Wednesday, February 06, 2008

More of the same yet to come

Although it was great to see such high voter turnout, I wish the Democrats had emerged with a clear candidate so we could move on from this particular bit of crazy.
I have to say, I have been unnerved by the way people here proselytize for their favorite candidate.
If I were Emily Post and talked about voting etiquette, I would say that it is fine to encourage people to get out and vote on what their conscience dictates and that the vote is secret and universal. Nobody can demonize you for voting for whom you damn well please. If you want to vote for Mike Huckabee because you like the way his furniture happens to look just like a cross, by all means.
This is a very strong feeling I have: the nature of democracy is precisely to respect the individual vote of conscience. That is why the endless barrage of attacks between candidates is absurd to me. And even more absurd is the coaxing of friends and acquaintances to go one way or the other. I have a natural knee jerk reaction against that. I would not dream of telling anyone who to vote for or against. Am I nuts?
Yesterday I heard it all, and sadly, unfortunately, it was mostly between Democrats, for crying out loud: that Obama conceals the fact that he is a Muslim and we can't have one of those at the White House (maybe it would actually help, no?), that he snorted coke (Good. Then he knows what it's like: experience!).
Guys, chill the fuck out.
I got sent corny videos from Obama supporters and got shrill, way too long for an email, hysterical letters (more than once) from Hillary supporters, and I found both very off-putting. Actually, the shrill, Hillary-supporting rant that made the internet rounds was too much to bear. I didn't have the time, the inclination or the liver to read it all the way to the end because 1. it was waaaaay toooo looooong. 2. the tone was so angry and full of tired feminist clichés that couldn't possibly help the cause of women anywhere (gynocide?). It was also horribly written, even if a lot of what it said is true.
I too, have had it with the insidious misogyny in this country and I don't for a second doubt that women have it rougher than men each and every time, (but so do, actually, black people and gays and you name it). But I don't for a second doubt either that women are wholly complicit in this, many times by choice. The women as victims rhetoric does not sway me. If you really want to help Hillary Clinton get elected you have to be eloquent and moderately rational, not downright borderline having a feminist nervous breakdown. Don't do her any favors.
I am totally willing to vote for Hills when she runs for President. I don't think I have ever been on the fence for anything as I was this time around. Truth is, I don't believe either one of them, man or woman, black or white. I take my politicians with a giant grain of salt. Particularly in this wholly unpleasant circus.
However, even though I agree that Obama mainly sounds like a progressive Hallmark card, there is a part of my heart that believed in making a statement for fundamental change, the kind that would bring a black man, for instance, to the presidency of the US. Not that a woman would not be equally deserved, but that is the quandary in which we find ourselves right now. And as smart and capable as she is, she comes with a lot of baggage that has nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman. He, on the other hand, is fresher.
I had a very enlightening talk with a cab driver about the primaries. He had a thick accent and a Muslim sounding name but he told me he was a democrat and was going to vote for either Barack or Hillary at the end of his shift. Isn't this what makes this fucking country great? I say it is.
However, he was convinced that John McCain was going to win the general election, no matter who he faces, because this country is not ready yet for a woman or a black man at the helm. I think he may be right, unfortunately. To judge from the disgustingly unseemly infighting from the Democrats and their supporters, the only thing preventing a McCain victory is the mess the Republican party has left this country in. I pray that ordinary Americans everywhere think of this and not of ideology, when they pick next.
I wonder what would happen in the event that Hills and Barack decide to run together. That would be so rich.

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