You really need to read this guest post at Political Voices of Women, Catherine Morgan's remarkable combination of editorial and aggregator. There are links there to more than 400 women who blog about politics - and guest posts. And (full disclosure) yes, sometimes that includes to my work. But I digress.
On Wednesday, April 23, just after the Pennsylvania primary, Slim, whose blog is called No Fish, No Nuts, was Catherine's guest blogger. Slim's post, which first appeared on her blog, wrote a loving but sad analysis of the Clinton supporters at her county convention where local Democrats elected their delegates. Listen to this:
Obama’s voters are looking toward Obama as a standard bearer, as a point man for the change they want to see in the country. Hillary’s supporters, at least the older women among them, are voting for their surrogate: because they want to see a woman in the Oval Office before they die, and because they themselves were denied so many opportunities for advancement in their own lives.
I do not doubt that they also desperately believe in Hillary Clinton, but their investment in her goes much deeper than politics. Hillary Clinton is proof that they had it in them all along, the fire, talent and creativity, and they could have been leaders but for the glass ceiling that seemed to rise only inches a decade.
Slim also wrote that she was reluctant to offer these observations but that given polls showing many Clinton supporters saying they will vote for McCain if Obama gets the nomination, and some the other way around, she felt that times were so desperate that she had to weigh in. In her view, "We cannot afford another 4 years of war, debt and economic stagnation, the prescription of a McCain presidency. So we Dems cannot allow Clinton voters (or for that matter, I add, Obama supporters if it goes the other way - though they report this feeling somewhat less frequently) to take their ball and go home come November."
To that I say "amen!" I was a member of the "Children's Crusade" that was the 1968 anti-war presidential campaign of Senator Eugene McCarthy. We worked like demons through New Hampshire, did so well there that it was considered a win even though, technically, we lost, then saw Bobby Kennedy enter the race against us. We persisted, as did his supporters, until his assassination in June of 1968. After that, many of his supporters joined us, working still to try to elect a president who would stop the war. And then.
The riots in Chicago. The nomination of Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson's vice president and for way too long a staunch supporter of the war. And then. Many, many of my colleagues and friends indeed picked up their footballs and went home. To stay. Not only did they not work for Humphrey - that would have been very hard after what had happened in Chicago. They didn't even vote for him. Or vote at all. And that, my friends, is how we got Richard Nixon. Which is how we got Watergate. Which is how we got Jimmy Carter- who made such a mess that we got Ronald Reagan. Who took apart so much social safety net, environmental and regulatory and other federal function that we thought more was impossible. Until we got George Bush. Who decimated much of what was left, including much of our hope. Until now, when we have two candidates who stand for so much.
Of course that's simplistic, but what really really upsets me is that every time we educated activists, in our righteousness, take a walk because things aren't perfect, we aren't the ones who get hurt the most. People who are poor, whose kids go to bad schools, whose unemployment insurance runs out too soon, who no longer can afford even in-state tuition or, for many, community college tuition, to say nothing of HEALTH INSURANCE (an issue which reaches up into the middle class) -- and of course the war, where low-income people do most of the enlisting...these people are the ones who are hurt the most.
We let our singular perception of what's perfect become the enemy of the good - or at least better than bad - that we could help to bring into being. It's infantile. It's sad. It's shameful. And unless all of us in the blog universe who feel this way make a lot of noise and take lots of friends to lunch no matter WHO gets the nomination, it's going to happen again.
Thanks to Slim for her great post that inspired this rant.