wasnít as easy as Iíd hoped.
one of those folks who has a strong opinion about
everything Ė even things I donít know much about. So,
here I was, way past the first day of early voting, and
still hadnít decided on a Presidential candidate. It
made me highly uncomfortable. I was getting dizzy,
being for Hillary one day and Obama the next. I had to
make a decision.
an early John Edwards supporter and, in truth, still
am. There's no slack in his rope. I hope that
whoever wins this race makes him Attorney General
because it seems to me that he has the energy, ability,
and fight to clean up a judiciary mess thatís bigger
than kindergarteners with finger paints.
those of you whoíve been under the porch, there was a
Presidential debate in Austin last week. This was the
first time since Lyndon Johnson that Texas Democrats had
been taken seriously. I had a feeling that I would know
who I wanted to be President after I saw that particular
debate. I figured theyíd be speaking Texan Ė which is a
lot like English Ė and I would be able to make a
choice. I did speculate, however, that the choice would
be a lot clearer if I could see them in person during
Tickets to that sucker were sparser than cool summer
showers in Abilene. I ainít joking. Knowing somebody
who knows somebody wasnít enough; you had to actually
know somebody. And real well at that.
currently bedding down with a State Democratic Executive
Committee member. He got a ticket because of his SDEC
membership. I asked him for his ticket and sadly
discovered that after three sons, 38 years of marriage,
and learning to use a power drill, he really didnít like
me all that much. I cooked his favorite dinner, put on
my cutest bathrobe, hid his glasses so he couldnít see
all that well, sidled up to him and cooed, ďBaby, you
know how youíve already picked a candidate and I
havenít? Well, can I have your ticket to Ö.Ē Thatís as
far as I got before he yelled NO. Excessively loudly, I
Richie is the only person on this planet who knows what
I did to get a ticket. She ainít telling. Neither of
us are particularly proud of it, but a manís gotta do
what a manís gotta do and womanís gotta do the rest.
you attend an event in Austin, you park in San Marcus
and walk over. Bubba and I drove the two and half hours
to Austin and then spent another two hours walking to
the event, uphill. And then after the event, the
equator switches and itís back uphill to the car. It,
of course, was hot. Itís February in Austin, so the
sidewalks hadnít cooled down from July yet.
people who know I went to the debate ask me what goes on
behind the camera when youíre actually in the room. The
answer is: a lot.
Schneider, CNNís Senior Political Analyst, was roaming
the floor before the debate, talking to anybody who
wanted to chat. Bubba grabbed Schneider told him some
stories about another CNN analyst, Keli Goff, who was
born and raised right here in Fort Bend County and went
to the first Clinton Inauguration (while she was in high
school) with a fun crowd.
was a less-than-moderate amount of hugging and
thumbs-upping between Democrats, all of whom wanted each
other to know they were there and they were excited,
dammit. The UT band played and the President of UT
welcomed us. We all did the Hook ĎUm ritual which
probably seems a tad strange to people from foreign
states. Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie
made a speech, specifically mentioning that Democrats in
Tom DeLayís home county were outvoting Republicans 2 to
1. I stood and took a bow. Yes, I did.
question I get asked most is what do the candidates do
during commercial breaks? They go to the locker room.
Really. They quickly disappear offstage and only come
back seconds before it goes live. They both furiously
scribble on their tablets in front of them and the very
second it goes live, they both look up and grin.
not know what happens backstage.
will tell you this: during the first round of the
debate, Hillary was the hands-down dead solid winner.
She was dancing on Barackís head, and I started leaning
her direction. She called up the memory of Barbara
Jordan and Ann Richards, wisely leaving out Molly Ivins,
who didnít like Hillary none at all. Hillary was
poised, on point, and strong enough to tie a bow knot in
a horseshoe. During the first break, it was obvious
among the attendees that Hillary was going to take the
not know what box Barack Obama opened backstage during
the first commercial break, but it was obviously filled
with charisma tainted with smart. He came back with
twinkling power. It was stunning. Like any good
warrior, he pulled himself together, focused, and found
Hillary began to stumble. She got a hitch in her
gitalong. She was booed not once, but twice. Aside from
her advertisement for the xerox corporation, her
reference to the very popular State Senator Kirk Watson
getting whomped upside the head by Chris Matthews on
national teevee because he couldnít name specific Obama
accomplishments brought groans and a few gasps from the
Austin audience. It was a cheap shot against an
excellent fellow Democrat.
the second break, even strong Hillary supporters sitting
around me were concerned. Hillary seemed desperate and
so Iím leaning the other direction. These two
candidates ainít about to make this easy for me.
look to the crowd to see their reaction. From my
vantage point, I can see most of the room. My favorite
memory of the night is looking up into the grandstands,
where the State Democratic Executive Committee members
were sitting, and seeing the most beautiful face in all
of Texas and my favorite Democrat, Evelyn Burleson of
County, grinning. Right smack dab in the middle of the
crowd. Evelyn knows that these badlands will grow crops
again. Evelyn knows everything will change. Evelyn
canít say which Presidential candidate she supports
because sheís a county chair. To tell you the truth,
youíll never know which one Evelyn voted for because
sheíll support either one with more giddy-up than a John
Ford western picture show.
I look at the other side of the room, where the lucky
winners of 100 University of Texas tickets are. These
faces are almost as beautiful as Evelynís. They are
positively glowing. I know that The Daily Texan
endorsed Hillary, but those kids are obviously and
openly supporting Obama. For a few minutes I become
mesmerized by looking at them. I see myself forty years
is a tendency to think, ďOkay, but Iím older and
therefore smarter and wiser now, so I should support a
known factor. Like me 40 years ago, their youthful
optimism will be banished by another Nixon and they,
too, will become practical and just a tad cynical.Ē We
know Hillaryís strengths and her weaknesses. We know
what she will do and what she canít do. The only place
for hope with Hillary is that we hope she wonít mess up
health care, gays in the military, and the choice for
attorney general like she did right off the bat the last
time she was in the White House.
There, in a simple paragraph, is where I made up my
mind. Here, right in the middle of the debate, my
choice is clear.
want my Momma to see a woman in the White House, dammit,
and Momma is 82 years old. Momma carefully explained to
me when I was a child that it was important to pay your
poll tax, even if you had to go without eating, because
voting was your duty. I know that Momma deserves to see
a woman in the White House. But Momma raised a
sassy girl who cares about her world, and even through
Nixon and double Bushes, that girl retains her sense of
hope for renewal.
Thatís why Iím voting for Barack Obama.
generation fought Ė and a few of us even died Ė for the
18 year old vote. Then we whined when they didnít use
it. Iíll be damned if Iíll whine when they do.
choose hope for the promise of a better world over hope
of not messing up. I choose passing the torch. I
choose everything Bill Clinton asked us to do 16 years
ago Ė believe in hope, trust in renewal, embrace high
expectations, and build a bridge into this century. I
also choose my own face 40 years ago. I choose Barack
will understand, and will just have to live to be 90.
However, I do hope Barack Obama puts Hillary Clinton on
the Supreme Court. Momma and I both would like
that. A lot.