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To Vote or Not to Vote?

To vote or not to vote; that is the question. But how can I not? After all, women who fought for suffrage were jailed during the long struggle for this right, which finally arrived when the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1920.

It’s just that the corporate-crafted and owned candidates, Clinton, Obama, and McCain, don’t represent my values. Maybe, I should resort to the measure that many American voters used to select a president in 2000 and 2004–with whom, among the three, would I want to have a beer?

I am imaging the scene with Hillary. Over a brew, I might tell her that I once attended a “Women for Hillary” luncheon with a ticket paid for by a peace organization. At this event and after she’d said the word “support” at least 15 times, I stood, took off my jacket and exposed a photograph that was taped to my blouse–a picture of my nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, killed in Iraq in August of 2005. I began to shout, “Why do you continue to support this war that killed my nephew?” I yelled this over and over while handing out copies of the photograph to women sitting at tables as I moved closer and closer to the podium. Meanwhile, my two cohorts stood and unfurled a peace banner. Security removed the three of us. Hillary never looked my way.

On second thought, I wouldn’t remind her of that day. Because having a mug with Hill would be about my getting to know her, personally.

So, while raising a glass with her, I could say:

Tell me about yourself. I know you’ve said your faith helped you through those dark times when you, finally, realized you were just like Tammy Wynette, some little woman standing by her man, but be honest. Didn’t you really want to Lorena Bobbitt him? Fess up. This is girls’ night out.

And she might say:

No, I’m not a violent person. Yes, yes, I know I was for the war before I was against it and that during the recent State of the Union Address when President Bush said the surge is working, I stood and applauded. Okay, I also salivated, but, really, I love peace. My faith tells me to embrace peace. Really.

“Come on, Hill, you’re going all political on me. Have another beer and loosen up. I’m trying to get to know you and you’re bullshitting me.”

Then, she might let fall a tear or two or tell me she’s ready on day one, but at that point, I’d have to exit because Hillary is not my cup of tea.

So, next up, Barack. I can see the two of us, sitting at a bar where I would say, “No politics. I want to see the real you. What’s your favorite book?”

And he might answer:

That’s easy. It’s “The Audacity of Hope,” of course. Because hope is necessary for survival. It’s essential to humanity. I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington. I’m asking you to believe in yours. That’s called hope.

“Look, Barack, this is on your website. It’s a snippet from your stump speech. Come on, reveal yourself. Something personal, please. Like, what’s your favorite song?”

“It’s a Steven Curtis Chapman number, With Hope.” And, then, he’d croon:

We have this hope as an anchor ’cause we believe that everything God promised us is true, so … so we can cry with hope and say goodbye with hope We wait with hope and we ache with hope We hold on with hope. We let go with hope.

“Okay, okay, I get the picture. Look, Barack, I just remembered-I was supposed to meet someone.”

“Wait,” he’d implore. “I want to tell talk about change and my days as a community organizer, working in low-income neighborhoods.”

“Gotta go.”

On to John McCain where at a table for two, I might break the ice by telling him he looks like a teddy bear. I’d continue with: “And that’s why it’s hard for me to believe you were called “McNasty” by your high school peers.”

Proud of his legendary temper, he would say:

Look, my friend, I don’t have anger issues but I am a straight talker. Cindy will tell you that. It’s one of the things that attracted her to me, that and my hero status. I’m not tormented, my friend, nor am I in a rage because of those days as a POW in Nam where I was tortured. And speaking of that, I’m proud that I was for a ban on torture before I was against a ban on torture. It’s a testament to my flexibility at the age of 71. See, I’m not set in my ways.

“No, no, no. No politics. Tell me what you do for fun?” Baring his teeth and grinning, he might offer:

Well, sometimes, Cindy and I play US Naval Academy. She’s a plebe and I’m her instructor. It’s fun. We have a replica of the Herndon Monument at home. First, I command her to cover it with lard and, then, I order her to climb to the top. You should see her.

“Never mind, John. That’s a little too personal. Umm, what’s your favorite song?”

“Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.”

“Whoa, McNasty, you’re daft.”

“Yes, that, my friend, is exactly the plan when I’m president ­a draft.”

“You know, Pat Buchanan was right when he said you make Dick Cheney look like Gandhi.”

“Pat’s a straight shooter, too, my friend. Not as much as I am, but, uh, uh, what were we talking about?”

“Insanity. Look, I forgot to water my cactus.”

Then, I’d have to rush home and take a hot, soapy shower while considering the implications of a draft. This certainly would inspire more people to be involved in the reality of war’s toll on our military and on the Iraqis and Afghans. And it would put pressure on Congress. Finally, our Democratic members, those men and women who speak with forked tongues, saying they want to end the war while placing it not just on the back burner but completely off the stove, would have to keep the promise they made prior to the 2006 elections to bring our troops home.

But I could never pull the lever for McCrazy.

And, now, I’m contemplating an evening with Cynthia and Ralph.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com

 

 

 

 

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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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