Sunday, February 03, 2008

Dear Hillary

Dear Hillary-

As you watch the poll numbers narrow between you and Barack, I know you and your staff are wondering what you can do to prevail in the primaries and start measuring for drapes in the White House.

I am a white woman, single, 54 years old and I don't have children any longer, thanks to George Bush's war & occupation in Iraq. I think some might consider me to be a strong Hillary demographic. I grew up back in the 70's where the idea of a woman president in these United States was a far away dream, but we held tight to our hopes that just maybe it might happen in our lifetime. Here we are in 2008 and we have a viable female candidate. By all accounts, Hillary, you are well qualified, you have experience & knowledge and you know how Washington works.

You are kind of likable and over the years, I have found myself defending you to people who just hate you and Bill. I don't understand this rabid hate that people express about you two. I say this because we've never met, but I did have an opportunity to meet your husband back in 2006. You couldn't meet a nicer guy. His charisma was undeniable and for those 5 minutes, at that political rally in California, my friend Nadia and I were the only 2 people in his world and that meant everything to us as we spoke about our sons who were killed in Iraq. I thought Bill was a very good president; not perfect- who is? but shoot, the economy was doing well and there was hope in this country and our world was pretty darned peaceful! There was so much optimism for our future, we had good relations with other countries and I miss those times.

Many people have said that this country must end the Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton dynasty. They say some voters have never had the opportunity to vote for anyone except a Bush or a Clinton. I don't have a problem with this so-called dynasty if those candidates are the right people for the job and who have the right platform. You might be the right "people" for the job, but you do not have the right platform for me.

I was watching one of those interminable campaign ads that have invaded California recently and you were speaking about ending the war in Iraq. I was struck with your supposed passion now for ending the war. You didn't always say that, but now you do say you wouldn't have voted for the war knowing what you know now. I hope it was because you really believe that the war should be ended, and not that poll numbers showed that 70% of the people in this country believe it's time to end the war- that Democratic number is 91% in California, by the way. I'm not convinced what is behind your change.

Let's get personal for a minute, Hillary; we're both moms and we both raised only children. Your daughter, Chelsea will be turning 28 in a few weeks. I imagine you will take a little break from all this campaigning and have a celebration. There will be presents and family & friends might gather together for this happy occasion. See, that's part of what bothers me about your stand on ending the war in Iraq because there are alot of families like mine, who will never celebrate a happy occasion with their loved ones again. My only child, Lt Ken Ballard was killed May 2004 in Iraq; he was due to come home when his tour of duty was extended in April 2004. Ken had survived 384 days in Iraq, but he didn't survive the 385th. Last year would have been my son's 30th birthday. That was a real hard day for me because, you know, turning 30 is a pretty big milestone in our lives. Ken's friends and families gathered again to celebrate his life cut short by the war in Iraq. We let 30 gold balloons go into the sky in hopes our messages of love would reach heaven where his soul surely lives now. I'm pretty sure those balloons got to heaven.

Imagine your life without Chelsea. Imagine that she volunteered to serve this country and that she was sent off to an illegal war by an administration that outright lied to gain support for their endless war. Imagine the betrayal that the families felt that the Bush administration took advantage of the patriotism of our children in sending them to fight an unwarranted war. So, Chelsea goes off to war, and I can't describe to you how your own life would change while she was in harms way, but then imagine that one day she comes home in a box covered with a flag; your precious child is dead. A few days later you would be handed that flag, now folded just so, with the words "on behalf of a grateful nation, and on behalf of the President of the United States....." If you try to imagine how your life would change without Chelsea, you can't; it is unimaginable. You would never even be close to imagining how many tears that one body can cry, the sleepless nights and the days when you just wish you could have your old life back. Nearly 4000 families live with this nightmare every day and we would not wish this journey of bereavement on anyone, even a politician who voted to authorize war.

I don't want to get all emotional about the war, even though it's no secret that that is where my heart is. I know that voters and especially the media have a hard time with emotions and tears or even pre-tears from a candidate. But tears don't bother me and I didn't have a problem with that interview in New Hampshire. Any working woman knows that look you gave and why you responded that way.

I know when Congress votes to consider these things, that body count isn't at the top of the list of why we should or should not invade a country. But, the human cost, the loss of nearly 4000 of our country's best and brightest, the devastating injuries of many more thousands and the effect on their families and their communities, the heartbreaking casualties of Iraqis and the damage to their country just really makes that hard to disregard, especially when our country wasn't threatened by Iraq. Since most people in our country are far removed from this war thanks to George Bush's policies where we see no photographs of caskets being returned, pay no increased taxes to pay for this war; at least not for our generation, we've got to do a better job of connecting the dots with the war and the economy, our foreign policy and pretty much everything that is wrong in this country right now. Costing more than $270 million a day, I think our money can be spent in better ways than continuing the war in Iraq.

When John Edwards dropped out of the race last week, that bummed me out. He was my man; he had the right message, the right platform for me. His consistancy in ending the war was unrivaled among the top 3 Democratic candidates. Maybe someday we'll know the real reason why he dropped out, but it's a moot point now.

Hillary, my choice did not come out of gender or race, or any endorsements; it all comes down to your stand on the war and any intentions this country might have towards Iran; dumb wars, is how I'll call them. A few months back there seemed to be more of a divide in yours and Barack's positions on ending the war Iraq, but now your platforms seem to be more similar. I just hope both of you mean what you say when you talk about ending the war. I'm not sure you do, because when we voted in 2006, I was pretty sure that you people in Washington got the message about ending the war. If you did, you didn't listen. So when it all comes down to it, on Tuesday, I will be voting for Barack Obama and as a woman, I am sorry that you aren't the candidate for me.

Hillary, I know you are a busy woman and I thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I just wanted you to know why this female is not voting for you in the California primary. I know I kind of rambled on and I could have summed it all up in 4 words, "It's the War, Stupid", but I just wanted to get this off my chest.

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