Voting for Hillary

"I've changed my mind," my husband said the day our ballots came in the mail. "I thought I was going to vote for Obama, but now the press is acting like he's going to win and that bugs me. Who decides the elections in this country? The media or the people? The primaries should be held all on the same day so people have to decide for themselves and not just wait and follow what other people do. I like them both, but now I'm leaning toward the underdog. I think I'll vote for Clinton."

Until this week we've been a mixed marriage, a split family. Since the day she announced she was running for president, I've been planning to vote for Hillary Clinton and James has been planning to vote for Barack Obama. There are so many reasons I like her, some rational and some purely emotional. For one thing, I want a woman in the White House. 1868, African-American men had the right to vote in this country. Women of any color would have to wait until 1920 before they could legally vote. In effect, women have only been recognized as full citizens in America for 88 years. Portugal, Bolivia, Iceland, Norway, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Ireland and dozens of other countries have had women leaders. It's our turn in America. The time is now.

But the fact of her being female is irrelevant. I want Hillary Clinton to be president because she's the best person for the job.

She proved it Thursday night when, amid cheers and applause and hand-painted signs proclaiming "Kids For Hillary!" and "Oregon is Clinton Country!" Hillary Clinton burst on stage at the Jackson County Fairgrounds to talk about why Oregonians should vote for her. First she apologized for being late: "We were flying against the wind," she said, explaining that she started her day in West Virginia, stopped in South Dakota, then Ashland, before finally arriving in Central Point, where a crowd of more than 600 supporters waited to see her. "When you fly against the wind, you'll get there eventually."

Clinton belongs in the White House. She's tenacious, intelligent, experienced and ready for the job. I don't have anything against Obama. He reminds me of Bill Clinton: charismatic, optimistic, rallying youth to support him. But I think Hillary Clinton would be a better president and do a better job getting our country back on track. She was an excellent senator in New York, she does her homework and outlined a clear agenda for how to fix what's broken in Oregon, and, perhaps most importantly, she can beat John McCain.

Whoever manages to take the White House away from the two oilmen in power now is going to have a difficult task ahead. We have a faltering economy, we're in a misguided war, and the health care system in this country leaves millions uninsured. If Bill Clinton's presidency was categorized by peace and prosperity, the buzzwords of the Bush administration are war and economic failure. Bush has steered us into a virtual dead end and we need someone who's not afraid of the driver's seat and has the experience and the fight to get us out of it.

"People say all the time you're a fighter," Clinton said toward the end of her talk to an audience that was listening closely (and cheering loudly). "Well, this country is worth fighting for!"

If Obama were a woman the press would be criticizing him relentlessly for trying to become president when he has two small children at home. His daughters are the same age as mine, born in 1999 and 2001. As a parent with young children, I think he should stay home and care for his family, get more experience, mature a bit and run for president four years from now. In the meantime, I'm voting for Clinton.

is a freelance writer who lives in Ashland with her husband and three children. Her most recent book, "The Baby Bonding Book For Dads: Building a Closer Connection with Your New Baby," is about all the ways dads and babies can bond.

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