Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why I'm not voting for Hillary Clinton unless she's the only option.

This has been a very long primary season.
And I am weary.

I am an Obama supporter.

I am an Obama supporter who when this all began was grateful for Ms. Clinton’s competition. Indeed, I thought that it would be useful for The Party (if not America) to see two strong candidates for The Nomination duke it out over policies and their hopes for America.
I like a good fight.
I cry over Rocky movies.

This has not happened.
Both of the candidates have had to contend with an unfavorable media and, unable to fight the media, the candidates turned their sights on each other.

What has become increasingly troubling (and disappointing and angering) for me is the way Ms. Clinton’s been running her candidacy and allowing her close supporters to show their support for her.

It started for me with an Op-Ed that Gloria Steinem wrote in which she posited that gender trumps race and that not only is it farFAR easier to be a Black man in America it is, in fact, an advantage because a Black man is still a man.

Now, I must admit that I have never been a fan of Ms. Steinem.
(I find her regressive, myopic and dismissive and this Op-Ed really cemented for me my feelings about her brand of so-called Feminists. Ms. Steinem has outlived her usefulness to any progressive movement and should just go to her little glass house and wait for the stone throwers.)
But I will say that the underlying comment about the shameful use of misogyny in this primary season is correct. I will agree that is seems that the use of overt misogyny and sexism are still more palatable to the American media (and it seems, public at large) than racism. But it is a fallacy, a GROSS fallacy, to assert the theory that because sexism is more palatable racism no longer exists (Ms. Steinem). I will also put out there that I found Ms. Steinem’s comments about the younger female Obama supporters to be downright distasteful and I wonder if there isn’t some twinge of misogyny there as well.

And then there came this gem from another Clinton supporter, Ms. Ferraro.

Here’s the thing that really bothers me. One of Obama’s advisors, Samantha Powers, called Ms. Clinton a “monster.” No, I do not believe that Ms. Clinton is actually a monster; I believe that throughout this campaign she has allowed her people to behave monstrously. But the thing is that when Ms. Powers said that the Clinton camp was enraged and called for her to be fired. Ms. Powers both resigned AND apologized to Ms. Clinton.

Ms. Ferraro has since resigned from the Clinton campaign, but has she been made to issue an apology? No.
Not unless you count the half-assed: “I am sorry that people think this was a racist comment.” Yeah, well, I’m sorry that you think that’s an acceptable response Ms. Ferraro. I’m sorry that you felt like your white-privilege (to say that kind of fucked up shit on a national stage AFTER the Steinem madness) was being attacked.
Speaking of which has Ms. Clinton addressed the grievous hurt and animosity that Ms. Steinem’s Op-Ed piece contributed to many Americans? No.
Has Ms. Clinton even addressed what her husband recently said? Has he been removed from the campaign? Has he apologized? No.

I’m swinging here, as you can probably tell, to the Reverend Wright fiasco. [No link. Just google it. It's too easy.]
Fiasco not because I necessarily disagree with him -I actually giggled when I heard the God Damn America line (What? It was fucking clever and parts of it were maddeningly true)- but fiasco because of the boiling down of a man’s life’s work into 30 second sound-bites. Fiasco because of the media’s and (White)America’s inability to speak intelligently about race and their fear of the anger of Black Americans. Fiasco because people were so wrapped up in how hard the media has been on Ms. Clinton because she’s a woman that they’ve been completely willing to chalk up the the impact of race in this campaign season (and in this country) as a fiction in Black people’s minds.

Why? Because we’re all post-racial now.

Post-racial, when I first saw that diagnosis I thought, “Well ain’t this some shit.”
What does that term even mean? After-racial?
What comes after race? Ethnicity?
America isn’t and never will be post-racial. Some would say that there’s just one race, the Human Race (or the Rat Race if you’re a smartass like me), in America. To that I say, “Shut up, hippie.”
America is a country that for hundreds of years considered people of darker complexion to not even be a part of the human race.
America is not homogeneous. Neither in thought, nor in deed, nor in socioeconomic position nor in melanation. I posit that one of America’s greatest struggles, the colour-line, is also one of America’s greatest strengths. To erase that history and suggest that that past has no bearing on our future is disingenuous if not downright dangerous. Dangerous to America.
A post-racial America is a post-America, America.

So, anyhoods, Reverend Wright said some things that got people all riled up. It even got some people (Pat Buchanan) to claim that they have no idea why Black people
(1. Reverend Wright is but one man not an entire race. 2. I would say that it is America’s history of systemic disenfranchisement and racism that creates a dynamic where anytime a person of colour achieves any moment in the spotlight they immediately become THE spokesperson of The Race.)

are so upset and that they should instead be grateful:

“First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.
Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.
Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans.”

The media descended upon Reverend Wright and his association with Obama by storm, calling for Obama to renounce his pastor and mentor of 20 years for the few 30-second sound bites that had been leaked to the press.
Obama instead gave the most inspiring speech of my lifetime and showed himself to be a real statesman (and, dear I say) patriot.

And then, Wright said some more stuff and Obama was forced to publicly renounce him. In fact, just about anytime that Obama or his campaign say something unsavory there is an apology issued.

Ms. Clinton has yet to publicly respond to any of the shit that her campaign has been stirring. Dirty dirty pool. And despite all of that I was really still ready to give it to her for sticking to her guns and her fight.

And then, she said this here:
"Senator Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.
There's a pattern emerging here."

She’s right, the pattern emerging is this: Ms. Clinton cannot keep herself above the fray. She’s a dirty fighter, an Us vs. Them fighter and we’ve already had that in the White House for 8 years now.

Speaking with the paper, Clinton rejected the notion her comments were racially divisive in any way.

"These are the people you have to win if you're a Democrat in sufficient numbers to actually win the election," she said. "Everybody knows that."

Ms. Clinton just cannot keep herself from resorting to low blows. Low blows to the community that helped overwhelming sweep her husband into office in the first place. Low blows to a community that she has oft-repeated her love and respect of.

Ms. Clinton’s campaign has simultaneously tried to court me because I’m a woman but dismissed me because I’m a Black woman. I’ve been told by Clinton supporters that it’s my duty as a woman to vote for Ms. Clinton and that if I don’t vote for Ms. Clinton it’s simply because I’m Black. And now, Ms. Clinton herself is saying that I, as a middle-class Black woman who’s had some college education and is holding down an office job, do not count at all.

And she’s not apologized for it.
And this, this is the kind of behavior that makes me incredibly angry when my white female friends tout their support for Ms. Clinton. This is the kind of behavior that has left me wearied and battered and ready to explode.

This is exactly what I do not want in any President of my country and yet… if she gets The Nom, I’m going to be forced to swallow all of the wrongs that she has done to me so that the White House doesn’t go to McCain.


The Black Snob said...

This whole campaign season has involved a lot of intelligence insulting -- yours, mine, everybody's. Especially the whole racism v. sexism arguments since, as a black woman, I've experienced both and I really wish people would STFU on that one.

But in light of the Republicans insisting on running a pro-war nominee in the general as opposed to rolling over and dying, my options at stopping a third Bush term are limited. And I can't just pout and sit it out because both Clintons are behaving like Clintons. Nothing is a given in the fall.

One has to maintain a degree of perspective on the whole thing, so I understand your point.

PuckFinn said...

I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to respond. I think that I need to update my comment notifying preferences.

Now that the primary season is over I'm preparing my umbrellas for the future shit-storm to come.

So far I'm dismayed at the lack of "feminists" standing up to speak out against the attacks on Michelle Obama's character (which are products of both racism and sexism).
But, in light of what's at stake in November, I'm even more dismayed by the decisions being made to vote AGAINST Obama; not specifically for McCain but not Obama which is not at all helpful for the greater good (as I understand it).