In 2007, it looked to me like Hillary Clinton was going to be the Dem's Presidential nominee. It seemed like a lock. It seemed like a shoe-in. A no-brainer. And then, from seemingly out of nowhere everyone was talking about Barack Obama. I ignored the talk about Obama at first. I thought, how could ANYONE beat Hillary? That wasn't even POSSIBLE. And I blindly went along supporting Clinton in emails and with financial contributions. Then, about August of 2007, a very close friend of mine sat me down and explained why Barack Obama was the better candidate. I argued, "But he can't win. Hillary's got this locked up." My friend argued that this wasn't true and that, in fact, it was going to be easier to get a black male president elected than a white female (Clinton) elected. I mused on this. Over the course of the next few weeks, I started to pay attention to what Obama was saying and I liked it. I liked it a lot. I liked that during the HRC Open Roundtable (which was neither open nor a roundtable) on Gay Marriage that Obama said he related to the Gay Marriage illegaility because of miscegenation. He seemed to be talking a talk that he would walk. I switched camps, made calls, donated money and backed Barack Obama.
Flash forward 8 years. It's 2015. The primaries are ahead of us is just months. I've been saying for the past year, "Hillary has a lock on the nomination. It's hers. Who could beat her. Bernie who???" And while Hillary has been stomping through all the primary states and making herself look as liberal as she can, Sanders has been talking a talk that sounds surprisingly similar to what I heard 8 years ago. At least second hand. Like with Obama in the early months, I haven't paid much attention to Sanders yet. But these double-digit, tens of thousands of crowds he's been attracting and what I have been hearing about his stance on various issues like education, the military and healthcare is beginning to switch my focus from the supposed shoe-in Hillary to the Obama-esque Sanders.
I'm inclined to say, Hillary "deserves" to be President. I'm inclined to say, "It's Hillary's turn." But when the words come up from inside me they get stuck in my throat. Does anyone "deserve" to be President -- because they've been around Washington for so long (23 years+)? Is it her "turn?" By that account we could say it's Jeb's "turn" because his brother got his "turn" and now it's Jeb's. I don't believe that. The Presidency of the USA isn't something that we divvy up like marshmallows at a bonfire.
In 2004 when W. beat John Kerry and the limo carrying W. for the inauguration was televised driving down Pennsylvania Avenue, my daughter asked me, "Who's in that big car?" I said, "George W. Bush." She asked, "Where's John Kerry?" "In the stands," I said. "Why doesn't George W. Bush share the big car with John Kerry?" I said, "That'd be a really nice thing for him to do, but that's not how Presidents work in our country."
Hillary may think it's her turn. Her right, now, to be President. And there are probably 100,000s of women and men who support her in thinking this. But me, I'm leaning Sanders now - because in the end, just having waited around for long enough doesn't earn you the chair in the Oval Office. Not that she hasn't worked her ass off in the last 23+ years, but she just doesn't represent the needs of the people I believe need the most help in our country. She's too corporatized. She's too Clinton.
We took a leap with Obama. Let's continue that momentum with Sanders.