Sara Whitman

Historic Debate Tonight

Filed By Sara Whitman | January 31, 2008 8:33 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: African-American, Barack Obama, Democrats, Hillary Rodham Clinton, LGBT history, life changing, Super Tuesday, women

Someone reminded me today, tonight's debate is an historic event.

A woman and an African-American man will debate about who is best fit to be the next President of the United States.

Think about it. Unless the Democrats blunder big- and I mean they would have to blunder REALLY big- we will have one of them as President next year.

History will be made.

While I rage against injustices in this country- too many things to list in a single post- I have to admit, I am proud of our country.

I support Clinton. I believe she is a better candidate. But Obama is a great candidate, too. Each has their strengths, each their weaknesses.

I personally can't stop thinking about Shirley Chisholm. She ran for President in 1972, gathered 152 delegates. I remember watching her on television. I remember my mother saying Chisholm was the smartest one in the race... and that she could never win.

Shirley Chisholm was in a category of her own, sending a message "in spite of hopeless odds, demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo."

It is no longer about hopeless odds. The status quo has changed. I am sorry Ms. Chisholm is not alive to see this day. On August 10, 1970, Chisholm delivered an address on the Equal Rights Amendment, in it she said:

"The Constitution they wrote was designed to protect the rights of white, male citizens. As there were no black Founding Fathers, there were no founding mothers -- a great pity, on both counts. It is not too late to complete the work they left undone."


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beergoggles | January 31, 2008 9:36 PM

By the time the republican slime machine is done with either of them, we'll be lucky if they win. This is what makes me wish the Dem primaried had a lot more mud flinging - it'll help weed out the fittest in terms of handling the passage through the mud.

Clinton has too much baggage, and this country is still too racist to elect Obama. The same people who gave us 8 years of corptocracy under Bush, are going to prey on their weaknesses. They have the money, and for now, the guns.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | February 1, 2008 9:46 AM

Sara: I was set for (and fearing) a knock-down-drag-out debate between Hillary and Barak last night. I got a very good feeling when that did not happen. Unlike you, I am an Obama supporter, but at this point think that an Obama-Clinton or a Clinton-Obama ticket is closer to a possibility, maybe even a probability, that I would have thought just a few short days ago. So while I'll continue to cheer for Barak, I have less of a concern that the Democrats are going to go into the general election campaign with less than full unity. Contrast that to what appears to be shaping up on the Republican side.

Don, I totally agree.

I was so nervous before last night- I wanted them to come out after the Republicans and not each other.

They did.

I think Clinton did better with having meat behind her answers, but they were both engaging, articulate and smart. As I've said before, they are not very far apart.

I think we might be too sexist to elect a woman. I do not think we are too racist to elect an African-American man. The places we'd lose because of it, we'd lose regardless.

I think we might be too sexist to elect a woman. I do not think we are too racist to elect an African-American man

I completely agree with you, Sara. I worry about that too. I'd rather see Obama win, but at the same time, damn...

Michael Bedwell | February 1, 2008 5:20 PM

Just about the time my certification as Jaded Queen is renewed every year, someone comes along and proves I'm not jaded enough.

Right before the South Carolina Dem primary, one of the TV networks was showing the results of random interviews with locals about whom they were going to vote for.

The "stopped me in my tracks moment," was when a black man in a restaurant booth, maybe 30, said, in effect, he couldn't vote for Sen. Clinton because he didn't think a woman could deal with war, terrorists, whatever he was imagining.

If he'd said, "I'm voting for Obama because I believe another person of color can better represent me," I'd have had no problem. But it was totally about gender. And his apparent wife was sitting with him, and a grade school-age child whose apparent gender I don't remember, and I wondered what was going through their minds.

I fear that despite our more explicit recent racist history, the point is less that most Americans can now vote for a person of color than that they can vote for a MAN of color over a woman. After all, black men were given the right to vote 50 years before even white women were.

I saw only a few seconds of the debate last night, but as she did at Howard University when she said, "If HIV-AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34 there would be an outraged outcry in this country," Sen. Clinton caught this moment in History exactly when she said of the two of them, "Look at us," she said. "We are not more of the same. We will change this country."