Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jumping into Politics

A few months ago I was excited. The Democratic party had several very good candidates. All we had to do was pick the best and go forward. Yeah us!

Two weeks ago I did the math and concluded that it was going to be Obama. I would have been happy either way. Obama and Clinton both are people I can support and I would be happy with either of them. Okay, it was theoretically possible that there would be do-over primaries and it was possible that the superdelegates would over-turn the results of the state primaries and caucuses, but surely they wouldn't. Surely our own party would not do to us what was done to us in the national elections some eight years ago. Unthinkable. It was time for Clinton, whom I admire, to realize that would be bad for us and to step down.

How I would love her for doing that, for saying, "I think I could win even should win, but the cost to the party and nation would be too great. The most important thing for this nation is for our party to take back the White House. Obama will be a good president and I support him."

I allowed myself to imagine her making that speech and in my imagination I adored her, knew that any time in the future that she ran for office I would vote for her. She would have my loyalty forever. But I really couldn't imagine her doing it. Still, I thought, the superdelegates can put an end to this. They can see, surely, that there are only two options: we rally around around Obama or we tear each other apart. In my heart I prayed that the superdelegates would save us.

And then I learned how far out of the mainstream I am when clips of the Rev. Wright's sermons started appearing and I thought, okay, rhetorically over the top for a public address, but it wasn't a public address. I thought about papers read at feminist conferences where women feel free to express their anger uncensored. Things get expressed in strong language. I know how people who love their country, and love justice speak. I have read the language in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Sometimes it is disturbing. I got ahold of as much of Wright's sermon as I could find and thought well, I might say, "Here in America there is always enough money to build a bomb or fight a war, but never enough to care properly for children who have been starved, beaten and raped; enough for prisons, but not enough for schools. Does G-d look down upon us and say, 'well done, good and faithful servant?' No. G-d looks at us and weeps."

And I did not see that what I wanted to say about the country I love too much not to criticize was in substance all that different from what the Rev. Wright had to say.

And as the videos played over and over I said to my family, "See, they were afraid that Obama was a secret Muslim, but truth is that he is secretly a black man." Someone asked me if I wasn't upset that Obama was associated with someone who expressed himself with such extremism and I said no, that if it wasn't his pastor it would have been someone else. Somewhere the would have found a relative, an in-law, a room-mate, a co-worker who said something "scary black." Obama would be asked to disown someone he loved; he would be asked to prove to us that he wasn't the sort of black man that makes white people nervous. You know, one of those people who is angry about injustice.

I waited. Obama wrote a good speech, a speech that I could not get as excited about as some others because I hated that he had to write it. I hated that someone I admired so much had to distance himself from someone I found admirable. Republicans can make nice with evangelicals who scream that my children will destroy America and go to hell, but Obama must save his skin by distancing himself from someone who is angry about injustice.

There are only two paths. We can unite around a candidate who is articulate, smart, inspiring, and possibly able to help our country move forward in ways it badly needs to, or we can rip each other apart and pave the way for McCain to win.

Please, please superdelegates, save us.


  1. Nicely written. My husband and I run an Obama site if you care to visit. . . It's

  2. I agree and hope we can overcome this and see him elected. God help us all if he isnt and we have to deal with another republican term

  3. My sentiments exactly - thanks for putting them into words!


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