By Kristin Teigen of Portland, Oregon. Kristin describes herself as "a stay-at-home mother and an activist."
As a mother and an activist, I have been all about pushing for mother's voices to be heard in the political realm. Considering what it takes to be a parent and give your soul for The Cause, it can be difficult for mothers to do both. As a result, our voices are overlooked when it comes to formulating policy and programs, many of which affect families so deeply.
So, given my passion, it would make sense that I would be gung-ho for the first mother who has a serious shot at being the president, Hillary Clinton. But I just can't get there. While there is so much about her that's admirable, her stance on the war is one that I just can't seem to stomach.
I understand that the issue is more complicated than it seems. Yes, she voted for the initial authorization of force, which she has said she did with the understanding that Bush would pursue diplomatic means first to contend with the supposed weapons of mass destruction. I don't necessarily expect her to apologize for that. And I appreciate how vocal she's been against the war in recent months.
What I am frustrated with, and what I do expect an apology for, was her refusal to support Carl Levin's amendment to the initial authorization that demanded, in fact, that diplomatic means be taken first. I also expect her to either fess up or to apologize for the fact that she didn't adequately read intelligence data that could have shed light on the threat of WMD's. I would have certainly appreciated her assessment of the threat as I think she's far more intelligent than Bush. If she did not read the reports, she should admit it and tell us that as president, she will never let anything like that ever happen again.
Ironically, it may be because she's a mother that she has made such mistakes.
Perhaps she was trying just far too hard to avoid the stereotype about mothers being weak on foreign policy. Perhaps she was politicking. Perhaps if she hadn't let herself be pigeonholed, she could have viewed the situation with a bit more objectivity.
Now, I admit to threatening to chain my kids to the basement if they ever want to join the army, although if we were truly fighting a war to defend this nation and essential freedom (which I believe this war is not), I would be there right along with my sons.
I'm not yet willing to give up on her.
Perhaps Barack Obama didn't have to worry as much about seeming weak. Of course, John Edwards didn't have to worry about his vote at all -- it's easier to say what you would have done if you didn't actually have to make the hard decisions.
As with her husband, I may end up supporting her despite obvious flaws. We'll see if she's willing to face some hard truths about her work in the Senate. Isn't that what being strong is all about?
My mother would say it was.