So I was sitting there like an idiot watching the MTV debate this past Saturday. Amid all the blaring technical errors with the videocasts (were you there when MTV made Ron Paul sound like a robot?), the totally off "instant polls" (if they were accurate, they would have made the candidates truly uncomfortable like the thing intended to), and the wholly obnoxious reporters from and the Associated Press (I liked the kids' questions better than anything they said) -- I sat there, thinking. Up until this shitty waste of a political moment in the campaign, a tv show most people in the engaged, political stratosphere would deem inconsequential, I had no opinion. I was an uneducated voter at 23, watching an MTV special in the hopes that it would prepare me for voting in the primaries in three days.

I had done a little preparatory work, however. In my hands sat a huge binder with materials I put together: printouts of voting records, 'nonpartisan' collections of assorted information, and countless stanced articles, blogs, and reports from major media dated from the past half year. Eventually, the banter from the MTV debate reduced itself to a steady hum, and finally I could feel that I was starting to focus. Before I opened the binder, I tried to picture what the faces of our country might look like a year from now -- both president and vice president.

My gut whirred with exhilaration at the thought of a Hillary/Obama team, but my gut also told me that only one combination of the two would ever come to play: Hillary would never bottom...for anyone. Even after a thorough reading of all the materials in my binder (a reading that led me to agree with the same points Hillary's campaign emphasizes -- more experience [especially in foreign affairs], a more competent and convincing speaker/debater, a stronger connection with the players of this country), my gut was getting louder by the minute. If I thought that Hillary even had an ounce more quality as a candidate for either presidency or vice presidency, I needed to vote for her as president. And here's why:

My gut first started rumbling when I read Gloria Steinem's article from the New York Times back in January; she touched on the gender-oriented anxieties I have had for a long time about the election that I could not yet put into words. Our country may strive for equality on paper (if that), but we still live in both a white supremacist AND patriarchal society. Most sociologists and gender theorists would agree that both schemes of institutionalized marginalization are deeply embedded in many pockets of our country (and I would argue, most importantly, among the ruling groups with the most power). But my concern is this: When society sits back and thinks about the face of their country a year from now and who could effectively sit in the seat for vice president, Hillary's identity as a woman disempowers her far more than Obama's non-white racial status would if he were to sit as VP.

It's not politically correct to explore the race vs. gender game, but each identity status operates differently in different social spaces of our society, and the social space occupied by political candidacy cannot be ignored. If Hillary was VP next to a president Obama, she would be a lost face in the political and social landscape. She would be subject to the same hierarchy of gender that she has been fighting all along, a hierarchy where Obama's maleness pulses a fervent lead, leaving Hillary struggling for an appropriate gendered balance of fashion and rhetoric -- I'm inspired by her butch, commanding demeanor, but as VP she'd be silenced. Obama would face no such barrier whatsoever. If he were VP next to a president Clinton, I think he would be effective at changing our country for the better. I want both Obama and Clinton up there in the top seats of our country, but Clinton must be in the highest seat for both of them to have major influence as leaders and agents of change.

My thoughts about the election were interrupted by a loud commercial inbetween MTV shenanigans, but after the break it was Hillary's turn to speak to the youth of our country. She was eloquent, convincing, and seemed real. I felt similarly about Obama, albeit just slightly less convinced. But I knew that for a better society, it has to be Clinton. And I pray that Obama will take it like a man and be the VP. Clinton gets tested regularly, and I know she's safe.

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