Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tuk tukka gareko

Edited to Add: just read digby.

For the funny hop over to Bats Left Throws Right for a great take on Noonan and Dreher's nostalgia for the blessed silence of the days before Bush's supporters began kissing and telling.

Here at casa Aimai where we are struggling through Nixonland and consequently unable to sleep for the horror of it all I rise to find history repeats itself with a vengeance. More... That is, Turkana at Left Coaster responds to Meteor Blades at dailyKos. Essentially Meteor Blades accuses the Clinton voters of being proto-"reagan democrats"--in fact he goes back farther and accuses them of being "wallace" democrats and even "nixon democrats." He calls them McCainocrats and implies that they will almost certainly vote against Obama because they are racists and the primary issue for them is Obama's race. This is pretty inflammatory stuff. Turkana takes the high road and calls simply for Clinton voters and Clinton supporters such as herself to trust Clinton's eventual decision to drop out and support Obama . Her main concern, as she and the many posters over there have said over and over again, is that they feel the nominating system is broken and throws up flawed candidates and that they felt that of the two candidates the better one lost partially because of "the system," partially because of "sexism" and partially because of a lot of other stuff that had nothing to do with race.

That's what the vast majority of pro-clinton voters believe. Sure, some of Clinton's support has to have been directly and unequivocally racist--a kind of "anyone but the black guy" mentality. It was also ageist ("anything but the young guy") atheistical (anything but the guy who keeps talking about christ), angry (anything but the guy who keeps talking about bipartisanship) and etc... But I can't deny the racism, too. I was as taken aback by Ferraro's naked racism as anyone, and I don't deny that racism may underlie the primary and general election votes of a significant percentage of the democratic party.

But can Meteor Blades really believe that the vast majority of Clinton voters--including those in mixed race Puerto Rico--can have no reason for casting their vote for Clinton or staying home in November *but* race? Does he believe that the upper class liberal voters who supported Clinton *and also* civil rights in all its forms for years before it was safe, let alone trendy, like the elderly white women I know are opposed to Obama solely because of his race? Because I don't believe that. Racism, if it is going to mean anything, has to mean more than simply choosing not to vote for the Black guy in an election when there are plenty of reasons to prefer the other candidate.

The right has been screaming for a long time that the very word "racist" and "racism" is such a nuclear bomb of a term that it hurts worse to be called a racist than it does to have a racist throw you into jail or shoot your for trying to exercise your civil rights. I'm not arguing that--if the Ferraro fits, wear it. But surely we can do better than to accuse the entire of Clinton's voters of being closet racists just waiting to betray the democratic party and their fellow citizens for base racist motives? We can do better because *even if we believe it* we can't get their votes by saying it. And I don't believe it. I know plenty of little old ladies who voted against Obama for good and sufficient reason and yet will happilly pull the lever for him in November. The others, if they exist, those hordes of Clinton supporters who are so angry and hurt by the accusations that they were racists, might indeed be lost to us. But if they go over to the dark side of republican politics and policies whose fault is that? Didn't we just say we didn't need them, didn't respect their fears and hopes? I'm reading Nixonland right now and I can assure you, if you needed any assurance, that if one political party tells any substantial voting bloc that its fears are a) about to be realized and b) they are just getting the armaggedon they deserve the other political party reaps its reward in the fall out. Is it worth it to label voters "racist" and then recoil in shock and horror that they don't relish the label and choose to vote for the person who assures them that he doesn't hate them but rather welcomes them into the fold?

Obama, to my mind, took the high road a little too early in this election in offering the hand of friendship to republicans and war mongers. He seemed to toughen up a bit as the primary went on. and so I, personally, angry white bitch that I am, liked him better as a candidate. If he ever wanted to rise above the much of american politics and appeal to our hopes instead of our fears now might be a good time for the Old Obama to reassert himself. I'm hoping he can rein in this sort of stupid back and forth spitting--in Nepali we call it "tuk-tukka garnu" when two people stand and spit at each other--and ask for everyone's vote. Because we are going to need every single vote, even of people who are stupidly nervous, or angry, or who never figured out what the fuss was about in MI and FL, or who aren't that smart, or who wanted a kiss and a cookie with their vote.