Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Why I'm Voting Hillary
I know there'll be no time in my schedule to write this tomorrow. Crazy day with many many things to take care of before the NJOP dinner. But in about 7 hours I will be walking down to the Holy Rood Church on 179th street and pulling the level of freedom. Tomorrow, I will be voting in person for the first time in 10 years. Since I've been 18 I moved to New York for college and regrettably haven't moved back. I retained my California voting eligibility and have voted absentee ever since. Why you may ask? Well, my Congressman in the 46th district of California is in my eyes a pretty huge anti-semite, so I like to stick it to him every two years when he's up for re-election. You know those Israel bills in Congress that are voted in favor of by 430 members of the House, and against by 5. Yeah, hes one of the 5. But this year, someone I am very passionate about is running for President and I wanted to physically walk into my neighborhood polling station and give her a shout out. I'm of course talking about Hillary Clinton.
I know, I know. You hate her. I'm aware of that. Have you ever met her? Sat down and had a conversation? Well I have. And I can honestly say I haven't been more impressed by someone in my life. I've met other politicians before. But when you are in the room with her, you know she is taking in what you have to say, thinks about it and gives you a solid, honest answer. Theres a story I want to share with you. My buddy Sari was a political machine while in Stern College. She organized a huge Rally to DC. She was my roommate when we did the OU internship in DC. She volunteered for the mayoral campaign (not for Giuliani). She called one night and asked if I wanted to volunteer at an intimate Hillary event. We got to a restaurant on the Upper East Side and helped out at an event for about 100 people. Afterward they asked if one of us could accompany the team to a small after party at a donor's home. Little did I know this was for only about 20 people in a gorgeous UES penthouse (overlooking the park). I went since Sari had plans later that night. Hillary arrived and was introduced to everyone. Including this horrible host lady's servants (who BTW she was incredibly kind to, even while weirded out that this lady had servants in her home). After working the room and spending a great deal of time speaking to everyone individually, including myself, she announced that she had to leave, she was on the red eye to Israel that evening. What you are about to read is possibly the biggest regret of my life. Are you ready? Okay, here goes... Hillary was saying her goodbyes to everyone. I got the idea that I really wanted to give her shliach mitzvah gelt. When someone is travelling, especially to Israel, some people have the custom to give that person some tzedakah, money to give to charity when they arrive, thereby making them a part of my mitzvah and essentially helping ensure a safe trip as your shliach, your messenger to deliver the tzedakah. Whether that is the true definition I don't know, but that is how I view it. I wanted to do this because A) I always try to give someone going to the Holy Land, and B) I knew Hillary would sincerely be touched by my proposition. Although, I was a little scared someone would shout a picture of me slipping money to my Senator. Especially with all the heat in '01 about soft money. But alas, as she worked her way through the room towards me, I became totally starstruck. She remembered my name (from hours earlier) and all I could squeek out was "I really admire you and your daughter". At least thats all I can remember. If I had a list of 10 do-overs in my life, this would be one of them. What a cool story that would be.
I'm not going to tell you to vote for Hillary just because I am. I'm not going to tell you to vote for her because there won't be another viable female candidate for at least another 20 years (when I plan to start running for office). I'm not going to tell you to vote for her because we would get to have my favorite former President again living in the White House. I'm going to tell you to vote for her because she is the right candidate. I am a strong believer in voting for the person with the best experience and the person who can lead this country in the right direction. Those are the two qualities I find most important in a President and shes number one on my list (because Al Gore isn't running, otherwise she might be number 2). We have been going downhill ever since Bush's dad's Supreme Court gave him the White House. We need to take this country back and move it in the right direction. And Hillary's the girl who will get us there. The odds are in favor of Obama taking the nomination but I'm not ready to jump on that bandwagon and throw him my vote. I believe in Hillary Clinton.
I just got back from voting. It was really hard. I didn't know what to do. I had to ask the poll watcher for help. I did learn something though. You know how candidates that have already dropped out of the race end up getting 1% of the vote...its cause they are still on the ballot. People probably see that and go, hmmm Bill Richardson, I thought he dropped out, but hey hes still on here so I must be mistaken. Also, WTF are all those other names doing on the ballot? I swear there were like 100 names on there. I thought this was just the presidential primary...there should be like 6 names on the darn board. Do we really have to have the names of everyone who endorsed the various candidates listed on the ballot as well? How confusing. I consider myself a pretty intelligent person, and frankly I was kind of embarrassed at how much trouble I had understanding this process. Plus, I was DYING to get one of those "I VOTED" stickers and they totally weren't giving them out. Sooooo sad!
As I left my polling station I began to tear up. I didn't think this would make me so emotional but it did. This is democracy in action people. Not taking advantage of this incredible gift is one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make. Rock the Vote people!!! And remember, Friends don't let friends Vote Republican!