2016 ballot box America’s place to make judgment
During the past several weeks, our TV room has become the hub of evening life for our family, with two political conventions and now the summer Olympics. We have been entertained, informed, challenged and inspired.
Our household is comprised of our granddaughter, Demi Zoeller, 22, and her friends, as well as my husband, Don, and I, who are both in our 80s. It is a most lively combination, I assure you. We yell at the speakers on the tube, discuss our generationally different interpretations of the speaker’s words and cheer a lot. As you can imagine, the ‘women’s’ issues reflect differing ages and attitudes. It has been wonderful.
It is no secret that I have been an active member of the Democrat party since childhood. I know that I saw the convention activity through partisan eyes. The conventions are meant to send needed and desired messages to voters. Often the presenters will go a little overboard with their superlatives, both negative and positive. Thus, I was probably more aware in the Democrat convention of all the ‘can do and hopeful words of progress’ while finding the atmosphere of the Republican convention harsh and negative.
The first week of convention coverage I found depressing; the second week, I rediscovered hope for the future and reasons to get up and go. But how can I really be sure that I have interpreted these well-orchestrated presentations accurately?
I decided it would be best to just describe to you what I have witnessed in person. It was the spring presidential primary of 2008. Here in Southern Indiana, we had experienced rain, rain and more rain. I was on a small plane with Hillary Clinton and her staff. She asked me why I looked so sad. I had just spoken by phone to my Corydon friend Missi Bush-Sawtelle, who told me of the eight feet of muddy water in her home along Blue River and the disturbing news that even her mother, who had never had flood water in her home before, now was standing in a foot of it.
A couple of hours later, when we stopped for lunch, Hillary asked me to spell Missi’s name. She, Hillary, was writing a word of encouragement on a campaign sign she wanted me to take to Missi and her clean-up crew.
When I got back to Harrison County, the mess was worse than I had envisioned and I jumped in to help. Missi lined up her water-soaked friends with the sign, and a picture was taken for me to take back to Hillary. But, before I could accomplish this task, Hillary asked me how my friends at home were getting along. A month or so later, she asked me again. The woman had a lot on her mind, and it took great caring for her to take time to ask me about my friends’ problems.
Another time, Hillary and I were at a campaign stop in New Albany. It was one of her town hall meetings at the South Side Restaurant. The day was super hot and humid. Security had been beefed up, and barricades were set up about half a block from the restaurant. The people standing behind the blockade saw our car arrive and started chanting. As we got out of the car, Hillary asked me why they were blocked off and why so far away? They were the overflow from the dining room but I didn’t know why they were barricaded at a distance.
I will never forget, her words: ‘Well, I don’t like them being kept away.’ We entered the front door and had to weave our way through a mass of supporters who had been standing packed together in the heat. She told them we were running late but she would come back and talk to them after the program.
At the end of the town hall discussion, security personnel told us we were to leave by the back door, as it was unsafe to go through such a tight crowd. Hillary replied, ‘I told them I would be back to shake hands.’ The security team laid out their concerns, but she very kindly said she ‘had promised.’ We went back through that pressing throng of people, and she was true to her word, smiling and greeting them all one by one.
When we got outside, I was worn out but not Hillary. She charged back the half block down the street and shook hands with all the folks who had waited to greet her. She then left for a major speech in Louisville, and I went home to bed. This is the woman I know. I am so proud that the first woman to be a presidential candidate of a major party ticket is such a wonderful human being.
Make your judgment at the ballot box. I am aware that we may have differing philosophies and may view circumstances differently. That is America.