Thursday, June 05, 2008

I've Taken a Vow Of Silence: Ask me How!

Digby, as Humboldtblue pointed out below, has said what needs to be said. That doesn't mean the rest of us won't chip in too, though. I have wanted to bask in the love and feel the glow, as a woman and as an American Citizen, of this incredible two person photo finish. But its just one moment in the struggle to take this country back from some truly evil people. More... As I plow through Nixonland I am reminded of just how evil, and how longstanding their plans, and how very good they are individually at carrying out a borg like project to smear liberals (whether democratic ones or republican ones) destroy careers, loot the treasury, bomb sovereign nations and their civilian populations, and, at the same time, to make laws which they themselves will violate and to privatize their own wealth and socialize their own debts. The more I know, or am allowed to remember, about what Republican rule means for the people of this country and the people of this world the angrier I get. The more I know, or am forced to remember, the more committed I get.

Years ago I read an article about the Solidarity movement in Poland. The journalist asks the question of the reader--how did it happen? How did workers find the strength and the rage to keep fighting? And then he answers the question by describing a worker, arrested at night by the police, going into his child's room and waking the child up to show him what the state and the secret police were doing. He wakes the child up, shows him the handcuffs, and says to him "don't forget what they are doing to us."

What does this have to do with the Clintons and with Senator Clinton's recent primary loss? Well, as Digby says we can't ever forget that Clinton himself was the first truly intelligent guy to hold the presidency since Carter and that he and Senator Clinton held that presidency for eight years under the most horrendous, cruel, brutal, sexist, smears and attacks against them personally as well as their friends and family. And they held it in the teeth of a long slow coup attempt. We owe Clinton for fighting them off for eight years, and for the good work he's done since, and for Senator Clinton's serious work as a Senator, and for her groundbreaking, earth shaking, run for the presidency. When she started in politics as a wife most people expected nothing more from her than a plastic smile and a reliable hand shake at a ladies lunch; when she finished as first lady most people expected no more of her than that she should retire in some kind of haze of feminist shame (oh, if only I'd been a better wife!) or scorned woman outrage (oh, if only he'd been a better man!). She confounded them all--against the odds--and took that Senate seat and again she confounded them all and ran for the Presidency and very nearly won. For all the absurd talk about how she acted "like she was entitled" to the nomination or how she was the "establishment" candidate let's get real: although a lot of people have talked about how she would make the run no one seriously thought she would get the nomination. It had never been done, and no one thought she was going to do it this time around. She was not considered the odds on favorite, and she was not thought to be able to run the campaign she ran. Only with the rapid rise of Obama and her strong fight did the story turn around. (Interestingly enough one of the strangest arguments I've seen on the die hard Clinton side is that Obama is really a stalking horse of the establishment. That it is he, the black guy with the funny name and the problematic wife who the establishment of party elders and big money men really decided to annoint against the authentic and insurgent wife of a popular ex president. )

And we know how the press loves to assign the parts in these stories. If one candidate was going to be the insurgent, the other had to be the establishment candidate. If one candidate was going to "come from behind" then the other one had to have had the nomination "all but locked up." Both were insurgents, both were unexpected, both were hard fighters, both raised a ton of money, both inspired millions of voters. The press can only annoint one leader at a time, they can only love one candidate at a time. Historically they love democrats when they are losing and tear them down when they win--and, conversely, they love republicans whether they win or lose. We can't afford to fall into those traps and despise our losers or undervalue our winners.

Which brings me to the Clinton voters. The important thing to remember about politics is that people have a very limited tolerance for memory or for thought. They remember the things that are salient to them, they think about the things that other people in their social circle are thinking about. Election cycles bring out excitement, force people to become identified with parties and with candidates, and then routinely break their hearts. Its not surprising that lots of people go nuts with joy and grief, its really only surprising that more of them don't.

Which brings me to my vow of silence. Anyone who bumps into me on the internet knows that I'm a scrappy little blogger. At dKos I routinely excoriated people for their anti clinton statements, lunacies, and the sheer ugliness of their sexism, misogyny, and short sighted understanding of democratic priorities. Meanwhile, over at Left Coaster, I seem to find myself typing "fuck off" rather more than I myself think is politic. That's because when I'm among true believers I always want to kick over their candy cart pretty much regardless of what they believe.

But here's what I believe. The American people are fighting for their lives in this election--and the Democratic party is the only life raft available. There's really no us vs them here, its another manufactured division between ordinary Democrats. I could have been a Clinton voter and I would have been a Clinton voter but for a few things. There's almost no difference between Clinton and Obama on anything serious, or anything that isn't going to be ironed out in the political give and take between executive and legislative branches. As citizens who truly care about the future of this country we have got to put everything behind us--and I mean everything that anyone said to us personally, or said to us hypothetically, or said to us on a blog, or said about our candidate, or said to our candidate, and get on with the historically important task of booting the republicans out of office. If we don't do that our children are going to wake up in a country without a constitution, looking at a treasury without treasure, and watching the bodies of their school mates coming back from a series of ugly, meaningless, endless wars while our country and our people rightfully become the pariahs of the international world.

So wake up your children every day and show them the chains and the insults of the Reagan Bush years. But while you are at it show them a picture of FDR, JFK, Carter, Clinton, Clinton and Obama.