If there was any doubt in my mind of whom I would vote for in the upcoming California primaries (there wasn't, I mailed in my vote a week ago) the answer came through loud and clear this morning.
I took, S. El Monte towards the highway, the same road that I've taken every morning to work for the past six months. Half awake I chanted monosyllabically with the German Language tapes in the CD player, and then I did a bad thing. I drove through, or rather into - an intersection. The traffic didn't move, the light turned red behind me and a portion of my car was left sticking out. I thought about backing up but saw that wasn't an option, besides it was too late. I crept as close as I could to the car in front of me and hoped that everyone could get by. They could get by, and they did. There was no honking or confusion as the cars turned left, one after the other.
I felt quite relieved, until the light turned green for those turning right onto El Monte Ave. There was one car, a sleek black suburban. It was the size of a hummer, but not a hummer. It pulled up tight and horned non-stop.
Horn horn! Horn! Horn!
In response to the horning I yawned, half a display of my boredom with their rage, and half out of sheer exhaustion from long commutes and the workweek.
The light turned green. It turned red just before the white striped crosswalk, where I stopped, and in my mirror observed a tan lady with lovely skin swagger up to my car like she thought she was a famous defense lawyer about to present her culminating evidence in a high profile case. From her proclivity to honking I quickly deduced she would be pounding on my window like she had a tick so I had might as well roll it down. I did. But I locked the doors.
I started to say - I'm so sorry - you know I am really exhausted today. I've never done that and certainly didn't do it on purpose - but I got as far as "I'm."
She, let me call her Ms. Spastic, yelled into the car, at me, standing on the side of the road in the thick gray morning with the mountains as our backdrop. A light mist of rain fell intermittently and the roads were colored dark with days of rain. She shouted, breaking down my heinous crimes into sound bites. First, she raved in a threatening undertone of the blatant illegality of blocking an intersection. Then, she accused me of a premeditated crime, of an act of riotous selfishness that is in her book, inexcusable and unforgivable. She yelled from a position of indignation, of shock, of I am so much better than you and could have your head on a platter, if I wanted. She funneled her moral superiority at me. Ms. Spastic knew she could judge my soul by this one terrible act, and judge she did.
Amidst her sentencing I found myself distracted - not by her nose, which was rather large yet somehow it worked, and was beautiful in an odd way. It was the button she wore on her shirt, which was large in its own right, that distracted me. She wore it in support of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Once Ms. Spastic finished expunging her morning's stress at me, a complete stranger in the middle of the road, she left. I had no chance to comment or even clear my throat. She knew she was right, she knew that I deserved to be put in my place, she exacted her lecture and thus went back to her gas guzzling tanker having performed her duty as royal nanny of road misdemeanors.
At first, I couldn't decide if I should get upset or get very upset. I got upset. Then, in my brief moment of anger the absurd nature of what had just happened jolted me with perfect clarity.
The Moment of Truth
I knew in that moment, that in this meeting between her and I, lay the fundamental difference between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and their distinct supporters.
Ms. Spastic, feels she is in a place of superiority. She feels she is in a place that allows her to judge others, to lash out at the world as she sees it. She is 50ish, old guard, established, embittered, and ready to wag her finger in others faces because she knows better. She drives her giant sleek car out of her nice suburban house and claims to know people because of her experience. For all of her experience, I doubt she understands working for minimum wage salary on the night shift just so you can eat. These are our concerns, we the people. And for all of Ms. Spastics high ideals - working for peace, for the end of the war, for healthcare, for children's healthcare, for women's rights, she ACTS differently. She lashes out, she shouts, she creates violence where none had been, and this evening she will cover it up with a political statement. She will play politics like a master chess player.
Yes, Ms. spastic is a Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter who will tell her husband over dinner about a miscreant she had to put in her place at the intersection of S. El Monte Ave. and Foothill Expy., because she was bad, and Ms. Spastic is good, and knows what's best for everyone.
Be the change you want to see
And that is exactly why I favor Obama. Because I think people deserve the benefit of the doubt. Because I believe if you want to see peace in your world, you must be the living example of peace in your life. I believe that if you want change, you better start working on yourself. And if you think you are so perfect you can play judge and jury then you aren't looking very hard. It was on this day at this intersection that I saw the difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Obama makes us believe in the better versions of ourselves that we are, that we can be. Obama, reminds us of what a great nation America is when we all come together, united for a good cause. Obama is a spark, a fire, he is passion and leadership and charisma.
Hillary is a well-meaning, intelligent and wonderful lady, but she comes from the America we knew before America ended - on that day where she- and a majority of the Senate voted for an unjust war.
America has died my friends and now she needs resurrecting. This requires new passion, new energy and new leadership. America desperately needs someone who will not only speak of peace and change, but who will defend peace and lead with a decisive hand towards positive change. The only one that can do that, is clearly Barack Obama.