Voting with feeling

Throughout history, various leaders of nations have had a mystique about them that has lead the people to either stand at attention or rebel. Consider Queen Elizabeth, the virgin queen. She led the country with a vigor, and she was portrayed as being almost sterile but full of life and hope. She gave people optimism until she did not care enough about their feelings.

In understanding the election, it's important to consider the role the president plays in directing our emotions. How will the president be perceived by the people, the heart of the country? How will the president be perceived abroad?

While economists can provide figures, directing the president's decision-making process, the president's role is really to negotiate power and emotion.

How will a woman president be perceived? Considering Clinton's past with her husband as a strong woman who stood by him even when he had an affair, a fact which the whole country knows, will the people see her as stable, able to forgive? Probably.

How will the country see Obama, who has stood up for the poor and cares for the individual? Certainly Obama's intentions have had less press. And who knows how many people have read his book? On a recent afternoon at my local library in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in San Francisco, two copies of his book, The Audacity of Hope, were still on the shelf. However intellectuals choose to judge him, for the people he still represents an image of hope. In the context of 9/11, he also represents to the world open-mindedness, that we Americans would embrace the "other."

The real question is, how will the people feel? Yes, a woman will make women in America feel empowered. A magazine article I read recently was giving direction about the color coat she should wear for MLK's birthday service, a regal plum. Ironic? Is she supposed to look like a queen? It is not always empowering to be told what to do, unless it is good advice. She represents a vision that women are equal, level headed, and able to raise beautiful and strong children.

But let us not highlight difference. Let us really examine their intentions, their character, and the possibility their being evokes. Even as a woman, I am inspired by Obama's story, his background, and his vision. And because of that, I feel empowered.

Tags: 9/11, character, clinton, democracy, emotions, feminism, history, hope, intuition, obama, The Audacity of Hope, virility, Vogue (all tags)


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