Meeting Hillary Clinton

Sunday evening, while watching our local news channel, I learned that Secretary Hillary Clinton would be visiting a restaurant the next morning that was only about 20 minutes from my home. I turned to Honey and suggested he stop by on his way to work, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go myself.

I saw Mrs. Clinton in my area in 2008 when she was competing with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. We stood in line forever before going through intense security, then stood for an even longer period as we listened to introductory speeches from local politicians before finally getting to see Hillary give her stump speech. After she finished and made her way along the front of the crowd, I got close to her, but not close enough to shake her hand or do much more than call her name along with the throng of people around me.

Monday morning’s experience proved to be much more personal.

Honey and I arrived at the restaurant about an hour before she was scheduled to appear, and the parking lot was already filled to capacity, with cars beginning to park in the lots of neighboring businesses. We entered the restaurant to find it was already standing room only, and decided to hang out near the main entrance so we would be guaranteed close proximity to her when she arrived.

Secret Service agents soon appeared and announced that this last-minute stop hadn’t provided them with the time to make proper security preparations, so they would be checking people with metal detectors in order to keep Mrs. Clinton safe. After putting officers in front of the exits to block anyone else from entering, they began wanding the inside occupants.

Several minutes later, we were instructed to move away from the door and stand in the aisles between the restaurant tables. We grumbled aloud, thinking we were going to miss our chance at getting a handshake. Around 45 minutes after her scheduled appearance, Mrs. Clinton walked into the building.

After greeting the restaurant owner and posing for a photo with him, she greeted the crowd and gave a very short speech. She then said she would be greeting everyone. We were ecstatic!

She worked her way through the crowd, laughing and posing for photos, all the while surrounded by national press and security. She was extremely personable, and also much shorter than one would think. She was wearing a pink pantsuit with a scarf tucked into the neckline, and I would describe her as downright grandmotherly. In a cute way, of course.

When she finally got close enough for us to talk to her, Honey introduced himself and then me as his partner of 11 years. She was delighted. He asked if she would pose for a photo with both of us, and as we positioned ourselves, she said she loved the Hillary signature pin I had attached to my jacket. I handed my camera to Alison Grimes (!) who had accompanied Mrs. Clinton on her visit, and we posed for a couple of photos.

Hillary was beginning to move to the next guests when Honey stuck his phone into the air to get a selfie with her in the background, and she unexpectedly leaned in for a few more photos. After he told her he was honored to meet her, and I told her to stay strong, we moved out of the way to make room for other people.

It was only when we got into the car to drive away that it sort of sunk in how incredible the whole thing was. I know a lot of people despise Hillary Clinton, but regardless of what you think of her political views or personal history, this is a woman who was the wife of a very popular governor, First Lady of the United States for two terms, senator from New York for 8 years, and Secretary of State under President Obama. She is one of the most recognizable and powerful women in the world, and I feel very fortunate to have had the pleasure of meeting the person I hope will become the next President of the United States.

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Live blogging the election

I’ve always wanted to do this, so here goes. I’m going to keep at it until we have a result or I have to go to bed – whichever comes first. Hit your refresh button for the latest.

5:20 – I’ve had a shower, put on my pajamas, and I’m fixing a gallon of iced tea while watching election coverage on MSNBC. This is better than reality television. Let the games begin!

5:25 – Just wanted to share one of the most compelling and moving political photos that I’ve seen today, which was taken during a campaign event that Barack Obama held yesterday in Charlotte, NC. This was as he shared comments about his grandmother, who had just passed away hours earlier. So sad, but it’s refreshing to see the human side of a candidate every once in a while.

Barack Obama

5:30Drudge says Obama is winning big; up +15 in Pennsylvania. Let’s hope this is just the beginning of a stellar evening!

5:40 – It gave me a great sense of satisfaction to watch Obama cast his vote early this morning. My coworkers and I gathered around the set to watch as he calmly interacted with his family and then received applause before leaving the polling place. As a Caucasian, it’s hard for me to comprehend what an overwhelming sense of pride he must have felt to be able to cast a presidential vote for a person of color, but I could almost feel it in my bones. I certainly felt a sense of excitement all day that this election will not only change history, but also how the different races in this country interact with one another.

5:45 – Some of Kentucky’s polls closed a few minutes ago and with 1% of the vote in, JM is ahead 68-31%. Ugh. I knew this state would go red, but I hope it turns out a little closer than this.

5:50 – I received a joke text message from someone today that said due to long lines at the polls, Democrats should wait until tomorrow to vote. I replied with “Dems aren’t as gullible as retardicans!” Snicker, snicker.

5:56 – Looks like Elizabeth Dole is going to bite the dust, which means it’s the first time since 1952 that neither a Bush or a Dole is holding elected office. Do you hear that collective “Whew!” reverberating across the country?

6:00 – They just projected KY for McCain and Vermont for Obama.

6:01 – I’m very curious about the results of anti-gay measures like Proposition 8 in California and Amendment 2 in Florida.

6:06 – Still too close to call the race between Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell and Bruce Lunsford. I hope after 24 years, we can get rid of Mitch.

6:12 – Here’s raw video of Black Panthers intimidating voters in Philadephia. Police were soon called to remove them from the entrance of the polling place. Idiots.

6:20 – I’ve switched to CNN. Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews get on my nerves.

6:23 – Read what one of the coolest people on the planet did with their vote today.

6:25 – These early election results are killing me! My fingernails aren’t going to last long at this rate.

6:30 – It’s ironic that I upgraded my satellite programming last night so that I’d have more news channels to watch, but I’m still watching CNN.

6:34 – Have I seriously already been doing this over an hour?

6:37 – These pundits are scaring me. Apparently Obama isn’t performing as strongly as previously expected, but it’s still really early.

6:41 – Let’s check out the enemy… Fox News Channel. This should be interesting.

6:42 – FNC just called West Virginia for JM. Argh.

6:49 – Back to MSNBC. FNC wasn’t nearly as enraging as I’d imagined.

7:00 – Via MSNBC: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, District of Columbia for Obama!!!

7:13 – Howard Dean makes my eyes and head hurt.

7:28 – Seventy percent of WordPress users would choose Barack Obama as president in an ongoing poll, which includes participants from all over the world.

7:33 – Shocking news… Alabama for JM. Whodathunkit?

7:39 – I can’t help but wonder how this night might be going if Hillary had been the Democratic nominee. Would she be doing better or worse than Obama against John McCain?

7:45 – I keep seeing footage of the thousands of BO supporters gathered in Chicago for the victory rally. I sooooo wish I were there.

7:54 – Why does any news channel (cough*MSNBC*cough) care what that evil, scheming Tom Delay thinks?

8:01 – Via MSNBC: New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Rhode Island for Obama!!

8:20 – McConnell is projected to squeak out a win in KY.

8:22 – Ohio for Obama!!!

8:32 – New Mexico for Obama. He just hit 200 electoral votes. Only 70 to go!

8:45 – According to MSNBC, there is no way for McCain to win at this point. Barack will exceed 270 electoral votes with the remaining blue states alone!

9:02 – I wish they would call Florida already!

9:09 – John Rich is performing at McCain headquarters. LMAO.

9:26 – I’ve gotten so used to being disappointed on election night that I’m a little scared to let myself go and enjoy the moment. The networks still haven’t officially called the election for BO, but you can tell that they know it’s over. They keep showing the growing celebratory crowds in NY and Chicago and talking about the implications of Obama’s win.

9:53 – FNC just called Virginia for Obama, only the second time the state has went blue in 50 years.

10:00 – MSNBC just projected Barack Obama as president of the United States!! We made history, boys and girls! I started this evening with a picture of a tearful BO, so I want to end with one of him smiling. Good night, everybody!!

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Is being a socialist really so terrible?

Accusations have been flying around over the last few weeks about Obama being a socialist. John McCain repeatedly points out that Obama wants to “spread the wealth around” and take from the rich to give to the poor – more hysterics from a party desperate to win against nearly impossible odds. While I find it hard to believe that Barack Obama will be some modern day reincarnation of Robin Hood, I also don’t see why the American public is so repulsed by the very mention of socialism.

Our way of life is virtually teeming with socialistic programs that we all benefit from. Our much-lampooned tax system provides everything from schools for our children to attend to roads for our vehicles to drive on. Our tax dollars feed hungry children and adults, provide incomes for the elderly and handicapped, and health care for the poor and aged.

A closer look at the New Testament reveals a Christ who might well have been labeled a socialist if he were still on earth today. After all, he admonished the rich to sell their belongings and give the money to the poor. He stated that the poor were blessed and would receive the kingdom of God. He advocated forgiving our debtors and giving to beggars. Try to imagine the political fallout if Mr. Obama were running on such a radical platform!

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

– Matthew 25:34-36

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

– Acts 4:32-35

However wrong or right the socialism accusations against Obama may be, at least he seems to care more about the “least of these” than any other politician in recent memory. It’s hard to find any fault in that.

A lunchtime lesson on politics

I had lunch with my mother, sister, grandmother, niece, and baby nephew today. It was the first time I had seen my mother or grandmother is over four months, but we all pretended as if nothing had ever happened and had a good time visiting. We were celebrating Grandmama’s 73rd birthday – a month late because she was out of town visiting her sister on the actual anniversary of her birth.

The thing that most impressed me about our conversation today was their lack of interest in John McCain. Neither my mother or sister had ever voted for president before 2004. That was the year my state put a gay marriage ban on the ballot – something that brought conservatives (including Mom and Sis) out in droves – and they pulled the lever for Bush while they were at it.

This time seems alot different. Not only is there no major “moral” issue for them to vote on directly, they think McCain really isn’t worth rooting for. Each candidate’s position on the issues has taken a back seat to immediate problems, like the price of groceries and gasoline.

My sister did inform me that many of her friends hadn’t even intended to vote until Palin joined the ticket, but she still wasn’t buying into the gimmick. She believes McCain is only pretending to be conservative on the issues so he can get elected.

Mom surprised me when she said she would have preferred Hillary Clinton to either of the two choices before us. I agreed completely, but steered the conversation towards Obama. That’s when I heard many of the same worries that I’ve been hearing for months from other locals. That Obama is an undercover Muslim. That he’s lying about being a Christian. That he is working for some terrorist network to take over our country from the inside.

It seems this level of discontent and discomfort with the nominees is leading many of my aquaintances to sit this election out. A coworker who normally votes Democrat doesn’t want McCain to win, but doesn’t feel motivated to vote for Obama. My partner has been expressing the same feelings. Myself, I’m down to the whole “voting for the lesser of two evils” thing. I don’t think Obama or McCain can improve our situation – I’m just counting on Obama not making anything worse.

You’re hired

I’ve went back and forth several times during this campaign cycle. I’ve supported John Edwards and Ron Paul, but I remember being excited many months ago when I heard that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be running for president. Wow! A female president? Lord knows that males have been screwing it up for long enough that maybe it was time to let the other gender give it a try.

That infatuation quickly subsided as Mrs. Clinton was portrayed by the media as a polished politician who was part of the Washington establishment that we’ve all come to loathe. It got to the point where it just didn’t seem cool to support her – after all, most of Hollywood and the music industry were jumping up and down about a young senator from Illinois.

Try as I might, I just couldn’t figure out what all the hoopla was about, but I figured if John Edwards, Oprah, and Nicole Richie were supporting Obama, then I would be really stupid not to join in. I tried to look beyond the questions that I had about Barack – his history and his lack of experience – and I even got to the point that I began wishing that Clinton would drop out so that we could finally settle on a nominee – something the Republicans seemed to have no problem doing.

All of that changed today.

Senator Hillary Clinton stopped by our little town to convince the hundreds of people gathered that she is the best choice we can make when we vote in our primary this Tuesday. I didn’t go with high expectations, realizing that I was still undecided about which Democrat I would be choosing when I entered the voting booth. I just figured that it would be silly not to go hear what she had to say, especially given the fact that most politicians don’t even know that my town exists.

After waiting in a line that stretched almost halfway around the block, going through a security checkpoint that would rival that of any airport, and securing a spot just a few yards from the podium, we were greeted by the former First Lady. I was impressed with her demeanor, her words, and her humanity. She didn’t seem at all like the evil woman that she is often portrayed as online and by the mainstream media. She was humble, eloquent, and she seemed genuinely concerned about the welfare of millions of hard-working Americans.

She made a hilarious comparison between politics are cars, saying that when you’re driving and you want to go forward, you choose a “D”; when you want to go backwards, you choose an “R.” She talked about the importance of health insurance for everyone, lessening our dependence on foreign oil, bringing the troops home, and improving the economy.

The thing that really made me think was when she said that we should view this election as a hiring process. Which candidate did we think was the most qualified to perform the tasks that are needed to get this country back on track? That’s a no-brainer.

Obama might be idealistic, likable, and a great public speaker, but Clinton has the experience. She was a governor’s wife, she served as First Lady during eight years of peace and prosperity, and she’s a multi-term senator. Her husband took a country with record debt and gave it a record surplus. Sure, the Clintons aren’t perfect, but I do believe they know how to lead a country.

So, on Tuesday, I’ll be casting my vote to hire Hillary for the job. Then I’ll head home and wait for the press to point out how poor, white, and uneducated Kentuckians are voting for the “uncool” candidate.