by OrangeFur, Sat Jun 07, 2008 at 01:09:13 AM EDT
I hope the following is taken as sincere and in good faith. I know it's likely to be controversial at the moment--or would be, if anybody cared about what I think.
I would like nothing more right now than to feel my usual enthusiasm for the Democratic candidate and the Democratic Party. I would like nothing more than to believe wholeheartedly in party unity in the fall. But I don't, and it's not a matter of choice. I can no more convince myself to do so than I can convince myself to fall in love.
Simply put, the treatment that Hillary Clinton received was the most disgraceful and contemptible I have ever seen in politics. Much of it, whether from the party, the press or the blogs, was from people who call themselves Democrats. They convinced themselves and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people, that Hillary Clinton was a lying, racist, race-baiting, selfish, anti-Democratic woman who was actively hoping that Barack Obama might be assassinated. Much of the criticism took on a thinly disguised or overt sexism. The critics dismissed her voters, including me, as low-information racist white people.
They said all of this through the very end of the campaign; some of them are still saying it. The party, by and large, stood silent and did nothing meaningful to stop it. Now, a lot of the same people--the ones who promoted the nastiness and the ones who enabled it--are calling for unity and praising Hillary Clinton for her historic campaign.
I wish I could believe they're being sincere. But how could they actually believe all the things they said during the campaign and now praise her and appeal to her voters? I wish I could buy into it. I really wish I could. I don't enjoy feeling alienated from the party I loved. But unfortunately, it will take some time before the extremely sour taste of this campaign washes out. Whether this is weeks, months, or years I can't say.
Today, I switched my voter registration from Democratic to Independent. I didn't do it out of anger, and it didn't bring any satisfaction. It wasn't the cathartic slamming of the door on the way out, but rather the somber realization that an old friend was becoming a stranger.
I'm still a liberal, and proud of it. I still support all the same policies, mostly shared with the Democratic Party, and the same political philosophy. I'm no more inclined to vote for any Republicans than I was before. But for now, I need a break from the party and its official organizations. I'll support candidates and causes as an engaged citizen, and this may very well include Barack Obama. I hope that as time passes, and both the party and I move forward, it will soon be time to reunite.
Thanks for reading.Update [2008-6-7 15:25:37 by OrangeFur]: Thanks for everyone who recommended the diary and who took the time to write thoughtful responses. I'm pleasantly surprised to see it on the recommended list.
In response to some of the comments, I just want to make a few points, many of which were made, perhaps not emphatically enough, in the original diary.
First, I am still a liberal, and as liberal as I was when the campaign started. I haven't changed my ideals in the slightest, except as happened naturally by listening to the issues discussion of the campaign.
Second, as such, I will very likely continue the same voting patterns as before. I can't imagine myself voting for McCain, for example. Perhaps, having seen the outrage machine ginned up repeatedly for so many silly incidents in the primary, I'll be more skeptical of charges thrown against him by lefty blogs, but I'm under no illusions as to what he and the GOP stand for.
Third, I know that the Democratic Party couldn't care less about my registration or my vote, being one of over 100 million voting Americans. They care a little about my money, judging from the mail I get, but not all that much either. In fact, this indifference is part of the reason I've decided to switch to being an Independent for the time being.
Finally, I want to reiterate that this was not a happy process for me. I've been a Democrat my entire voting life, and was proud to call myself a Democrat not just during the high points (Bill Clinton's presidency, for example) but especially during the low points--in 2004, for example, I took special pleasure in being a defiant member of the political opposition.
Right now I feel as if I've lost my faith or my family. It's not some satisfying anger, but rather an uncomfortable void instead. I look forward to the day when I feel comfortable as an official member of the party again.
Thanks for reading, again.