean-spirited sniping directed toward the Clintons and their supporters, and . . . last but not least, over-turning and subverting the will of 18 million Hillary Clinton voters with sham rulings, votes, and procedures at the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee Meeting and the Democratic National Convention.
If a guy goes a-courtin’, and he isn’t trying his darnedest to impress a gal and her folks, do you think he’ll start after he gets her? Progressives barely flinched when Obama reversed his positions on: NAFTA, Israel, FISA, DC gun laws, Iraq, Iran, and preconditions for meeting with rogue nation leaders. There was a promise for honesty and to root out crooked financial dealings, yet we saw Democrats like Dodd, Frank, and Obama receive large donations from the mortgage and banking industries. Obama raised over $500,000,000 during his campaign to make the Democratic Party over in his image, spending millions on slick branding and product placement. He broke his signed pledge to take public financing. Does that sound like someone who’s concerned with your money?
It saddens me that in making these integrity calls and various decisions as a result, some friends seem to be very upset with me. They think I’ve turned into a Republican or can’t understand what happened to me. Me—I’m keeping my promise to make my own decisions and follow my inner guides, same as always. Scarier still, is that for the first time since Reagan was elected, my mom and I agree about politics; and now I only watch FOX News!
Hillary Clinton was the integrity candidate, and the Democratic leadership took away my potential to vote for the candidate who won the primaries, and whom I considered to be the most electable, responsible person to lead this country. In justifying the means for the ends, the Democratic Party and Obama failed in their promise for a new kind of politics. Therefore, I am casting my vote as a protest against them and their steamroll to power.
For the first time in my life, I will vote for a Republican at the top of the ticket, and for down-ticket Democrats. I will not write-in Hillary’s name, because I don’t want her to be held responsible if Obama fails. I’m in a blue state, so it won’t count in the end, but I am making a statement and voting for someone whom I think can and will lead well: John McCain. In the past, he has acted with integrity in taking stands for immigration and campaign finance reform, and against torture of war prisoners. I don’t agree with everything Palin stands for, but she has been running a state with an $11 billion budget and 24,000 employees, was running a household, and sharing her life with her five kids and husband. They look happy and healthy. Pretty good management skills, I’d say.
Whoever wins the Presidency, on the following day, November 5, we will have our work of reforming the primary, caucus, and electoral college systems ahead of us, plus a lot more. We expect to have a Democratic majority in Congress, so Roe v. Wade are fine. This isn’t about a Republican victory, it’s about a protest vote. I’ve had to break ranks with my peers and do what I feel is right instead of following external pressure. I haven’t been part of the group campaigning for McCain/Palin, but I’ve tried to write about what I’ve observed, and be a voice for PUMA and a source of information and inspiration for voters.
Although Hillary requests that we follow her lead in voting straight Democratic ticket, and would object to this choice, many PUMAs cannot. We honor her immense contributions and profound service, especially in the face of adversity. We must do what keeps us in integrity and continue our work. We’ve made a damned good beginning!
Your determination to keep going, often in the face of enormous obstacles . . . you taught me so much.
To my supporters, to my champions, to my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, because you never gave in, and you never gave up. Together we made history. . . .
And even in the darkest moments, that is what Americans have done: we have found the faith to keep going.
My mother was born before women could vote, my daughter got to vote for her mother for President. This is the story of America, of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.
So how do we give this country back to them? By following the example of a brave New Yorker, a woman who risked her life to bring slaves to freedom along the underground railroad.
On that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice:
‘If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If they’re shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop, keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.’
And even in the darkest moments. That is what Americans have done. We have found the faith to keep going.
—Hillary Rodham Clinton, August 26, 2008 Speech, Democratic National Convention
Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Politics, Presidential Election 2008 | Tagged: DNC, DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee, Hillary Clinton, Just say no deal, Keep going, Nobama, PUMA, Voter Reform | 178 Comments »