Saturday, June 2, 2007

Another Reason I Will Not Be Supporting
Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton - the common wisdom says that you either love her or you hate her. I neither love her nor do I hate her. Yet I must agree with the late great Molly Ivins that I will not be supporting Hillary Clinton's campaign for president. Aside from all of the great reasons that Molly gives in her wonderful column, I have a new reason why Hillary has lost any chance of earning my support. Hillary Clinton has declined to attend "Prez on the Rez" an historic presidential forum that will be held on August 23, 2007 at the Morongo Band of Mission Indians Resort, Casino and Spa in California. The forum is not only an historic event - the first time that presidential candidates will meet with and address issues that matter most to Natives in this country, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to showcase so many of Senator Clinton's own concerns - health care, education, civil rights, etc... What reason did Mrs. Clinton give for not participating in this event? She won't be in California on that day - come on, that is as lame an excuse as I've ever heard. We all know that Hillary can be wherever she wants or needs to be whenever she wants or needs to be there.

This last week I moderated a panel at a conference that has been held annually for the last 20 years - the conference is called the Sovereignty Symposium and the title of the panel I moderated was "Native Peoples and the Media." The purpose of the panel was to present various ways in which Native people are using media to challenge stereotypes, promote tribal sovereignty, and increase their voices in the political arena. The first speaker was Chad Burris, a Chickasaw Indian, who has produced both a short film and a feature-length film that have both been screened at Sundance. Chad showed his short film "Goodnight Irene" (a low-key, moving film - if you ever have an opportunity to see it, do - you won't be sorry) that focuses on three generations of Seminole Indians waiting for medical care in an Indian Health Service hospital in Oklahoma. The film poignantly portrays a loss of culture while also emphasizing the sorry state of health care that is the reality for most Native people in this country. I whispered to Kalyn Free who was also on the panel that I wish Hillary Clinton could see this film and incorporate some of the needs highlighted in this film into her own health care plan.

Kalyn Free was the next presenter and she spoke about her organization INDN's List, the very same group that is hosting the "Prez on the Rez" event. She mentioned that Hillary Clinton has recently declined an invitation to attend and at the mention of Mrs. Clinton's name there were booes heard around the room. Unless Senator Clinton changes her mind and decides to participate in "Prez on the Rez," I predict that she will alienate most Native voters, and as proven in Montana, South Dakota, and New Mexico, Native voters can swing elections. As they organize more and more with the help of INDN's List, their political clout will only increase and they will be voting for someone. At this point, I doubt very seriously that those votes will be cast for Hillary Clinton.


Anonymous said...

I read Molly Ivins' article. Wow!I agree with her 100%. Is there no one in this nation that has the courage to stand up and just try to harness the desires of the majority of the people. Someone who isn't constantly weighing the future political ramifications of every word they say or philosophy they espouse. We badly need a leader, not just someone who wants to stay in Washington DC with the rest of the fat, rich, PAC financed and indebted crowd. The nation will just get more of the same political inaction unless the people demand that our "representatives" actually serve the majority's needs instead of their own re-election pandering.

RB said...

Sen. Hillary Clinton needs to attend Prez on the Rez!

In fact, everyone in America should be there!!!