Janet Reno died yesterday, the day before an election in which (I hope) this country elects another fierce and courageous woman as our President.
Janet Reno was hated by right wing extremists, just as Hillary Clinton is. I love them both.
As the first female Attorney General, Reno had to be tough in order to survive. I don’t know her sexual orientation, but she walked like a dyke. It was just how she moved in the world, like a woman who refused to be dependent on men to protect her. She was fierce and courageous in her fight for justice,
She was vilified by the right for Waco and the disaster with the Branch Davidians on 4/19/93. Two years afterward, on April 19, 1995, right wing terrorist Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 people including 19 children at the Oklahoma City Federal Building. It was a planned act of revenge for Waco.
One thing people tend to forget about Waco, is that the FBI waited almost 2 months before trying to gain enter by using teargas. There were reports of children being abused by cult members. How the fires started has never been clear.
I wasn’t in Janet Reno’s head, but she must have been thinking of Jonestown and the People’s Temple, when over 900 people died in 1978. Another cult leader, Jim Jones, convinced most of the adults to commit suicide and to kill their children by giving them poisoned KoolAid to drink. That was the fear during the siege at Waco, that David Koresh would do what Jim Jones had done. And perhaps that is what he did, if the fires were set by the cult members and not ignited by tear gas canisters.
Reno had a tough decisions to make, but she was tough. She may have miscalculated as times, but she always took responsibility for her decisions and she always tried to do what was right. Her moral core was as solid as steel.
We lost a good one yesterday. I hope we elect another good one today.
I am wondering why there is so much outrage about the long lines to vote in Arizona from Sanders supporters while there is virtual silence about the long lines for the Democratic caucuses in Utah. Voter suppression is a terrible thing and we have seen it for a long time in many parts of the country and it almost always targeted at people of color. Working class people of any race can’t usually give up a half a day to stand in line to cast a ballot, so when lines are long only the more privileged among us can afford to vote. People with disabilities and the elderly also are more likely to just give up and go home than are the young, especially if they are both enthusiastic and able-bodied.
Sanders won Utah and lost Arizona.
I think he would have lost Arizona had there been no lines, and I also suspect he would not have won Utah with as high a margin if the process there was less arduous.
Clinton has routinely tended to do much better with both older and minority voters whereas Sanders strength is primarily with young white voters , quite arguably a population relatively able to wait out a long line to vote.
If we look at the demographics of the two states, the election results make a lot of sense. Utah has a very young population, because of their much higher than average birthrate, and it is a very white state. Arizona is much more diverse and is a well know retirement destination. These facts are reflected in their census data. *
Only 10% of Utah’s population is age 65+, while 16% of Arizona’s population is in that age group. The median age in 2010 was 34.2 for Arizona and 29.2 for Utah.
Utah is also one of the whitest states, with 80% of its population listed as non-Hispanic white. In Arizona that percentage is only 60%.
Given all of this, I am wondering why anyone thinks the results were somehow rigged. They are exactly what was expected. Please chill out. Vote for the candidate you like the best, but it is time to lose the conspiracy theories. They are frankly just silly. And, friends, please remember that they are both pretty red states anyway.
Sometimes you get to say just what you think….
Partisan politics was something I stayed far away from when I was serving a parish. Aside from the need to retain the congregation’s tax exempt status, it also just felt wrong to be telling people that looked up to me as their pastor how to vote. Ministers’s voices and opinions can carry a lot of weight with their congregants. I may be on the heavy side, but I don’t like throwing my weight around that way.
I am not serving a congregation currently, however.
If I serve as a parish minister again, I will again stay away from obviously partisan positions while still advocating for compassion and justice. Being anti-racist, for instance, should be something we all are working on; it is something our faith demands of us. Caring for the poor, the homeless, providing a healthy environment for our children and ourselves (which includes clean water and air) , welcoming the refugee, providing jobs that pay a living wage, should not be considered controversial among people of faith. Individuals and groups can disagree about methods and strategies, but the goal of all political parties should be to insure a decent, peaceful, free, and prosperous life for all of our citizens and ultimately, for all the people in the world.
I have said most of the above from the pulpit and will do so again when I get opportunities to preach.
Now, however, not having parish ties, I can say publicly that I think Hilary Clinton is the candidate that is most likely to move us forward at this particular time in history.
I like Clinton for some of the same reasons that other people heap criticisms on her head.
- She has changed her mind over time about a lot of things. All politicians do this. All people do this, at least they do if they aren’t fossilized. Changing opinions and positions doesn’t mean Clinton is dishonest, quite the opposite is true in fact. It means she is capable of listening and learning.
- She has strong convictions, but doesn’t seem to particularly self-righteous about them. Contrast this with Bernie Sanders or (shudder) Ted Cruz. Cruz is clearly a zealot, a true believer, and he is even scarier than Trump for that reason. I am not as sure that Sanders is a true zealot, but he sounds like one when he talks. Clinton doesn’t. There is some humility in evidence. Obama has some humility too, which has been refreshing and real. Only Clinton of the current candidates exhibits any humility at all. No one knows everything. It would be best to have a leader that understands that.
- She’s practical and willing to make some compromises. I think that is a good thing. Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good. Obama compromised on health care and we have something much better than we would have had otherwise – which was nothing. It is not perfect, single payer, medicare for all, would have been better, but it just wasn’t possible. Sanders now wants to throw it out and just start over. That is exactly what the Republicans want too. We could easily end up with nothing.
- She has the experience. She is in fact more qualified to be president than any other candidate in my memory. She has been part of the system and knows it well. I think that is a huge advantage and not an indictment as some seem to believe.
- She supports Obama and pledges to continue his policies. I love having Obama as our president. I love all that he has been able to accomplish despite the huge and racist opposition he has faced. I also love what Clinton has been able to accomplish despite the huge and sexist opposition she has faced. I think she will do even more as president.
- Obama, as our first African American president, just by being who he is, has done so much to enlarge the vision of what is possible for our young people, especially our young people of color. I’d like to see what a female president, just by being who she is, can do to enlarge the vision of what is possible for our young women, including our young women of color.
One last comment: the recent debates between Sanders and Clinton were what helped push me more firmly toward Clinton. Sanders repeatedly used his white male privilege during those debates, reacting grumpily every time Clinton interrupted him while arrogantly speaking over her many times. I do not remember any of that going on when Clinton debated Obama, perhaps because both were aware of and sensitive to the racial and gender dynamics of the situation. Sanders seems simply clueless of any such dynamic at all. We don’t need any more clueless leaders. We have plenty of Republicans to provide that perspective. The two photos above and below demonstrate what I am talking about. Clinton mainly uses open-handed gestures directed to the audience. Sanders mainly points and he directs many of his gestures toward Clinton. Body language speaks volumes. Someone should tell Sanders to clean up his act. Maybe he can learn and grow.