Things about this election. It’s been disappointing to say the least – and of course, I’m saying that as a Clinton supporter, but not because she lost. It’s how the shit went down, I guess.

Now, when we started down this weird road (oh, those innocent first few months!) I was pretty excited. I’ve heard people say they’re just now realizing the magnitude of the history that’s being made – I saw all that from the beginning. I mean, I’ve always been one to consider the history of things, and it isn’t long ago – at all – that women and blacks were in a pretty bad way. So yes, I was super excited to have a woman and lo, a black man running for president – nervous, but excited, and I took my pick of one and waited to see what would happen.

Six months later, and I’m feeling less than enthusiastic about the whole thing. There’s still the intellectual part of me that can, thank God, appraise the situation and say: Obama’s charisma is undeniable. I don’t particularly feel it, but the numbers are there, and that sort of enthusiasm for politics, even only personality (especially if you can consider personality politics to be a gateway, at least for some people, to the actual issues), can only be good. I can see why Clinton lost; I can see why it’s good that she lost, considering what I really want is to get Dems in – into the white house, and that other house, and the Court and anywhere else you can stick them.

Still, something went horribly wrong in this primary, and it wasn’t it’s length or the behavior of the candidates. It wasn’t even necessarily the media — though they were so cringe-worthy in their reports I admit I barely followed mainstream media at all. The trouble came in the form of the party’s reaction to itself. If we’re honest with each other, we can admit that the two candidates had nearly identical platforms, near identical (public) politics. Instead, people went insane. People who believe in a, b, and c viciously attacking people who believe in a, b, and c. The animosity was pathetic, and I found myself visiting my favorite liberal political websites less and less as time wore on, until it’s got to the point I haven’t checked any since March.

It’s over now, thank God. I hope we can focus now on repairing some of this damage. We smashed each other up a bit. I know we did because I’m still afraid of checking the liberal blogosphere, in anticipation of all the hate and bitterness and contempt that I’m somehow sure is still floating around — and dammit, I shouldn’t be. I won’t beat around the bush now, and say that I do think – from my experience, and I did try to look at this evenly (though I was almost always a Clinton supporter, I was never particularly passionate about her because her and Obama’spolitics are so much alike, that I would have been happy with either), the majority of the vitriol didn’t come from the Clinton camp, but form Obama’s. Not Obama and his staff specifically — the candidate himself was always gracious and more or less likable, but his supporters, particularly online– boy, howdy. At first I was sad; I was looking forward to a campaign from a black man, the first real, seriously could-go-all-the-way-yay campaign from an African American for the US presidency, and I wanted it to be smooth and dignified and successful. And instead, there was hate. It drove me from the entire blogosphere for months; it felt irrational to me, bitter accusations when they were losing, bitter condescendencewhen they were winning, and always the contempt for anyone who was not entirely with them. This isn’t to speak for all of Obama’s supporters, or even most, but for a minority which was unfortunately as vocal as they were obnoxious.

During Clinton’s speech after South Carolina, she spoke of her supporters, and how they need to be respected. That really summed up my problem with this whole past primary. There were a large number of people who felt it was a good idea to belittle nearly half of our party. That’s ridiculous.

The contemptuous and condescending calls to drop out as early as February, growing louder and ever hateful as the months wore on? When the entire time the race was so close that a state here or there may have tipped the entire thing? Stop that. That’s annoying. You don’t look at someone who’s all of a few dozen delegates behind and say “Christ! Give it up, will you! This is pathetic, and you’re destroying the country!” Yes, Obama was ahead for a long time, and the support he drummed up was and is awe-inspiring. I always respected that all these people came out, taking time out to support him and vote for him and celebrate him. More than did for Clinton, admittedly – but not that much more, really. Not enough that you can dismiss the nearly-equal amount of supporters on the other side because you’re eager for you guy to win already.

Looking back, I have to admit that I liked Obamagood deal better before coming into contact with many of his supporters. It almost felt like, as Obamaraced forward a bit in the polls and funds, they became drunk withthe power of it. They saw themselves as in the majority – no matter how slight of a majority it was – and felt free to insult Clinton and her supporters casually and often with a disturbing sort of hate I had only seen coming from the right up till then. Suddenly, inexplicably, Clinton was a rightwinger, her supporters stupid, conservative, racist or any combination thereof. This despite the fact that Obama has consistently gotten more independentand republican voters in open primaries than Clinton, despite his message of bringing both parties together (which I’m not criticising) against her long history of almost paranoid hatred of the right wing (which, though totally understandable on a personal level, I’m not saying is something I support in a president). I wasn’t exactly personally offended by these comments (which became inevitable in any political thread, and were repeated ad nauseum), because I know how much they don’t apply to me whatsoever too much to feel anything personal. But the irrationality of the arguments, the repeated inability to expand on them or offer anything except blind hatred for people who have the same values, essentially, as the commentersbut choose to support someone else – that’s what eventually got to me. For the first time I felt truly disgusted with my fellow liberals, and this upset me somewhat.

I grew extremely tired, an exhaustion I can still feel now, months later, of this group of supporters’ persistent childishness. The vapid, automatic and often irrelevant insulting of Clinton herself which made my feminist hackles rise – the ones I had no idea I possessed, because I’d apparently never had cause to use them before. One tactic which first infuriated and then depressed me for its frequency was the assertion, in nearly every thread, that a person refused to vote for Clinton under any circumstance, even if the alternative is McCain. Clinton became not the other Democratic candidate, but the enemy. I’m not sure what the enemy of – not of democrats or liberals, even if you’re radical about it – not more so than McCain. I couldn’t understand where the hatred was coming from, could only guess it was a sort of rabid defense of Obama. And it was never a comment, but always a threat – if Clinton wins this primary, we won’t vote in November. Holding the general hostage, as it were.

Looking back it’s not so surprising really – I was confused by it because I thought we were all here for the same reasons – to get someone who will act Democratically in office, who will veto and give speeches according to that party’s general platform. I was wrong. I was there for the issues, and was foolish enough to think everyone else was too. But there were (and I suppose, are) a large number of people who were only there for Obama. Obama, and nothing else, not stepping closer to socialized medicine, not slowing if not stopping our backwards slide in just about every current issue – only for Obama. It makes sense, of course, especially when you consider that a large number of his voters are people who don’t generally vote, people who are independent and people who are republican – it makes sense then, they aren’t so much passionate about the issues (although, interestingly enough I admit that he also attracts the more radical and passionate liberals as well). That’s in fact Obama’s greatest strength – that he can get these people to vote for him. That’s how you win presidencies, that’s why in the end he always had to win this primary, and was always going to.

I don’t regret that. I only wish they had let us, the Clintonites, lose with a shrug and a “see you in November”, and not the repeated slaps in the face we actually got. The damage we have to repair now is the scores of people who have been left feeling insulted and condescended to. People like my mother; a virtual full stereotype of a Clinton supporters, she’s middle-aged, working class, Hispanic and has voted loyally and a little blindly for some twenty odd years down the line “D”. People who, like my mother, have been worn down by the bizarrely relentless attacks on her favorite to win for several months by her own party and allies. Some of Obama’s supporters may sneer at Clinton’s base, but we can’t forget that’s who the core of the Democratic party is – the working class, the Hispanics, the down-the-line-“D” voters. It’s nice that Obama won the primary; I’m happy for him, and his voters as well. But unless that’s where your goal ends (or, unless your goal was merely “beat Clinton, don’t let her win”), and other things like getting a democrat back into the white house, realistically speaking, don’t matter to you at all – then you need to acknowledge that those people, stupid racist rednecks or not, are necessary. They don’t need pandering – never have – but be wary of actively turning them off. Those are the wounds we need to heal before November. Obama’s speech after South Carolina was truly a step in the right direction, but, as I’ve thought often throughout this primary, I can only hope his supporters will follow his lead.

I apologize for the messiness of the above. I’m no political science student, only a girl who’s interested in what happens next and needed to get a few things down before she can understand them and move on. In the interest of ending on a high note, I give you Song of the Mo’, “Baby, I’m an Anarchist” by Against Me!, from their Reinventing Axl Rose album. Um, the song ends at 2:41 and yet the video keeps rolling. I don’t know why.

Lyrics:

Through the best of times, through the worst of times.
Through Nixon and through Bush.
Do you remember ’36, we went our seperate ways,
You fought for Stalin, I fought for freedom.
You believe in authority,
I believe in myself.
I’m a molotov cocktail, you’re the dom perignon.
Baby, what’s that
confused look in your eye? what i’m trying to say is that
I’ll burn down buildings
while you sit on a shelf
inside of them. You call the cops on the looters and pie-throwers.
They call it class war,
I call them co-conspirators.

‘Cuz baby, I’m an anarchist
and you’re a spineless liberal.
We marched together
for the 8-hour day and held hands in the streets of Seattle.
But when it came time to throw bricks through that Starbucks window you left me all alone.

You watched in awe
at the red, white and blue on the 4th of July.
But while those fireworks
were exploding
I was burning that fucker and stringing my black flag high.
Eating the peanuts
that the parties have tossed you.
In the back seat of your father’s new Ford
you believe in the ballot,
you believe in reform.
You have faith in the elephant and jackass.
And to you solidarity is a four-letter word.
We’re all hypocrites, but you’re a patriot.
You thought I was only joking
When I was screaming, “kill whitey”
at the top of my lungs
at the cops in their cars and the men in their suits.
No, I won’t take your hand
and marry the State.

[chorus]

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