STORY BY KAMEISHA JERAE HODGE.
For their presidential campaigns, eight democratic candidates (senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Dennis Kucinich, Christopher Dodd, and Joe Biden, former senators John Edwards and Mike Gravel, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson) vied for the African Americans support at the PBS All-American Presidential Forum at Howard University in Washington, DC. This event took place on June 28, 2007. During the forum, Obama revealed his proposed solutions to a few of the problems that plague Black America. However, after noticing that his ability to creatively think on his feet and give his usual intellectually stimulating responses were far below what I expected, I decided to be open to other candidates’ opinions and replies.
Quick! What is the solution to the war in Iraq, the high school drop-out rate in America, Hurricane Katrina, environmental racism, and the HIV/AIDS emergency? Is the answer Former First Lady Hillary Clinton? Can a woman undo the tragic downfall that I feel the US is currently experiencing?
During PBS’s Presidential Forum, Senator Clinton was “right on” to acknowledge that race and racism is still a problem in America; also agreeing that in regards to education “the US has failed as a village” and in comparison to the other topics given, there is no issue more important.
As far as the HIV/AIDS epidemic spreading across our nation, she actually recognized that “if HIV/AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country.” She is presently working to pass the Ryan White law, which is “the nation’s largest HIV specific federal grant program and a critical source of care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States *.” She is also trying to get Medicaid (government aid) to cover all HIV and AIDS treatments.
Concerning the flawed criminal justice system in America, she first suggests tackling racial profiling. In addition to eliminating different sentencing for crack and powder cocaine, Senator Clinton wants to create drug courts for non-violent offenders instead of sending them to federal courts to be sentenced to hard time.
What really caught my attention was her strong opposition of the genocide in Darfur. Her statement, “…move the peacekeepers so that finally the United Nations and the African Union can go into Sudan as soon as possible… we should make it very clear to the government in Khartoum that we're putting up a no-fly zone. If they fly into it, we will shoot down their planes. It's the only way to get their attention”, both shocked and amazed me all at once, establishing her as a righteous humanitarian who is willing to take a stand against injustice.
Not only did Senator Clinton keep my attention during the forum, but she also focused her attention – as did the other candidates – on those issues that directly affect African Americans. There was an obvious difference between the delivery of Clinton’s arguments and the others, such that she spoke passionately, remained sincere, and effectively answered each question with precision and conviction.
Maybe there’s something about those Clinton’s being in office because something about them just… works. Just like her husband, Hillary is an excellent presidential candidate. Could she be just what the doctor ordered—just what America needs?