Monday, March 03, 2008

Goodbye To All That

Kind of like Poe and Anabelle Lee, I love Molly Ivor's writing with a love that is more than love. She's smart and incisive and kind and she writes from the place that we all want to believe that we have within us where genius and learning come together with smarts and wisecracking and a great love of life, and I could read her dissertations upon the phone book, if that's what struck her fancy for writing.

Today, however, she turns her gifts to explaining how many women are feeling on the eve of what I hope is not, but fear may be, the end of Hillary Clinton's run for the White House. Readers of this blog know that I'm a huge supporter of Hillary Clinton. I like her a lot. She invented smart. She keeps getting back up from the shitty things that life hands her and somehow goes on with a generous spirit bent on doing good. She digs down into the details and really learns what's going on. She gave a world-changing speech equating women's rights with human rights. She's got great ideas about how to fix our energy mess and she's always been a huge promoter of women. Whatever happens tomorrow, or at the Democratic convention, or in November, we haven't seen the last of Hillary Clinton. She's blazed a trail for future women to follow and she's done it with grace and humor and strength.

Supporting Hillary on liberal blogs for the past year or so has been an interesting experience. Lots of folks who somehow managed to get right behind John Kerry, his "I was for the war before I was against it" and his vote for the war notwithstanding, started off this primary season full of screaming hatred for Clinton because she voted to authorize the war. To be clear, she was wrong to vote that way, just as Obama has been wrong to vote to continue funding the war every time that vote has come up since he's been in the Senate. But there's been, IMHO, a different tone, a demand that she, far more than Kerry or Obama or Edwards or anyone else, should somehow crawl through broken glass with ashes on her forehead and that nothing she said was somehow "enough."

I've watched people who insisted that they were for Edwards because he was more progressive than Clinton (fair enough) switch directly to Obama when Edwards dropped out of the race (not so fair). Obama is less progressive, and far more willing to adopt the kind of shit-on-the-liberal tactics that many liberal bloggers used to disparage, than Clinton. Forgive me for perceiving a different organizing principle behind the behavior.

And so we who look at this primary season as another example of systemic prejudice often have reasons for doing so. Dismiss them as personal or petty if you like, but don't pretend that we are emotional and you the disinterested arbiters of what is and is not fair game. I have been accused of everything from willful stupidity to “vaginal solidarity” over these last weeks. It's insulting and demeaning, and intended to be so, as much as major opinion pieces on how dumb girls are and how Hillary should just climb on the Obandwagon. I've always said that it's not the sexists who get to define what kind of speech and behavior is sexist, what kind of office behavior is harassment.

I'm going to try to only say this once. I've got concerns about Obama. The notion that we're "one America" is bullshit. The idea that there's some grand level of compromise between me and the people who want to turn this country into a theocracy is bullshit. The notion that you can "reach across the aisle" to people like Grover Norquist and John Boehner is bullshit. They've explained as clearly as they possibly can that they view bipartisanship as date rape and that they intend to be the rapist, not the rapee. The notion that the details of policy don't matter as much as just getting a bunch of people excited about "change" is bullshit. The notion that "we worship a mighty God in the blue states" and that I'm supposed to want to vote for yet another candidate who puts out campaign literature saying that he's "called to serve" against a sacristy background is bullshit. And, as a proud member of the "anti-war left," I'd like to invite Mr. Obama to bite my ass.

I hope that I'm wrong. I'll be as quick to say I was wrong, come the Obama presidency, as I will be to say, "I told you so." But I'm tired of reading on liberal blogs that Obama is engaged in some form of Matrix-like ju jutisu whenever he adopts Republican talking points and concedes the battle ahead of time to the Republicans, while Clinton is bullheaded and dumb for not just giving in. It would help if those same liberal blogs hadn't spent years beating (correctly, IMHO) on vichy Dems. The level of nastiness and glee at Clinton's demise can have, IMHO, only one explanation. I'd be lot more impressed if the Obama supporters that I know spent more (aka almost any) time explaining which of his positions they like and less time shitting on Hillary Clinton.

And, so, if, as it looks like tonight, the nominee is Obama, I'll vote for him, as, I believe, will Hillary Clinton. It's possible, although not likely, that he'll realize that he has fences to mend with the feminist community ("You're likable enough" is not something that I'm likely to easily forget when I'm being asked to open my checkbook. Just sayin') and that, by November, I'll be more enthusiastic than I am tonight. But, as Molly says:

Indeed, it seems that Senator Obama will be the candidate, not because of (or in spite of) my vagina, but because of his ground game. I respect that. But I also ask respect for my position, for my experiences. Win with grace, not with sneers at old ladies who have repeatedly been told that it wasn't their turn yet, only to be told that sorry, their turn has passed by. That's about as alienating as you can get. I don't think his followers are shallow—at least not most of them—but many are rudely dismissive and do not seem to know whose framing they're adopting.

My favorite episode of the Sopranos is the one where the psychologist tells Carmella, "Whatever you do, you can never say that no one told you."


Auntie Meme said...

Precisely. You and Molly articulated my feelings exactly. Many thanks.

[You won't believe what your word verification program had me enter!!!
"hrcmanz" What kind of sick joke is that?]

NOLA radfem said...

This made me cry.

I'm an Obama supporter, but making that choice was pure torture that lasted for many months.

Many great women I know and love are for Clinton, including my sisters, aunts, and mothers.

We've all gotten smacked around pretty good by this election process.

I'm so sorry.

If Clinton wins, I will do a happy dance for her supporters, although I will be really disappointed as an Obama supporter.

Likewise, if Clinton's out of it, it's going to hurt like hell thinking about all of the great women who wanted her to be elected so much.

I'm so sorry. I'm sending you hugs if you want them.

Hecate said...

nola radfem

No apologies needed. Molly and I aren't upset that people voted for Obama; it's an election and everyone has to choose the person they think will be the best president. We're upset at the sexism and the tone adopted by some Obama supporters. You hang in there!

Kitty Glendower said...

Well, you and Molly are far kinder than I am. Obama is a fraud, I feel it deep inside of my womanly heart, and I am tired of being told what I feel is not what I feel.

I will never vote for him and I will NEVER EVER give him a dime of my money, EVER!

Many so called Democrats have lost their damn minds.

clio said...

The Obama remark that got me wasn't the "likable enough," or "The claws come out," or even that "she gets down," crap.

It was the tea party crack. As if all Senator Clinton had ever done was attend afternoon parties. As if all women are on the tea party circuit. It seemed unconscious and was utterly revealing.

Got news for Senator O.
I take my tea iced.
I make it myself,
and I've never even seen a tea party.

Arabella Trefoil said...

Hecate - I wish you were here so that I could give you a hug. This primary has done me in. The Hillary bashing on the blogs horrifies me. There is worse to come.

I predict that Hillary will pull it off at the convention.

When Hillary wins the nomination, the hating will get louder. The Obama supporters will never stop trashing her.

I have to absent myself from the blogs because as a 56 year old woman, I never thought we would see this kind of sexism again - from our own side!

I am spent.

NYMary said...

Many thanks, my friend.

No Blood for Hubris said...

Great post.

Great victory on Tuesday for Hillary.

How interesting that, after her victory, calls for her to step down "for the good of the party" have become even more shrill . . . .