Pocochina’s Weblog

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on divisiveness

Posted by pocochina on February 3, 2008

Or, why I’ll pass on our alleged generational crush on Senator Obama.

First of all, make no mistake about it – every reference to “divisiveness” (see also dirty Washington politics, unity, and bipartisanship) is not an attempt to hammer home a coherent political philosophy.  It’s a smack at HRC.  “But Pocochina,” I can hear you asking, “you think politics is hardball!  You LOVE that politics is hardball!”

Yes, and yes.  What I’m talking about, though, is some very sophisticated victim-blaming.  Does anyone think (yes, I realize that with “think” I’m leaving out a significant block of voters, known colloquially as “social conservatives,” but I’ll get to them in a moment) for a friggin’ second that Hillary Clinton woke up one day and said “I want to be divisive!  I want to be hated, lied about, called the most foul words that we as a society use, and I want it to happen every day, in front of the international press!  I want to spend the rest of my career apologizing for the most humiliating months of my life.  I’d especially love it if prominent conservatives would score points with the press by saying horrible things about my child.*  I think that will be good for me, good for my agenda and party, and especially good for the country!”  Though there are people who will argue, of course, that this is all a MASTER PLAN, orchestrated by HRC herself (or for bonus sexism points, Bill, so he can get back in the presidency through his wife), most people would see that such a supposition is crap.  So when Obama and his Adoring Fans cite Hillary’s alleged divisiveness as a reason to vote for him and not her, they are actively suggesting that we allow the Republicans to select our candidate, because they are loud and angry and scary.  Bad people did something to someone, so to make the bad people happy, punish the person they did it to, and then we will all – what?  Make s’mores together?  I don’t think so.  And if you couldn’t care less about feminism (though I can’t imagine why you’d be on my journal if that were the case) think about how that philosophy could apply to foreign policy.  Yeah.  That’s what I thought.  I’m as much of a proponent of diplomacy as anyone, but it doesn’t work unless you’ve got brass freaking Thatchers** behind it.

It doesn’t take a genius*** to figure out that much of the frothing hatred of HRC is not from her policies, but from overt misogyny.  I am not suggesting that everyone who will not vote for Senator Clinton is a woman-hating lunatic – I have no issue with people who actively disagree with her policies.  Sometimes I do actively disagree with her policies myself.  What I am suggesting is that much of that hatred has roots in misogyny, that she has been an easy Democrat to target simply because she is a woman and a feminist.  I am disturbed by the RAGING HATRED of HRC from some progressives, particularly progressive men.  You need not praise HRC or criticize Senator Obama to invoke a barrage of Hillary-hate; you need only suggest that you do not automatically DESPISE EVERYTHING SHE DOES.  So the expectation that I will OMG HATE HER SO MUCH, without any sort of examination of my motives therefore, is telling to say the least.

So it’s victim-blaming.  Hillary’s doing fine, she doesn’t need my sympathy, but it’s my bottom freaking line.  You don’t do it and expect my vote.

But even if I didn’t have such a visceral response to the tenor of his criticism of HRC specifically, I would still think it was bad politics.  Bipartisanship isn’t an end in and of itself.  It’s a tool – a useful one, mind – that you use when you need it.  Bipartisanship brought us the AUMF, and Guantanamo, and CJ Roberts and AJ Alito, and FISA.  Again, I’m not alleging that Senator Obama supports any or all of those things.  I am pointing out a flaw in this mythical, magical goal of “bringing the country together.”  Working with people is only good when you get something good done.  Chasing “unity” does nothing but drag the agenda to the right, to the right, ever to the right, and as the Great Beyonce anthem tells us, that is the wrong direction.  It allows the right wing to determine the terms of the debate.  How’s that working out for us so far, hm?

But.  Even accepting arguendo that alleged divisiveness is a valid criticism of HRC, and accepting that so-called bipartisanship is a good thing?  It’s still going to be a moot point the day after the convention.  Al Gore was divisive by the time the right wing was through with him.  John Kerry is a war hero, for God’s sake, how did his so-called electability work out for the party?  There is a well-funded minority of the GOP that’s going to FUCKING HATE all Democrats, and indeed, everyone to the left of the Kaiser.  It’s time to stop banging our heads against the wall, chasing their support.  It’s time to stop assuming that everyone in the country is reasonable.  Most of us are, but some people are not, and reasonable people seem to be easily misled in election years.  So let’s go with someone who has learned from long, hard experience where to draw the line.

Vote for Hillary.

*Memo to the world:  John McCain is a fucking douchebag.  Sexism and homophobia are hysterical on their own, but when you use them together to go after a defenseless kid?  That’s comedy!  I wonder if the Straight Talk Express has a two-drink minimum.

**For the uninitiated, “lady-balls.”  Stephen Colbert = True Feminist.  And Teh Handsome.

***ETA:  Even if it did take a genius, that’s no excuse.  He clearly is one.  More of us should be able to see through it, though.

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