THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF HOPE
I'm feeling rather low right now. And I think I know why that is.
Since the November elections of 2006, I have experienced a resurgence of hope that American voters were waking up to the horrific consequences of 12 years of total control of our government by conservative Republicans. The inevitable conclusion of that, I thought, would be an impressive victory for the Democrats in election 2008, and in particular demonstrate the choice of voters weighted towards progressive policies.
But now I'm seeing a divide as great in the Democratic Party as in the country as a whole. We have a fine (D) candidate for the presidency who is running on a message of hope, unity and change. He hopes for unity, which sure would be a change. After several decades of escalating demonization of our Party and progressive principles -- and tactically, of ourselves as suspect Americans -- I am not inclined towards the kind of hope that rests on the good will and intentions of the Other Side. I had HOPED for a different kind of unity: that among Democrats, we could finally agree that it was better to sacrifice a little ideological purity than to find ourselves, once again, so divided that the Republicans could conquer.
Now I see an invective and ugliness in the posts and comments of the various progressive blogs against an effective and credible candidate, Hillary Clinton, by the Obamamaniacs that I simply don't understand how we could have fallen so far, so fast.
I've been a prolific blogger for nearly five years (although I have really let it lapse since I changed jobs), and I've been a proud part of the progressive blog community. It was great in the race towards the 2004 presidential nomination to see a difference of choices among the Democratic candidates -- different blogs supported a variety of candidates, but coalesced enthusiastically around the eventual nominee.
But this time is different.
I read a great many blogs and MSM on a daily basis. And I have noted, with satisfaction, the fact that the few pro-Hillary (unfortunately, not the more influential or highly-trafficked) blogs regularly echo their commitment to support the Democratic nominee, no matter who it is. I have not observed a similar widespread commitment on the part of the Obamaites.
Some of my previously-favorite blogs have taken a tone so reminiscent of the right-wing disdain, even hatred, for Hillary Clinton, that I simply cannot process it. Daily KOS and Talking Points Memo, to mention two of my must-reads (checking every few hours) for years, are unrecognizable to me lately, disturbingly similar in tone and reporting to the anti-Clinton mainstream media. No Clinton gaffe, no campaign glitch, is too small for a campaign of derision and triumphalism. The fanatically pro-Obama blogs are practically indistinguishable from the right-wing campaigns against Clintons of yesteryear. And yes, the Clintonistas are counterattacking. Justifiably so.
Yet it leaches the hope from me. Hence my dispiritedness. I had hoped for unity in the party. Could it still happen? Should Hillary win the nomination, would Obamaites coalesce, in big voting numbers, around her? I don't doubt, but would still declare the importance of, our (Hillary supporters) not only voting but organizing for an Obama candidacy, should that be the result. That is my last hope.
It is my fear that a divided Democratic Party will be vulnerable to a McCain victory in the fall. And that is a terrifying prospect. Having expressed that to a few friends who used it to encourage me to throw my vote toward the so-called-safer-vote-Obama (all those polls, you know!), I responded by saying that I'll be damned if I'll let the opposition determine my vote.