Sherry Hopkins column

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 11, 2008

Get the picture? … by Sherry Hopkins

‘It’s personal for me, too, Hillary’

Dear Hillary:

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I watched you tear up a few days ago in New Hampshire. It was after your loss the night before to Barack Obama and John Edwards. You told the small crowd at the diner that it was personal for you. Running for president, I think you meant.

It’s personal for me too, Hillary, and it is so with millions of other women who struggle to find that fine balance between caring for others and caring for ourselves.

I worry about the backsliding our country has done over the past two decades.

I haven’t had a raise in a long time so that means that my hourly pay has decreased considerably with the skyrocketing cost of gasoline and therefore most everything else.

I worry that my sixteen-year-old grandson may all too soon be fighting a war that will be a decade old by the time he is forced to go.

I worry about my husband’s chronic illness and whether we will be able to afford his high dollar prescriptions if we lose our health insurance.

It’s personal for me too, Hillary. Do you worry about having Social Security available to you when you reach the age of eligibility? I do. I’ve paid in all my life, since I was sixteen years old. Will my share be there when I need it?

Do you worry that your husband’s job will be moved out of the country so the labor cost will be cheaper making the corporations profits higher?

Do you fret and frown over the declining health of your mother or father? Do you worry that you will have to tap into your already stretched budget to help them pay for groceries or heating fuel or medical care?

I worry that my youngest grandson is not being stimulated academically in school. He is bored and seems to know more than the grade level he is in. Do you worry about public education very much?

Is that personal for you?

I worry about my safety and the safety of my family. Random violence is, well, so random and so very violent. I lay awake nights worrying about these things Hillary. What’s happened in our country? It is so personal to me.

I worry about illegal aliens and giving undocumented workers, who have come into this country ILLEGALLY, legal documents such as a driver’s license. Does this mean that everyone that is doing something illegal in this country can count on the government to support his or her illegal actions? That’s personal to me, Hillary. Is it to you?

I’m sorry that you were caught at an emotional moment in your campaign. Women always seem weak when they cry and men always seem to be waiting for that moment so they can label us as weak. I cry a lot too, Hillary, but I can do so in the privacy of my own home, and not when the world is watching my every move. I know that is personal to you; it would be to me.

I haven’t made a decision yet as to whom I want to be my next president. But I do know that this seems to me to be the most important election of my voting life.

It seems to me too that this country is visibly holding its collective breath to see if regular folks like myself really can make a difference. I hope that that is true, Hillary, no matter who wins the election, because just like for you, it is personal for me too. The difference is you only seem to have an election to lose. I feel as though the rest of us have a lot more.

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