Monday, April 21, 2008

An Open Letter to Pennsylvania Voters

Back in January, I posted an open letter asking the voters of my birth state, Iowa, to vote for my candidate, John Edwards. Iowa voted Obama, and at the time I was not supporting Obama at all. Some of his more fanatical supporters helped me cement my dislike of Obama as the Democratic candidate. At the time, I said that, despite living in Illinois and having voted to put him in the Senate, I felt he was playing up to both sides, maintaining the status quo too much, taking money from Big Pharma and from corporations. John Edwards was, at the time, the only Democratic candidate with an accessible plan for nationalized health care, which is one of the most important issues facing us today, especially as our economy slides further and further into the toilet. I did not think, in good conscience, that I should vote against a real health care plan because, well, I need a health care plan.

Today, I'm asking the people who live in the Cradle of Liberty to vote for Barack Obama.

I know a lot of people who don't really care if Obama or Clinton wins, as long as it's a Democrat. I hate this attitude. It's not only thoughtless, it's also cynical. Plus, it assumes that the Democrats even have a chance of winning. I've bristled for the past two years as people have told me up and down "It's the Democrats' race to lose" and "All a Democrat has to do to win this year is show up" and especially "All a Dem has to do to win is not be Bush." Yeah, sell it somewhere else, because that's the same thing people were saying in 2004, when we got four more years of President Duh. If my life experience has shown me one thing, it's that the Democrats have a history of getting so cocky that they lose. Just by showing up.

I'm worried that this year's election will see the same thing happen. There's been so much name-calling and ad hominem attacking and lying and tiresome garbage, and that's just on the Democratic side. It's old. People are tired of it, so very tired of it. And they know that, after the convention finally decides the nominee, they're going to have to go through this again leading up to the November presidential election. A lot of Democrats feel Hillary Clinton should just drop out of the race, as though having an actual election--an important aspect of democracy--is going to ruin the party forever. That's silly, but I understand why people feel that way. The venom between Obama and Clinton is so poisonous you'd think they were members of opposing parties. But they aren't. They're on the same side.

Well, actually, it seems like Clinton is on her own side and Obama is on America's. That's the simplest way I can simplify it. Senator Clinton and her husband have proven that they will say and do anything in order to secure the nomination, and in their typical way, they're burning all of their own bridges to get it. Hillary Clinton's scorched-earth policy is polarizing so many people that there's no telling how all of this will end. She's going to have to be dragged away from the nomination by armed men with her teeth marks still in it. Even Captain Ahab thinks she's a little too obsessive.

The final straw for everyone involved should be the way she tried to throw Farrakhan's name out during the Wednesday "debate" (which I've since seen online--what a sad joke). Why doesn't she just come out in a white sheet and tell America we should be afraid of black people because they might mix with our women and get revenge for slavery? Because that's almost what she did. She knows that there are a lot of ignorant white people out there who are terrified by Farrakhan, who has absolutely nothing to do with the Obama campaign. Reverend Wright knows Farrakhan? Guess what, Hillary? Lots of people know people who know...other people! By that logic, people should be calling you on your connection to Penthouse because, you know, your husband slept with Paula Jones and then her pictures were in Penthouse so, *gasp!*, HILLARY CLINTON HAS A PORNOGRAPHY PAST! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

But of course no one would say that because it would be fucking stupid. Just like trying to scare white people into voting against a black person in the year 2008 is fucking ignorant. All Senator Clinton has shown us in the past couple of months is that she's incapable of winning the majority of votes with her ideas, her political past, her personality, or her repeated lies (sniper fire, my ass, Senator). She can only do it by implying her campaign slogan is "No Nigger President," and that is disgusting. And she dares to compare herself to Martin Luther King Jr? She came across like a bigot in that "debate." A bigot on an old-fashioned smear campaign.

Hillary, you voted for the war. Repeatedly. And you didn't own up to it.

You lied. A lot.

There are a lot of people who are voting for Obama because of the movement. People are more swept up in the movement for change than they are in Obama himself. And you know what? Right now, I think that's a fine reason to vote for him. Because on the other side we've got McCain, who represents the old way (partially because he actually appears in the bible as one of Moses's right hand men). He's a stolid guardian of The Way Things Are. But The Way Things Are is not the way we need them to be. We need health care. We need a healthy economy. We need a fair wage. We need openness and courage and hard work and an end to this pointless war. We need to throw off the shackles of fear and corporations and being told that the entire world is out to get us because we're "too successful" and "too free." McCain is more interested in keeping things the way they are. That's Bush thinking. That's the rhetoric and the inattention that's led us towards destruction for the past seven and a half years.

Senator Clinton doesn't represent the future, either. She's the Beltway. She's Lieberman. She's a closet conservative who thinks it's alright to lie and cheat and steal her way to success. I know, I really do, that many in America would love to elect a woman president. I would too. But not this one. Let this one go back to the Senate and make it hard for kids to buy videogames and whatever the hell else she was doing while she was marking time before a presidential run. Actually, I'd say don't even vote her back into the Senate, but that's me.

Does Senator Obama represent change? Is he ready to be president? Is he tested enough?

Does any of that matter at this point? What's happening now is bigger than one candidate. It's become progress vs. tradition. We want progress, because tradition has kept us poor, kept us meek, kept us in fear, kept us from capturing the future, kept us in a cycle of servitude to creditors, politicians, and corporations. Clinton is tradition. She's a surface change and nothing more. And more than that, Obama has the support to win change. He's got millions behind him. And more than that, he urges us to listen to one another, to understand one another, and to help one another. When was the last time you heard anyone say that kind of thing? Bush has told us to fear one another, to go shopping, to ignore America as it went down in flames around us. He told us he was protecting us; instead, he spied on us and took our money and made the world hate us.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not letting my hope blind me. The Democrats haven't done anything we elected them to do in 2006. They haven't ended the war. They haven't stopped the ravenous Bush administration from doing whatever they want. And the Democrats are just another group of politicians, protecting themselves instead of representing the people. I think idealism can be very dangerous. But what hits the nail on the head for me is that Obama is a decent guy. When was the last time you could say that about a candidate? He never called Clinton on her lying. He never called her on the fact that when she and her husband were having marital difficulties over Monica Lewinsky, their spiritual counselor was Reverend Wright. The kind of decency you never see in a campaign anymore. Doesn't that at least signify something about him?

Pennsylvania, I know you have it in you to do the right thing. Don't worry about whether Obama can win in November; one battle at a time. This is your chance. Please, please, please think carefully about who you're voting for. Remember that it does matter who the Democratic candidate is.


Anonymous said...

Very well spoken.

I liked Hillary fine in the beginning and preferred some of her stances despite the obvious reservations - being married to an overrated numbskull and refusing to disavow voting for the war most prominently.

But then a couple funny things happened.

One is that she became petty and started to use Republican attack points against her opponent of the same party. I found it loathsome and terribly beneath her.

The other is that her opponent rose the occasion several times in the finest, most admirable behavior I have ever witnessed a presidential candidate indulge in. You know what I'm talking about - Obama has consistently proven that he can deal with problems in a reasonable and intelligent manner AND that he can speak with candor and stand by his words. In that realm, he is simply impressive in a way no other presidential candidate has ever impressed me.

Add to that his wife, who is just an awesome person (and gorgeous!) and who I would be immensely proud to have as our first lady . . . and who knows what in the future.

My only reason for wishing Hillary would drop out is that I'm tired of her giving Republicans more ideas for an attack on Obama - and that there are people in our country who just fucking hate her and will not vote for her, period. I could deal happily with her as the president, but I don't think that's going to happen - and John McCain seems poised to finish Bush's job through his sheer Republican idiocy.

Megan said...

"The Democrats haven't done anything we elected them to do in 2006."

Yep. My brother and I were just yelling to the skies about this over the weekend. Nothing like some hard cider and a good long complaint about your party to keep the evening lively.

I did vote for Hils in the primary here in CA. It almost feels like that was a whole presidency ago.

Ian said...

I very much like Obama. I went to inner-city schools my whole life and his message about race-relations in the US is spot-on in my experience. His election would be inspirational beyond all rational bounds.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Well reasoned and well written.

SamuraiFrog said...

John: Thank you.

I absolutely agree with you about the way Obama has remained reasonable and intelligent. Sometimes I think the media and Hillary Clinton just desperately want him to crack and get angry, and he won't, and I am impressed by that. He doesn't laugh it off like Clinton and Reagan did, he simply answers back and keeps his composure.

The funny thing about Clinton is that she seems to really think that the Republicans can't attack her anymore because everything's out there. Bullshit; even Rush is telling people to vote for Hillary and not Obama, because the Republicans are just sharpening their knives for her. She will go down in flames. Four more years of Republicans.

Megan: I didn't even vote for president in the primary (it was a couple of days after Edwards dropped out; I voted on a referendum and for a Congressperson), but yeah, it feels like a long, long time ago.

Ian: I went to public schools in one of the richest suburban areas in the US, and his message about race-relations applies there, too. I like that a couple of times he's basically said that people are bitter and upset and have genuine fears that too many in Washington dismiss as distorted and made-up (and, hilariously, Clinton and McCain then try to dismiss them as distorted and made-up; who's reaching us, really?).

Dr. Monkey: Thank you.