Why a middle-aged white man wasn’t the worst choice (not my favorite choice, but ok).

Day 94 – My journey to find reasons to vote for Hillary rather than just against Trump.
 
She chose a running partner with principled similarities, but had the self-knowledge to shore up her faults.
 
I’ll start by saying I would have loved a VP nominee who was black, Hispanic, gay, Muslim, female, Asian, progressive or almost any other “other” than a white, middle-aged man.
 
But Tim Kaine is more interesting and (the word I seem to use a lot describing this presidential nominee and her campaign) nuanced than his oh-so-vanilla demeanor suggests.
 
Like Hillary, he has chosen to integrate (I use the word deliberately) himself into “otherness” his entire life. He spent the summer of his sophomore year in HS in Honduras to work with peasant farmers in remote pueblos.
 
He took a year off of law school to go back to Honduras to teach welding and carpentry while sorting out how he wanted to use his law degree in civil rights law: making millions working for corporations or public service. He and his family attend a predominantly black church in Richmond; his children attended predominantly black schools – his choice.
 
He is married to a strong and capable woman: she spent twelve years as an attorney at the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, became a juvenile court judge, then the VA Secretary of Education (she resigned when he accepted the nomination to run as VP). She is also the daughter of a former Governor of VA.
 
For seventeen years, Kaine worked as a civil-rights lawyer. In his largest case, he secured a $17.5-million settlement for discrimination in bank lending. After he failed to persuade the Richmond City Council to support the construction of a homeless shelter, he decided to run for the council. He did and subsequently became one of very few white mayors of Richmond.
 
He has been a Governor and a Senator – teaching him the mechanics of governing from a very practical side as well as a more legislative side.
 
I’m stealing this next paragraph from attached The New Yorker article regarding how he operated as a Senator and what his strengths are: “Kaine’s deal-making abilities have won the respect of Democrats and Republicans alike. He played a particularly critical role in brokering a deal on the Iran nuclear agreement that persuaded the Obama Administration to submit the deal to Congress. This provided Obama with congressional support for the deal, but more importantly, reasserted the proper role of Congress in foreign policy. Kaine has even clashed with Obama, demanding a greater role for Congress in decisions regarding the use of force in Syria and Iraq.
 
“When a bipartisan group of senators tried to enact a bill that would prevent the sale of firearms to suspected terrorists, Collins (R-ME) noted that Kaine was “very helpful … in convincing other Democrats to give their support to the compromise.”
 
He was willing to stand up to the president when he disagreed while working closely with Republicans.
 
His faith seems problematic for the more progressive side of the party, with the potential trouble it poses for those in favor of choice for all women. However, he threaded that needle neatly: “I deeply believe — and not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality — that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”
 
Will you look at that, my GOP friends. A Democrat suggesting that smaller government includes keeping it out of the most personal decisions a woman can make about her own body.
 
His squeaky cleanness is also important in light of the fog of obfuscation that perennially hangs over Hillary. And good for her for recognizing the importance of it in her running mate. It shows a level of introspection and awareness that isn’t always as evident.
 
 
 
 

1 Comment

  1. I live in Virginia. Tim Kaine has been representing me for years as a governor and as a senator. He’s a good man from start to finish as you point out.

    One of the things I like most about him is that he truly lives his progressive beliefs. He is married to a strong woman and has loved that about her — she is his equal in every way.

    Given the changing demographics in the country, I think he was a great choice. As a white man, he appeals to those not yet ready for change. As a civil rights attorney he understands minority problems, and as a worker in a terribly poor Latin American country, he understand what immigrants face at home and then here. He speaks the languages we need in today’s America — understanding and compassion.

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