Wednesday, February 06, 2008
An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton
I sat watching the primary returns last night with my 11-year-old. He had tucked a blanket over his lap and stretched his legs along the couch as we watched CNN.
Mike Huckabee won Arkansas.
"Will he stop the war?" my 11-year-old asked.
"No," I said quietly.
John McCain won Illinois.
"Will he stop the war?" the question came again.
"No, honey," I replied, feeling the weight of the question.
Next Hillary Clinton won Tennessee and New York and Massachusetts.
"Will she stop the war?" he asked.
And I felt unbearably sad. She voted for this unnecessary war. Most recently she supported President Bush's saber-rattling toward Iran. Would she bring home our troops?
"No, I haven't heard her say she'll stop the war."
Barack Obama won Georgia and Illinois.
"Will he stop the war?" my son asked.
"Yes, I think so," I said, the words of his speech "Yes We Can" ringing in my head.
My son was asking the most important question of our day. Stop the war. Bring home the troops who are dying across the ocean for a war that should never have begun.
But he wasn't only worried about them. He was worried about himself, knowing that whoever is elected this year, might be re-elected again in 2012. And that president might get to make the decision whether U.S. troops should be sent to fight. That president might decide to reinstate the draft, scooping up boys who never thought they'd serve in the military and that might include my 11-year-old. The quiet boy with glasses who wouldn't play football a second season because he didn't like hitting people. (His siblings are exempt from this feeling.)
So I'm asking you, Hillary Clinton, if you get the democratic nomination and then win the general election, will you promise? Will you promise to stop the war? Will you promise to bring home our troops? Will you promise that anytime you consider sending our army to fight a war that you will first reflect on -- 'Is this fight worth my daughter's life? Would I be willing to send Chelsea first to battle this war?'
And if the answer is yes, you would give your daughter's life to save the slaughtered Jews in Hitler's Germany, or the Muslims and Albanians who were being exterminated in Kosovo, then send my son too.
But if you think a war would mostly benefit your wallet and the wallet of your friends. Or if you think a war might boost up the U.S. economy or settle an old grudge, and you wouldn't be willing to let Chelsea die for it, then don't send my son or anyone else's child. Promise?
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