Monday, June 9, 2008

Lonely Hillary Supporter at MyBarackObama

7/11 I am aware my posts on MyBarackObama are contradictory, depending upon my experience that particular day. I am still working out my relationship with long-term Obama supporters. Sometimes I just want to run away. Other times, my bruising experiences make me more determined to stay to do what I can to help Hillary supporters and Obama supporters understand one another.

Like, Obama's website offers many groups that you are welcome to join. Once you join a group, you receive any email written by a member. The Obama campaign obviously has not thought through how to handle former Hillary supporters read to heed Hillary's exhortation to "work their hearts out for Obama." Many Hillary supporters are hurting badly, but are loyal Democrats determined to defeat McCain.

These Obama groups have been safe places for over a year for supporters to enthuse about their candidate and hate Hillary. I joined my local group and had the pleasure of reading that anyone who doesn't find Hillary nutcrackers hilariously funny obviously has no sense of humor and needs to get a life.

Obviously most groups are better than that, but the lonely, lost Hillary supporter has no way of knowing what groups are toxic swamps of abuse. Some posters seem more determined to prevent Hillary from getting the vice presidential nomination than to defeat McCain.

Ultimately Democrats have to decide whether you would rather destroy the Clintons or elect McCain.
Hillary pointed out that there have been ten presidential elections in the last 40 years and the Democrats have only won three of them. Why on earth do Democrats still need to attack the only two-term Democratic president in my lifetime of 62 years? The Republicans are never idiotic enough to disown Reagan. Hell, McCain doesn't have the sense to disown Bush.

Democrats lose elections because they seem much more determined to destroying one another than to destroy Republicans. If Democrats hated Bush as much as they seem to hate the Clintons, countless lives would have been saved in Iraq.

Democrats and the Media

On a local Obama group, a women assured me that Michelle Obama wouldn't be attacked because she was so sweet, intelligent, and lovely, nothing like Hillary. Too many Hillary haters seem to think she deserved all the vicious misogynistic hurled at her, that she brought them on. Feminist bloggers keep
trying to explain that a lot of the hatred directed at Hillary was directed at every strong, intelligent, assertive women. I had many interesting talks with much older women who have experienced
these kind of attacks all their working lives including one 80-year-old aunt. My Aunt Mary strongly
identified with Hillary and told me many stories of being passed over for promotion to a job given to a younger, less qualified man. When you bash Hillary, you bash these women. In her speech Hillary said that young women need to listen to, and learn from the struggles of their mothers and grandmothers.

Some Hillary supporters feel so battered and abused that they feel that voting for Obama would be like returning to an abusive husband. I am not defending that; feelings cannot be denied. These
women are not talking about Obama himself, butt the media, and far too many Obama supporters, particularly young bloggers. Saying only the media is a copout. Howard Dean seems to have just noticed that the media attacks on Hillary resembled middle schoolers. Welcome to Planet Earth, Howard. Women are furious that the DNC didn't speak out against media abuse.We have a real

I think it is imperative that Obama support a strong feminist platform. I am beginning to think he probably should choose Sibelius as his running mate.

Hillary has been viciously bashed since Clinton first started campaigning for the White House. Many of you are possibly too young to remember. I strongly recommend the blog, The Daily Howler.
Bob Somerby tirelessly documents how the media has savaged the Democrats since 1992. His archives go back to 1998 so you can remember or learn what happened to Gore and Kerry. I just learned yesterday that Somerby was Gore's Harvard college roommate.

Another invaluable resource is Media Matters. which tirelessly fact checks media coverage of the election. Make no mistake about it. The media is our enemy. During the primary campaign MSNBC was worse than FOX. I used to respect Keith Olbermann for his courageous attacks against Bush. But he was an attack dog against Hillary. Chris Matthews seems to base his career on sexism.

Confusion and Conversion

This has been a very confusing primary for me. I and three of my four daughters were political science majors; we are all very liberal Democrats as are our husbands. We are a very political family, who, until now, have always agreed. For the past few months political arguments have degenerated into painful screaming matches so for the first time ever, political debate has been silenced.

To be honest, right now I am feeling relief that my family can discuss politics again.I decided to get active in the Obama campaign right away because I intend to catch the enthusiasm and dedication of his supporters. That will be the way I heal. I was very active in the civil rights, antiwar, and feminist movements. As a reference librarian and as a social worker, I have mostly worked in African American communities. My area of Long Island--Baldwin, Freeport, Uniondale, Hempstead--is becoming predominantly African American and Hispanic. So I was very sensitive to and upset by the racist remarks of Hillary supporters. But I certainly don't consider the Clintons racists and was upset by their being portrayed that way.

I agree that the problem wasn't with the candidates themselves, but with the mass media, overly rabid supporters, and the progressive blogs. For about five years I have immersed myself in blogs. This year most progressive blogs splintered into armed camps where supporters of the wrong candidate were unwelcome. The misogyny of to young male bloggers (and some female ones) was disgusting. Their inability to perceive sexism left me dumbfounded.

The positive result of this is a revival of feminist writing and activism. Those of you who haven't seen much sexism probably don't watch much cable news or read political blogs. In the 70s, we feminists realized that both men and women need their consciousness raised to recognize how pervasive sexism is. Sexism is not just a problem for women; media remarks that Obama is not tough enough or mean enough, Maureen Dowd's calling him Bambi, are sexist as well.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Daughter (an Obama Supporter) and I Cried

From Hillary's Concession Speech
Now, on a personal note, when I was asked what it means to be a woman running for president, I always gave the same answer, that I was proud to be running as a woman, but I was running because I thought I'd be the best president. But...But I am a woman and, like millions of women, I know there are still barriers and biases out there, often unconscious, and I want to build an America that respects and embraces the potential of every last one of us.

I ran as a daughter who benefited from opportunities my mother never dreamed of. I ran as a mother who worries about my daughter's future and a mother who wants to leave all children brighter tomorrows. To build that future I see, we must make sure that women and men alike understand the struggles of their grandmothers and their mothers, and that women enjoy equal opportunities, equal pay, and equal respect.

Let us resolve and work toward achieving very simple propositions: There are no acceptable limits, and there are no acceptable prejudices in the 21st century in our country.

You can be so proud that, from now on, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state victories..... unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the president of the United States. And that is truly remarkable, my friends.
To those who are disappointed that we couldn't go all of the way, especially the young people who put so much into this campaign, it would break my heart if, in falling short of my goal, I in any way discouraged any of you from pursuing yours.

Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. And, when you stumble, keep faith. And, when you're knocked down, get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can't or shouldn't go on.

As we gather here today in this historic, magnificent building, the 50th woman to leave this Earth is orbiting overhead. If we can blast 50 women into space, we will someday launch a woman into the White House. Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it...and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.

That has always been the history of progress in America. Think of the suffragists who gathered at Seneca Falls in 1848 and those who kept fighting until women could cast their votes.
Think of the abolitionists who struggled and died to see the end of slavery. Think of the civil rights heroes and foot soldiers who marched, protested, and risked their lives to bring about the end of segregation and Jim Crow.

Because of them, I grew up taking for granted that women could vote and, because of them, my daughter grew up taking for granted that children of all colors could go to school together.
Because of them, Barack Obama and I could wage a hard-fought campaign for the Democratic nomination. Because of them and because of you, children today will grow up taking for granted that an African-American or a woman can, yes, become the president of the United States.
And so...

... when that day arrives, and a woman takes the oath of office as our president, we will all stand taller, proud of the values of our nation, proud that every little girl can dream big and that her dreams can come true in America.


I spend far too much time reading political blogs. Hillary supporters are demanding that Obama apologize for his sexism as often and as stridently as Obama supporters are demanding that Hillary apologize for her racism. That is not how campaigns work. In the heat and battle of an unprecedently close campaign, all sorts of things are said by both sides that they can't be proud of. The media distorts everything and presents a comment by a so-called supporter as if it came from the candidate herself. When I read an obscenely misogynistic comment by someone purporting to be an Obama supporter, I have no way of knowing whether the writer is a Republican troll.

I was raised Catholic. Too familiar is the claima that either Clinton or Obama committed grave mortal sins endangering their immortal souls and must confess and repent before being forgiven and allowed in the paradise of defeated McCain.

What matters is going forward and defeating McCain. Hillary supporters don't enjoy being castigated as racists any better than Obama supporters tolerate being condemned as racists. The Republicans are both racist and sexist; they will not feel guilty about such accusations.

I want to quote from an Obama interview in the New Yorker in 2006:

You know, I think very highly of Hillary. The more I get to know her, the more I admire her. I think she’s the most disciplined—one of the most disciplined people—I’ve ever met. She’s one of the toughest. She’s got an extraordinary intelligence. And she is, she’s somebody who’s in this stuff for the right reasons. She’s passionate about moving the country forward on issues like health care and children. So it’s not clear to me what differences we’ve had since I’ve been in the Senate. I think what people might point to is our different assessments of the war in Iraq, although I’m always careful to say that I was not in the Senate, so perhaps the reason I thought it was such a bad idea was that I didn’t have the benefit of U.S. intelligence. And, for those who did, it might have led to a different set of choices. So that might be something that sort of is obvious. But, again, we were in different circumstances at that time: I was running for the U.S. Senate, she had to take a vote, and casting votes is always a difficult test.