April 16, 2016
So long, Hillary Clinton
It's been a long relationship. During Bill's presidency, I marvelled at your poise and, ultimately, your staying power during those excruciatingly personal revelations about his sexploits with a White House intern, and others. I would probably have killed him for being such a jerk. I certainly wouldn't have stuck around, even for the sake of my political ambition.
I read Carl Bernstein's book (A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton) and learned about your early life: the law career; your beginnings with Bill; and the development of your shared and massive political ambition.
I've always admired you. To the extent that I bought the wrong T-shirt as I flew out of Washington in December 2007: yours, not that of Barack Obama, who, as it turned out, has been the coolest POTUS imaginable.
I admire you most for your tireless work for women's rights and women's health, both at home in the US and globally. This clip, from much later when you were Secretary of State in the Obama administration, illustrates the point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH9rC0MaBJc
All good things must come to an end, however. There is nothing I would like more than the United States to follow its first black president with its first female president. That would be such a huge political-historical moment. (It almost seems to be your destiny.) It's hard not to be rooting for that.
But along came Bernie. He's going to ban fracking. You, on the other hand, have accepted donations from fossil fuel companies. Bernie's spoken so carefully about empathetic 'faith', without all that must-have-religion bollox that American politicians have to wear on their sleeves. He finally won me over by shattering a taboo: that you cannot criticise Israel; and you must never mention the Palestinians' right to existence. I'm afraid you cannot talk about Israel's right to defend its borders – even if there are 1.2 million Jews in New York – without also considering the people who lost their nation in order to make those borders possible, and their plight ever since.
Bernie has made the right noises on the most important issues. I had to make a choice, even though I cannot vote. I have followed American elections for as long as I can remember. After all these years, and at what must be the final hurdle, you're not my choice. Even though you may well win the Democratic nomination.
The other night I went to listen to John Fenton from Wyoming. His home and his land and his life have been ruined by the effects of what you guys call coalbed methane. He spoke from a heart almost broken by a life plan slowly poisoned. Then he played us a clip of Bernie Sanders telling America it should ban fracking. John said he could never have imagined that an American politician, let alone a presidential candidate, would say that. Bernie's announcement brought hope to a community reduced to drinking bottled water trucked in from 100 miles away, their environment polluted by chemicals the gas company isn't obliged to identify.
He inspires hope, in fact, way beyond the USA. The hope that dogma-deluded politicians can and will be replaced by voices of reason on a planet in dire need of a survival management plan. In several countries there have recently been moves to escape the neoliberal bind of the last half-century: the Podemos party in Spain; Jeremy Corbyn in the UK; former Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis; Thomas Picketty at the Paris School of Economics. And now in the US, presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.
Come on, my American friends, take a chance, feel the Bern.