views both aft and stern

6/17/08

Earlier on in the political season, I made a few people fairly upset, one dear friend in particular, with my posts about Hillary Clinton. I tried writing an email several times, but my mood kept changing as the primaries wore on – swinging from righteous indignation to scorched-earth anger to mea culpa, and so on. So I’d like this entry to be an open letter about the subject.

The blog that got people most upset was this one (only eight sentences – now THAT’S economy in ranting) when I said “CAN WE PLEASE PUT OLD PEOPLE AND RACISTS ON AN ICE FLOE AND KICK IT OUT TO SEA? This country isn’t theirs anymore, and they have nothing left to offer except offensive jokes and car farts. It’s time to move the fuck on. A more enlightened future is waiting, and they’re not invited.”

I once wrote about the hierarchy of information, and thought that “blogs” rated somewhere above “text message” and below “voicemail” in terms of historical permanence. In other words, blogs are the first draft of your thoughts, and chances are pretty good you’re going to let out a few farts every once in a while. Especially when the blogger in question starts to get emotional.

By late April, Hillary Clinton had gone from being one of my heroes (whom I constantly defended) to someone I couldn’t stand to watch. Three things in particular made it clear for me:

1. The Florida/Michigan Debacle. My three-year-old daughter has a better sense of fairness and a vastly more sensitive moral compass than the Clintonites who demanded that these states be counted in full. It was brazen, shameless and indicative of terrible governance.

2. The Faux Populism. After Barack’s “bitter” comment in Pennsylvania, the sight of her doing bourbon shots at a bowling alley with Joe Americans made my skin crawl. Then she floated a “gas tax holiday” that was called irredeemably stupid by every economist of every stripe. She responded that she isn’t swayed by “experts”. That was such disingenuous crap that I’m surprised she didn’t explode. Hmmm, pretending to be a proletariat, calling everyone else “elitists”, pooh-poohing overwhelming evidence provided by every specialist in the field… who does that sound like?

3. The Fear Card. Hillary pulled out references to Bin Laden before New Hampshire, before Pennsylvania, and every other time she wanted a cheap bounce. The “3am” ad was totally uncool, and by the time she said the Republican was ready to be President and Obama was not, I was through. I’ve had it with fear: it put me through three years of therapy and six years of Celexa.

It was in this state of genuine anger that I wrote the blog that was so upsetting. Did I mean to say that all Hillary supporters were/are old, stupid, racists? Absolutely not, and I apologize profusely for my messy brushstrokes. I would have counted myself as a Hillary supporter before the conduct of her campaign became clear.

Do I really think people who voted for Hillary – and by extension, my “political opponents” – should be silenced? I have to admit, there have been moments when the answer would have to be “yes”, particularly back in the days leading up to the Iraq War. Why should my family bear the brunt of these insane political decisions by a moronic President and his asinine electorate?

Similarly, I didn’t want huge swaths of openly-racist Appalachia DECIDING FOR ME that we can’t have a black guy in the White House. It was infuriating. But that’s America, take it or leave it, and unless we’re leaving, we’re taking it. Hell, American Coastopia was a place in the mind, not on the map. So I’d like to apologize for that inference as well.

All progressives/Democrats/call-them-what-you-will basically want the same thing, and the mean-spirited primary season made that easy to forget. I’m on your side, and I will lay in the trenches with you long after our feet go numb.

Could I have been so magnanimous if Hillary had won? I don’t know, I’ll be honest… it would have been really hard. In November of 2004, our political will and spirit were completely broken, and Hillary, in some way, is paying for it. Mostly because her Democratic opponent came out of nowhere, and planted a seed we’d long since abandoned – optimism. In a way, I’m as surprised as you are.

0 thoughts on “views both aft and stern

  1. mom

    Ian, thanks for rescuing me from the ice floe.
    I still haven’t forgiven Hillary for her campaign, and I got really tired of her trademark smile and clapping and yelling (and fibbing), but I do think she is an effective senator. Maybe I forgive her a little, given her really good “support Obama: speech. Now I hope she comes through with the support she promised.

    Reply
  2. Piglet

    It’s weird…she did the right thing and finally, finally endorsed Obama…and really, that’s all I was waiting for. Within a couple of days I felt warm and fuzzy about the Clintons again.
    Only problem is the GOP ads to come, that will repeat all the footage of Clinton praising McAncient and claiming Obama ain’t ready. The fallout from those remarks is still to come. It’s a good thing McAncient has proved himself so completely unelectable, or I’d be worried about it.

    Reply
  3. Anne

    I am dismayed — no, make that disgusted — at accounts of Hillary supporters changing their affiliations so they can vote for McCain this November. How can you (whoever you are) let your small-minded need for “revenge” against the Obama campaign potentially cost this country its chance for new, compelling, smart leadership? (And, no, none of those adjectives apply to McCain; I’m sorry.)
    It’s giving me a headache, I tell ya. :-(

    Reply

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