Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Better Angels of Our Nature

My 2 cents: As a woman who supports feminist principles, I was initially conflicted about my support of Obama. I do not hate Hillary Clinton, & in general, I think it an incredibly positive/exciting primary given its historic significance. I will say, however, my decision not to support Hillary comes down to two things:

#1. in terms of the candidate that upholds, not all, but most (in my view) feminist principles (through actions, through issues) is Barack Obama-- despite the nefarious/distorting emails sent by NOW. This isn't just in relation to abortion issues - his grassroots work on poverty, his objection to the war, his questioning of prevailing political discourses (i.e. how is it helpful to anyone?), & his willingness to listen to those he fundamentally disagrees with in order to arrive at tangible outcomes/compromises that will provide relief for those needing it etc. Yes, he is a politician, I won't deny that, but one I genuinely believe wants to be a public servant first & foremost. Clinton has run a very perfect 'old-school' biggest complaint would be what I see as her reaching out to women when it helps her campaign (& the argument that because she's a woman she has women's best interests at heart) &, at the same time, catering to sexist tropes in letting(?) Bill Clinton campaign so heavily (seemingly in place of her). I think both she & Obama are in very very difficult spots concerning sexism, expectations of gender, gender & race political/cultural discourses etc. I know that this affects how Clinton is running her campaign, & where my guilt comes from....but.....

#2 Given their similar policy proposals/ideas on the issues (though I wouldn't say they're exactly the same), it comes down to their beliefs/ideas about power -- & I think Clinton's comment about LBJ/MLK says a lot - it says something about race, yes, but even more so about her ideas about where the power is in our democracy -- She believes it ultimately rests with the president, not with THE PEOPLE. I think Obama's appeal to others has to do with this important difference - He NEEDS these people & their votes, he knows it & the people know it -- He knows he NEEDS to listen to those in congress & the senate if there is to be any helpful/important legislation to be passed etc. He knows this because THIS is where the power is supposed to be (&, implicitly, this is what would be more than beneficial to 'return' to).

Especially given the recent stories about the super importance of the super delegates (& Clinton's 2 to 1 support from them) --each one of which is worth the equivalent of roughly 15,000 individual votes-- literally, they are 'super-humans'(!?!) -- I'm not sure Clinton's campaign has resonated with people because, despite what is SAID by her campaign, it is obvious that she knows the 'establishment' firsthand, & sees no problem with wanting to belong to it on ITS terms. This, of course, is due to her 'longer record' in politics, but I see no evidence to support her rejecting business as usual any time soon (or any reason why she should if she were to get the nomination). Obama is at an advantage in terms of this, & while any belief I have about whether he will remain true to these principles as president is supposition &, as the Clinton campaign puts it-- despite my own researching of the candidates' records etc., I am making "a gamble" -- I know that what's behind my 'gamble' is something truly important & should not be discouraged in ANY voter -- hope that finally I will have a president who, at the very LEAST, needs , & wants to, listen to ALL voters, who knows it is in the country's best interests (& his own) to do so.

UPDATE: I no longer feel guilty at all in terms of vigorously opposing Clinton -- for example, her "style not substance" - which is patently false & not based on facts - *seems* to be inferring something akin to affirmative action etc. Coupled with this, the execution of her answer to "Do you think Obama is a Muslim" was patently offensive to *everyone* & really speaks to her 'win-at-all-costs' (including costs to her own dignity) mindset in *thriving* on racism within her own party.

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