Pocochina’s Weblog

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on hope

Posted by pocochina on March 7, 2008

By and large, Clinton supporters, we’re a pretty fucking fabulous group. So likely I’m alone in the weird, not pleasant, tingling in my tummy when I hear Senator Obama sing his own praises. I don’t feel called to see the light when I hear this direct appeal: “I want to speak directly to all those Americans who have yet to join this movement but still hunger for change. They know it in their gut… But they’re afraid. They’ve been taught to be cynical.”

I haven’t joined that movement, and I hunger for change. But my gut, it’s not afraid, and it’s not cynical. My tummy tingles when I read that phrase because it’s not Clinton speaking to the cynics, the afraid. It’s Obama.

In my heart, in my bones, I am an optimist, and I am a patriot. I don’t want to hear about the evils of the system, I know them all too well, but my eyes are open, and I see that in spite of the obfuscation, of the lobbyist money and the military and prison industrial complexes, in spite of the seething sexism, racism, heterosexism, xenophobia, ableism – we have accomplished wonderful things, which are the beginnings of even more wonderful things. We haven’t found world peace yet, but we did end the Holocaust. We have gone in less than a hundred years from a country in which women could not even vote, to a country whose most powerful legislator is a feminist grandmother. No, we’re not a feminist paradise, but I think of Speaker Pelosi, and my eyes shine with what I know to be true hope. We’re not a country that has achieved racial parity, far from it, but we are a country that literally tore itself apart and stitched itself back together over its original sin of slavery. We have established Social Security, we have passed the ADA. We have an unbroken streak of peaceful transitions between governments that has lasted over two centuries. The election of President Hillary Rodham Clinton will not be a repudiation of this wonderful history, but a celebration of it, and will allow us to take eight more steps towards the light.

This country is a miracle, and its process, while far from perfect, is a fucking beautiful thing.

I’m voting for Senator Clinton for a huge number of reasons. I think what draws me most viscerally to her campaign is her matter-of-fact approach to government. Government exists, and can do great good or unspeakable evil. In her detailed, light-on-flattery, policy wonkish speeches, there is an inherent trust that the American people are listening, that we know and understand the utter necessity of good public policy, and that we care. Do we deserve her trust? I hope so, even though we haven’t shown it so far, but I want to pay back her faith in me with faith in her. I have always paid attention, have always cared, and have always shared her belief that since we have government, we are obligated to make it as good for all of us as possible. Senator Obama will, while claiming to stand on principle, compromise and hope he doesn’t get caught (I’m thinking particularly of his contortions on LGBTQ rights); Senator Clinton will compromise and trust us to know that it’s sometimes painfully necessary, and she has her eye on the ball. Senator Obama will tell you that we can, Senator Clinton will remind you that we’re doing it right now, and we need all hands on deck.

I’ve always been fascinated by news and politics, even before I really understood what they were. (True story of How Wee Pocochina Became a Democrat: My mom, a public school teacher, was talking in front of 8 year old me about how awful it was to be on strike. This was in 1992. I know it was in 1992 because I asked if that was George Bush’s fault, and when she evasively answered “yes, indirectly,” I told her I wanted to vote for Bill Clinton.) So neither senator was an unfamiliar face to me at the beginning of this campaign. But since I’ve been aware that there were actual people in charge of our government, since I had some vague grasp of the fact that we have choices in how we as a country choose to work, I’ve known who Hillary Clinton was, and I’ve genuinely liked her.

When Hillary Clinton was the First Lady, she literally had all the options in the world. She could have gone to tea parties, and instead she got to work. She defied the Department of State to fly to China to tell the world that women’s rights are human rights. She was, in the mold of Eleanor Roosevelt and Abigail Adams, an adviser to and conscience of the President. Those who would disrespect that are doing so because they disrespect women, plain and simple. I remember Republicans & Press Corps Gone Wild – I didn’t care as much about the president’s infidelity as I did about the way the media and opposition party leapt to humiliate this woman and her child, and the American people saw right through it. I remember the scorn the world tried to heap on her head, and the grace and strength with which she not only lived, but thrived.

As a US Senator, she has served on the Armed Services Committee, she has spoken with intelligence and courage on important issues. She fought for health care for the heroes of 9/11. She took on a hostile administration to ensure that American women would have over the counter access to emergency contraception. She has been a friend to gay & lesbian Americans. She was re-elected by a huge margin, even in traditionally Republican areas of her state. She has faithfully represented her constituency.

I support her because I am angry at those that would tear her down. I am angry at the calculated, cheerfully polled and tested misogyny coming from the Obama campaign. I am reviled by the press corps that has tried to ruin her life for nearly twenty years. My scorn for the right wing of the Republican party, which so crassly displayed their fear of her competence that they actually suggested they send her to Mars, or asked, unashamed in front of the world, how “we beat the bitch.” I’m infuriated that the liberal blogs, a cyberspace of such promise, have turned on her with the revulsion we all feel towards those who are truly our enemies.

I resent, deeply, the implication that because of the candidate I have chosen to support – this brave, brilliant woman with a spine made of titanium and a heart made out of gold – I am following some indoctrinated cynicism, and am afraid of – what, exactly? I don’t know.

I don’t need Daddy to hold my hand and protect me from the realities of power – power is scary, and ugly, and burns your eyes in the light of day, and all the criticisms in the world won’t change the fact that all we can do about that is try to put it in the right hands. I have always been the one I am waiting for. It is not news to me that we have problems in our political system, but I want them to be assessed and attacked realistically and openly.

I support Hillary Rodham Clinton not because I am cynical, but because I am optimistic; not because I am afraid, but because I try every day to emulate her courage; not because I lack hope, but because I cherish it in infinite reserves. She is strong, she is brave, and she stands on the cusp of true greatness. I am but one of millions of hands reaching her way.

Yes, she will.

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