An HRC Supporter (Finally) Comes to Obama (Yes, Finally)
by Angry Mouse, Wed Apr 02, 2008 at 04:58:51 PM EDT
(Note: This was originally posted at DailyKos earlier today. The responses were overwhelming, and overwhelmingly positive. And thoughtful, in unexpected ways. I've been asked to share it with the MyDD community, so here it is.)
I'm not taking the Hillary sticker off my car. Not until she's officially out (and even then, you know, fuck it, I just might leave it there. 'Cause I'm still damned proud of the day I went to my caucus and voted for Hillary Clinton for president.)
But I'm ready to say it. I'm ready to go there.
I'm ready to vote for Obama.
Yesterday started like any regular day. Democracy Now! in the morning. (I found that show very shortly after 9/11, and it was the relief I needed from the drumbeats for war. I have not stopped listening since.)
Then I shuffled down the hall to my office, since I work at home, and in between working, and playing with my cats (typical blogger, of course), I read the news, the blogs, more news, more blogs, blogs, blogs...
And then I read this great diary by Deoliver47.
I highly recommend it.
Deoliver47 wanted to know Does the D in MyDD stand for Dixiecrat?
And this simple question -- which was not even really the subject of the diary, as the diary addressed, very eloquently, matters of race and the history of the Dixiecrats -- was the moment things started to change for me.
Because it was the first time that I saw myself, an HRC supporter, through the eyes of the Obama supporters.
In the comments there followed a discussion of MyDD and other seemingly pro-Hillary sites. And the "civil war" between the different 'bots. (And no, I do not condone name-calling from either side.)
There was a lot of blustering. But there were a lot of questions, real questions. You really didn't understand us. But a lot of you wanted to try to understand. And better yet, to try to reach out.
And so I saw comments like this:
Here at DKos, it seems to me that I see a renewed effort to keep the discourse on point.
I started to delete it before i posted it but i had the whole righteous indignation thing going ... sometimes we get emotional and can't let go... even if it would be for our own good.
I find myself heading over every day or so to see what's being said. I'll often substitute the word "Obama" for "Hillary" in a diary as a way to hold up a mirror to my own thoughts. Could that be me saying those things if my candidate was losing? ...if I felt backed into a corner?...if I thought the dream was slipping away and I had no power to stop it from happening?
Have I been guilty of doing what I deplore in the other side? I've been angry enough...
I won't excuse the behavior and statements made on MyDD, but the hardcore Obama supporters on DKos can be just as bad. I used to wonder how Republicans could be so blinded by party loyalty that they could still support Bush after all he's done, but the Obama hero worship around here has convinced me that it could easily happen for Democrats as well.
I have been stunned with what I have read over there.
And so I tried to explain myself. I do not dare to speak for other HRC supporters; I certainly do not want to be lumped in with the worst ones. But I responded:
This HRC supporter isn't hiding.
First, thank you for your diary.
Second, let me try to answer the question posed about what is going on with MyDD (et al.)
The vitriol against HRC on this site -- and others -- has steadily increased for quite some time. It's been difficult to have reasonable conversations about the candidates without it rapidly turning into flame wars.
Then there was Alegre's "strike", and a lot of Obama supporters took delight in that. A comment in defense of HRC was often met with snide remarks like "Aren't you supposed to be striking?" and "Scab!"
Tempers are high all around. I think a lot of the anti-Obama attitude is more about responding to Obama supporters than to Obama himself.
It's the meta about the meta about the meta...and it's all pretty stupid.
There are some non-strikers. I am among them. But then, I've also come to accept that Obama will be the nominee. I may not be happy about it, but I'm not going to reject reality just because it's not my first choice.
But I also understand the frustration of my fellow HRC supporters. They are ridiculed, teased, insulted, chased away...And what might have started as genuine admiration for their preferred candidate has now turned into pure stubborness.
They don't want to concede to you, the pro-Obama blogosphere. That's sad, but I think that's what happening here.
I have conceded, in as much as I have accepted that HRC is not going to be the nominee. That doesn't mean I'll stop defending her when I think it is justified, or that I will stop asking questions about Obama that I think are warranted.
But we are not all as bad as the worst of us.
We are not all as bad as the worst of us.
That is the point, isn't it? We -- the activisits, the bloggers, the ones who spent hours upon hours at caucuses, who donated money we couldn't afford -- we've become so personally invested in the outcome of this race. And it is personal. I'm a woman who, for the first time, could actually see a woman in the White House. You're damn right it's personal.
But I also know that when I went to my caucus in February, and I watched two very old black men sitting together, smiling, beaming, I choked up because I imagined -- and could appreciate -- they probably felt the way I did.
Of course it's more than that. It's not just because either candidate is or isn't anything. Black, female, old, new.
Let's face it: If we're here, in this virtual community where we sit around like a bunch of geeks talking about minute details because that's what gets us off, so to speak, then we're probably better read and more informed than the general public.
We would not otherwise be here every day, fighting over every single word, digging up links, quoting laws and speeches, would we?
Now, two weeks ago I wrote a diary in which I conceded that Hillary would not get the nomination. I called it A Moment of Silence for the Clinton Campaign.
I acknowledged that Obama would be the nominee. And I asked:
Please celebrate your victory with graciousness. Please understand that for some of us, for many of us, there is a great sadness in realizing that Hillary Clinton will not be our nominee. She will not be our president.
And I explained that I, at least, and probably other Hillary supporters, do need a moment (or a week or a month) of mourning our loss. It is a loss for us. As I'm sure many of you would feel if Obama did not win the nomination.
But I also tried to end on a high note:
I believe the party will come together again. This country is amazingly resillient, and if we can unite after a long, deadly, bloody Civil War, we can certainly unite after a contentious primary battle.
But as you celebrate, as you dance on her grave, as you post your diaries of triumph, try to have a little respect for those of us who consider this a loss and a disappointment.
No matter how much hatred you have of Hillary, her campaign, her supporters, and yes, even her husband, it is important to try to be gracious winners.
I think even Obama himself would agree with that.
Since then, I have seen a change. It is starting to happen. Sure, there is vitriol still out there. There always will be. But I think, as Hillary supporters start to come to terms with reality, Obama supporters also are coming to terms with reality:
We need each other.
In past weeks, when anyone dares to express a "concern" about Obama, they were typically labeled as "concern trolls." Or directed to Obama's website.
But something different happened last night in this conversation. A commenter actually invited me to explain my concerns:
If you don't feel that posting your concerns here will be constructive or might result in you getting unnecessarily attacked, maybe you can ask someone like barath, or myself, if you can send us an email with your concerns and we can have a spirited, and hopefully enlightening discussion that way...We're not all vicious. :)
No "fuck off, troll." An actual invitation to discuss differences.
And so I did (and fully welcome additional responses in the comments here):
My main concern about Obama has nothing to do with domestic or foreign policy differences, or any of the dumb little "gaffes" of the primary season.
What I'm uncomfortable with is, strangely, the very thing that I understand holds so much appeal for so many people.
Simply, it is his talk of moving beyond partisanship, reaching out across the aisle, working together, compromising, finding common ground, et cetera.
I can appreciate that sentiment. I think it's noble. It's idealistic. It's very Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (which is a movie I love, by the way).
I don't want to compromise. I don't want to find common ground with the same people who think intelligent design is as legitimate a theory as evolution.
I don't want to come together with the people who think it's okay for pharmacists to refuse to do their jobs because contraception violates their "morals."
It's contentious of me, I know, but I don't want to get along with those people. I don't want to compromise with them.
They are wrong. Plain and simple.
And I haven't heard Obama explain how it is possible.
Politics is partisan business. It's been ugly for most of my lifetime. The persecution of the Clintons was wretched, and the Republican rule during the Bush years has been no better.
But that doesn't mean I don't want a president in the White House who will say, "On science, there is no compromise. Take your Intelligent Design bullshit and shove it."
So I don't see how this unifying, post-partisanship thing works. And I'm not sure it's even what I want. Would I hate Karl Rove if he were fighting on my side? I don't know.
Do you know what happened?
There was no hate. There was no vitriol. Instead, I received real, thoughtful, kind responses, especially from Bandaloo, Chumley, GMFORD, Dapremonster, and fumie, who even said my concerns were "legitimate."
They acknowledged my concerns. Validated them, even. And tried to help me understand them. (Again, I invite more contributions on this subject in the comments below.)
What a difference.
What a relief.
We are coming together.
The final step, for me, was this morning. I read kid oakland's diary on the rec list about his experience at the California Democratic Convention.
And kid oakland knows it too.
We are not all as bad as the worst of us.
And we are going to come together.
And we will put the animosity, the anger, and divisiveness behind us.
We're not Republicans, for crying out loud. We don't carry 30-year grudges.
So here I am, finally, finally able to express my concerns about Obama, have my peace and quiet to mourn the loss of possibility that I saw in Hillary, and have intelligent conversations with people with whom I do not agree without it getting ugly. (And we've all seen how ugly it can get around here.)
I'm voting for Obama in November. I'm not drinking Kool Aid just yet, but if you'll keep being patient with me, I just might help myself to a cup before too long.
Note: In the comments at DailyKos, eclecticbrotha recognized that having an anti-Hillary sig line (or anti-Obama sig line) was not conducive to the Great Make Up of 2008. And he/she changed it on the spot. Others have followed suit. I thank eclecticbrotha for leading the way. And if you agree with what I've said, I ask that you to do the same. If your sig line is an anti-Democratic candidate sig, change it. Make it about McCain. Make it something positive about your preferred candidate. Time to stop bickering, start healing, and get ready to win in November.