My fellow Obama supporters. Tonight is a night of celebration. We have won a decisive victory in North Carolina, and although we are just shy, Indiana went about as good as we could have possibly hoped. Tonight, the message is clear. Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.
Even the mainstream media and the pundits are finally acknowledging this fact. There will be pressure in the coming days from both the media and those inside Senator Clinton's inner circle for her to suspend her campaign in the coming days. It may be tomorrow, it may be a week from now, or it may be after June 3rd. But one thing is clear. This campaign is winding down, and we have won.
So I have a simple request for my fellow Obama supporters, below the fold.
Lets make a promise to end the Clinton bashing tonight. Yes, Hillary Clinton will probably not drop out of the race right away, and she will probably continue to do things that will upset a large portion of this community. I understand that you will be frustrated, but I am asking for my fellow Kossacks to look at the big picture, and understand that this is not in the best interest of the Democratic party, and not in the best interest of Barack Obama's candidacy for the presidency.
I'll be honest. This place has gotten pretty toxic towards Hillary Clinton lately. I know that she has done a lot to upset the members of this community. Hell, she's done a lot to upset me. And I've been fairly vocal about that on this site. But more and more lately, it has gone past normal criticisms, and has become pure hostility. The comments and diaries have been increasingly filled with name calling and labeling. The discourse has spiraled into a level of discourse that no longer helps Barack Obama unify the party, and only hurts him in that goal.
The truth is, DailyKos used to be an incredibly powerful Democratic blog. In the last 4 months (about when I started posting, but I lurked for years beforehand), the site went from being a Democratic blog (at least in respect to the presidency), to an Obama blog. In the process of doing that, we have managed to be hostile enough to run the large majority of Clinton supporters off this site. Now that Obama has secured all but secured the nomination, it is our time to start welcoming these people back to this site. They can help us build this blog to what it once was (don't get me wrong this blog is still incredibly powerful and influential, it has just lost some of it's punch by driving away a fair number of it's members), which is the most powerful grassroots organization in the Democratic party?
To start to bring these people back into the fold, we need to drop the negativity, and start being more positive. Despite what some may think, calling Hillary Clinton a Republican, or a sexist name, or making a sexual joke about Bill is not the way to make any new friends. All that will do is continue to polarize the party, and make continue to turn people away from this community. So drop the negativity. Resist taking shots at Hillary Clinton, even if you feel you are justified. It will help make us mend the rifts that have been caused by this prolonged primary.
If any of you listened to Barack Obama's victory speech tonight, he talked about the need to unify the party around the eventual nominee. Let's take to Senator Obama's message and start to behave in the way he would want us to be. That means continuing to enthusiastically support Senator Obama, but to create an environment where all Democrats feel welcome.
In 2009, President Obama will thank us for this.
UPDATE: I wanted to respond to a couple of the comments in the thread. I don't think we need to give Hillary Clinton a completely free pass on everything. We can, however, frame our arguments in a much more positive manner than we have in the past. Just stating what you think Clinton did wrong and why you think it was wrong is a lot more effective and lot more positive if it's done without the name calling and the mocking that normally accompanies most posts about Clinton (I'm guilty of doing it to). The way we phrase our arguments makes a big difference.
I also don't think I'm suggesting that Clinton supporters were somehow purged or run off this site. People choose to come and go of their own free will, and no one is physically preventing them from coming back. However, you do have to admit that this is a pretty shitty atmosphere for a Clinton supporter to come in to.
SECOND UPDATE: Thanks for putting this on the Rec list. I know that a good number of you disagreed with my premise, but I am glad that it is starting an honest discussion on how we should focus in the future. I wanted to include a comment from Sab39 that I thought summed up what I was trying to say very nicely:
I feel the same way as you do about her campaign and about her. It doesn't matter, though. At this point on we should play nice PERIOD. If something said by a Clinton supporter upsets us to the point that we can't say anything that isn't a furious rebuttal or a negative comment about her, we should say NOTHING.
Sure, keep a watchful eye; if anything is happening that might actually change the outcome of the race, act to prevent it. But don't do that by putting her down or her supporters, no matter how tempting it might be. We need them - or even if you don't believe that we NEED them, Obama's whole message is about getting over division and that every state and every voter counts. Obama has tried to be the bigger person in this campaign and we need to live up to the example he sets.
We need to remember that this is the principle that Barack Obama has built his campaign on. This is why his campaign is holding a 50 state voter registration drive. This is why Obama volunteers have affectionately coined the term "Obamacans". Barack Obama's campaign is about bringing together all people, regardless of race, gender, ideology, political leaning, or candidate they supported in the primary. He has asked us to transcend the politics of negativity and division. Even if others are not keeping up their end of the bargain, let's try to keep up ours. I have failed to do that many times in the past, but this diary is my pledge to do so in the future. It looks like some of you are ready to join me.
On that note, I am heading to sleep. I'm going to wake up in about 5 hours to get ready for work, so I will check back in then, and respond further if the discussion is still ongoing.
THIRD UPDATE: A lot of people in the comments seem to be very intent on assigning blame over who started the negativity in this campaign, and which side is more responsible for it. I have no interest in doing that. I don't feel it is a productive way to move forward. If we focus on that, it's an argument that we'll be having through November with Clinton supporters, and will stand in the way of unifying the party. Some conflicts never end because the sides are more concerned about assigning blame than reaching reconciliation.
I also strongly disagree that it is the responsibility of Hillary Clinton and her supporters to make the push towards unity. We are the ones who have won, so we are responsible for building the coalition that will put our candidate into the White House. This is the burden we bear as winners. Just like it was the responsibility of Kerry supporters to reach out to Dean and Edwards supporters once he won the nomination, it is the responsibility of Obama supporters to reach out to Clinton supporters. We can hope that Hillary Clinton and her supporters will actively join us in our attempt to unify the party (and I think if we start to act more positively, we make it easier for them to do so). However, our actions do not have to be dependent on their actions. We alone are responsible for our own behavior.