The last time my heart and head faced off in a duel, it was over a car. My heart lusted for the snazzy little Mazda CX-5, candy-apple red — a sexy little beast that also boasted 44 miles per gallon.
Be still, my beatin’ cheapacabra heart!
My head, however, preferred the tried and true Chevy Impala, just like my last car, which I drove until it wouldn’t drive any further without maxing out my credit card. And this baby was a step up from my last model — an LTZ with leather seats and a sunroof that I’ll never use because A) I don’t want my hair to look like it was styled in a blender and B) skin cancer, people! It even had Sirius XM satellite radio that I’m too cheap to pay for once free six-month trial expires!
Top that off with a $4,000 GM discount, as well as dealer discounts I carved out by pitting one Chevy dealer against the other (the key to all successful car shopping safaris), plus a $2,000 trade-in on a non-functional car facing three times that in repairs. How could I not pick the Impala?
By contrast, the Mazda guy scoffed at my attempts to deal, pointing out that the CX-5 was a new model and didn’t need discounts to sell, and as for my turd on wheels — a trade-in? I should be thankful he didn’t charge me to haul it to the junkyard.
The Mazda dude was an insufferable jerk and offered zero financial incentives. But that car. Oh, how I wanted that sexy little red car that screamed “I’m not dead yet!”
I rationalized that I could buy it anyway and never see that A-hole again.
So pleaded my lusting heart.
My stubbornly practical head, however, genetically predisposed to pinching pennies until they squeal (thank you, Scottish ancestors and Depression-era mother), with a little bump from my chronic low-grade anxiety (the Impala is safe and familiar, while the new-model Mazda is a wild card), tipped the scales toward the Impala.
Was it the right choice? Oh, sure. The Impala is rock-solid. Safe. Easy and fun to drive. Excellent gas mileage for a large four-door sedan (same as a Honda CR-V). No surprises at all with the Impala. Except maybe for discovering just how hot black leather seats in a black car during an average August in Northern California can get. It’s like climbing into a Weber barbecue on wheels, and those are my thighs you smell on the grill. And also, the futility of attempting to keep a black car clean while living in a perpetually dusty agricultural area. It’s like a toddler. It’s clean for about five minutes. Turn your back, and it’s covered in dirt again. And then there’s bird poop. It turns a black car into an appaloosa.
Despite the unfortunate choice in color, the Impala was still the most practical purchase. And yet, I still lust in my heart whenever I pass a candy-apple red Mazda CX-5. I wonder what might have been, throwing caution to the wind, leaping behind the wheel and racing off like Simon and Garfunkel’s “Baby Driver.” Windows up, of course, because — hair.
So, here we are, with the exact same dilemma. I really, really, really want the Mazda (Bernie Sanders) but logic and practicality point to the Impala (Hillary Clinton). Although my bleeding liberal heart races for Bernie Sanders, my middle-of-the-road centrist head gives Hillary the nod.
Let’s be clear: I love every single word that falls from Bernie Sanders’ mouth. He sings the song of my people. But so did Barack Obama. I already got burned by following my heart once. Twice, even. But it’s not Obama’s fault. I blame the insurmountable phalanx of congressional Republicans.
If Obama couldn’t defeat the Roman wall of warriors chanting “No, No, No!” as they beat their spears in time on their breastplates, no one can. It won’t be any different for Sanders, barring a complete routing of Republicans in the Senate races. That’s the key point that those who #FeelTheBern are missing: Bernie’s ability to make any of his dreamy promises materialize are directly pinned to the willingness of the Senate to support them.
As long as there’s a Republican majority in the Senate, there’s no willingness. And hence, no ability. The muscle Republicans have built defying Obama for eight years will just be turned on Sanders, who’s even farther to the left than Obama. They won’t just be chanting, “No, No, No!” they’ll be screaming it.
Will they be any more receptive to Hillary? Oh, hell no. But here’s the thing: Hillary has developed some muscles of her own after more than two decades on the political scene. From first lady to the Senate to secretary of state, Hillary has been around the congressional block more times than a ’59 Chevy on Cruise Night. Hillary knows how to play the congressional game, vs. Sanders, a senator for 16 years but seemingly lacking much sway among his peers. Maybe he plays too nice? Hillary — not so much. Nobody calls Hillary “nice.” But politics isn’t nice.
Moreover, Hillary has been a player on the international level as secretary of state. Bernie’s experience at the international level is negligible by comparison. Hillary also has an indisputable track record on health care and women’s rights. She has walked the talk. She’s not a dazzling public speaker, but one-on-one — she shines. Her answers are intelligent, confident and thorough. She’s such an adult.
Sometime, just for kicks, watch a one-on-one with Donald Trump, who sprays out inanity like a babbling, bombastic lawn sprinkler, and then watch a one-on-one with Hillary. You will actually physically feel relief flood your brain.
So, yes, it’s a painful choice, just as it was with cars. I may love one, but I’m buying the other, and even though I’m signing the check for the down payment on the Impala, I know I’ll still lust for the Mazda.
— Email Debra DeAngelo at email@example.com; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com