Yes it was horrifying as only HRC can be these days, every day in a more spectacular way, we know this. Sad, but we know this and it's time to move on. Perhaps tomorrow she will say that Ted Kennedy's latest bill gave her a headache or something even more tone deaf than today's extravaganza, I hope not but it could happen. Eventually, when she becomes totally unhinged and sends her operatives to follow Sen. Obama around with a giant sound system blaring Leonard Cohen's "Joan of Arc," maybe then Al Gore or Barbara Boxer or somebody will grow some sort of spine and step in and kind of lead her, sobbing and speaking in Beltway tongues thought long-lost, into the shadows to recuperate from a Coronation gone so mind-shatteringly awry.
But no one ever got rich betting on the vertebrae-integrity of Democrats, not on this new breed of boneless Vichy "(d)" anyway. Leave it at this: if I can't even see myself trusting you not to say the bollocks-deepin'est Dumbest-ass possible thing at party or social gathering over here at The Dirty, then there surely is no way you need to be within a zip code of the White House, whether you're a man, a woman, or transgendered nun named Larry, I just don't care. No Presidency, no VP, forget it; 8 years of Closed Minds and Open Mouths is plenty, thanks for playing.
OK, we know that it's not enough just to decry her boneheaded circus moves, to Move On Up like Curtis would want us to we have to get a bit deeper, Keep On Pushin' so we can say (in 6 months and henceforth) that We're a Winner. Can I get a bit deeper? Let's begin with a story; I believe it's always clearest when you root it in ostensible reality:
I called my mom on Mother's Day, at about 9 AM her time, to wish her the bestest day and tried to help her with the one or two words she wasn't getting in the Sunday NY Times crossword. See, my moms has 2 Master's Degrees and can do those NYT crosswords with one lobe tied behind. So, in the midst of this, and without a shred of prompting from me, she just blurts out "I ain't voting for that damn Obama, no way!!! Maybe in 10, 20 years but not now, he hasn't earned it! He's a nobody!" She then proceeds to tell me that it being Mother's Day, she gets to say whatever she wants with all the "polite conversation" filters disabled for the day.
So I reply that I wasn't sure that she'd noticed that all the Somebodies that have been hard at work safeguarding our Republic and making sure their hard-won and multifaceted "experience" is applied in the competent stewardship of our political system (and really our culture as a whole)... I just wasn't sure she'd taken note that millions of us have no health care, that the entire world pretty much despises us for reasons real and imagined, that gas is probably going to get up to hmmmmm, 6 dollars a gallon? Seven in the summer, at this rate? That all the Somebodies, the careerists... well that the last 40 years have featured pretty much zero progress in terms of government, just a partisan stalemate producing little (Clean Water Act, Roe v. Wade) or nothing of real value. Because they've been too busy preserving their positions to even want to go out on a limb and actually legislate anything that might make the lives of any of the millions of people they allege themselves to serve any better, no significant social legislation has passed since the year I, her first child, was born:1966. Of course I am adopted and she didn't meet me until 1967, but that's another diary. My basic point was that President Obama + Dem supermajority in Congress brought on by Repub ethical meltdown of last 14 years = significant possibility of substantive real-world progress on issues that mean something to your life as it is lived, as well as millions (given the foreign policy implications, billions?) of other people's.
At the end of my little insta-rant, she kind of pauses and goes, "Well, even if you're right, so what, he'll only be killed on his second day in office anyway!" At that point I just kind of dropped it and said, OK, we'll revisit this discussion in the Fall, when it matters in terms of what I am gonna need to say to you to make you understand why you must vote for this guy on 11/4. It took me until the next day to really get deeper into what she said at the end there, it took me to understand that she was 18 in 1960, too young to vote for JFK but transfixed (like everyone else) by him. That her first day as a NYC Public School Teacher was 3 years later on Friday, 11/22/63, and she and everyone else got sent home early that day. Like around, uh, lunchtime... you know the story.
Then I realized that in Spring 1968 she was maybe ready to vote for RFK that Fall. And I started to piece it together with what I hear a lot of in the 'hood down here in the neighborhood affectionately known as the Lower Bottoms (near the West Oakland BART station): that "we love Obama, but he will be shot so what's the use?" thing. That people are afraid, that my mom and my neighbors are alike in that they are scared to give their hearts away again because they have been hardened by tragic experience watching the Kennedys and the MLKs and the Malcolms and the Medgar Evers and so forth being murdered in front of their eyes. If you think once bitten makes you twice shy, give "many times widowed" a spin and you can see where I'm going with this.
We have to have Compassion, we have to get past the noisefest of today's creepy Tonya Harding-on-Robert's-Rules-of-Order moment or whatever it was and see what's driving this so we can address it, because we owe it to Sen. Obama, ourselves, the country and the world... but especially him because as I read in the other diary that inspired me to write this one,
he's out there every day with who-knows-how-many death threats coming at him, with his wife and daughters right there too. He is putting it all on the line for us every day, pushing all his (not insubstantial) chips in Life to the middle of the table for us, and if the totality of that is lost on anyone then they have lost their minds... they have been driven insane and inhumane by the thirst for whatever-it-is-that-they-are-thirsting-for and they have become a danger to themselves and others.
No, people are in pain because the recent history of the USA suggests to them that if they were to acknowledge whose campaign Sen. Obama's kind of reminds them of (hint: in a sick-n-twisted way, HRC did so within the last 24 hours), they would somehow become invested in him and his candidacy is a way that they feel would only be eventually shattered by his (inevitable to them) assassination. I think there's a lot more of this out there, maybe just as much if not more than the oversimplistic race thing: the "I would never vote a Black man for President, period" vote that poor Hillary seems to covet so much, not because she's racist but because those folks are a big part of all she's got left in the tank.
I guess the purpose of this diary is for people to comment as to what creative ways can be found to allay this fear in people, this pre-grief response we see around us not just in the immediacy of what happened with HRC yesterday, but in the general tone: this 3000 pound gorilla in the room that is perhaps driving more of this (historic, mindblowing, utterly, unimaginably unprecedented) election than we maybe want to talk about, because it isn't easy to talk about. It is easy, however, to get caught in the stupidness that surrounds this stuff and make what happened yesterday all about Sen. Clinton, embarassing as she may have been these last few months.
Thanks for reading and Keep On Keepin' On.