Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jamie Maffeo: Here's a Little R-E-S-P-E-C-T

This week, award-winning Writopia writer, Jamie Maffeo, 15, shared her thoughts on Hilary Clinton's role in the upcoming Democratic National Convention on the popular blog, Girl w/Pen. Jamie developed this piece in a Writopia workshop with author and popular blogger Deborah Siegel. Deborah was so impressed by her workshop participants that she invited them to post their pieces on her blog. Congrats to you all! (Jamie's piece below)

Hail to the Runner-Up!

By Jamie Maffeo

In a recent writing workshop when Debbie asked me to write down three things, no matter how minor or grand, that I would like to change, only one thing came to mind. With each tap of my pencil I came to the realization that it was the only significant matter I wanted to write down. Quickly I wrote, “I would like to change the fact that Barack Obama became the presumptive democratic nominee-I wish Hillary Clinton had won instead.”

Over the past months I have become enraptured with Hillary Clinton’s intelligence, experience, and ability to continue fighting even with the bellicose nature of the press coverage. Not only was the press treating Barack Obama with obvious delicacy but they were also treating Hillary Clinton appallingly. For example, whereas Hillary Clinton was harshly criticized for showing emotion at a press conference, Barack Obama came out smelling like a rose after using the same words that Massachusetts Governor Patrick Deval used in one of his speeches as if they were his own. Regardless of what I saw as the clear press bias towards Obama, I was not and am not captivated by his empty speeches no matter how grandiloquent.

Many of my friends, however, were. After watching late night primaries, caucuses and debates I began to voice my opinion in school. I had never been as interested in politics and former elections as I was now: getting into arguments with close friends and shouting out in history class. I was tired of hearing the same mantras:

“But Obama wants change.”
“I’m sick of the Clintons.”
“Hillary has no personality.”

I would return their attacks with equal aggression saying, “Yes I get that Obama wants change but how is he going to make change? All of his speeches were bombastic and eloquent but they had no substance to them!” I would continue, wistfully, “She is just so intelligent. She has so much more experience then Obama. I just wish Obama had waited until 2012 or 2016 to run.”

I would emphasize the issues. I agreed with her universal health care plan. Hillary wanted to stop health care providers from turning away clients due to pre-existing conditions. She wanted mental illness to be covered. I also liked her plan to solve health care problems by starting now as a senator and not waiting until 2009. Hillary had great ideas about fighting global warming by using cars that run on fuel cells, bio fuels, and electricity. She wanted cars to get more mileage to the gallon then ever before so that the cost of driving will diminish. To conserve energy Hillary wanted buildings to be constructed that are more energy efficient. How can you argue with that?

Hillary talks facts and her solutions are realistic. She has had the motivation and dedication and after Obama became the presumptive democratic nominee I felt somewhat cheated as her supporter, wishing the press had been more just. With Hillary no longer in the race, my interest waned and I began to only casually glimpse at newspaper articles here and there. Slowly my day-to-day Obama versus Hillary arguments died down as the race turned to Obama versus McCain.

Now, days away from the August 26th National Democratic Convention, I’m getting excited again, because Hillary Clinton will speak at the convention.

I look forward to a count at the convention and am thrilled that Hillary Clinton’s name will be put on the ballot. A delegate count will give Hillary’s delegates the opportunity to cast their vote for this outstanding woman and will give me, a young Hillary supporter who cannot yet vote, the chance to honor my presumptive candidate with some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

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