An Open Letter to Hillary Supporters Vowing to Vote for McCain

[Also posted at my other blog, Angry Grrl's Rants.]

Let me say that I understand. You're angry, disappointed, and disillusioned. You feel betrayed. Some of you are second-wave feminists who are pissed off that the nation has turned its back on the chance to make history by electing the first female President.

The guy I volunteered for, gave money to, and got up at the ass-crack of dawn for on at least one occasion -- Jim Neal -- lost in NC's Senate primary to someone I feel is little more than a slight improvement over the current holder of the Senate seat.

When I first heard he was getting into the race back in October of last year, I put my cynicism aside and appealed to the better angels of our natures. "My home state is forward-thinking in a lot of ways; surely the voters will recognize the best candidate," I said to myself.

As a member of the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, I was crushed that my fellow voters did not embrace the chance to elect an outstanding progressive Democrat, who is coincidentally gay, to the Senate seat once held by Jesse Helms. Right after the primary, I felt bitter, betrayed, and like all my work had been for nothing. I felt silenced, like my voice, and the voices of everyone who voted for Jim Neal, would be ignored going into the general election.

So Hillary supporters, I get what you're feeling, I really do. And you need some time, time to grieve, express your anger, and come to terms with the fact that the primaries didn't return the results you worked so hard for.

That said, I've been in Obama's camp for a long time, ever since his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3mOyuJvX8U

Yes, despite being a woman who just turned 40 this year, I've never been a Hillary supporter. Just like I've never been a Kay Hagan supporter.

But just like I'm putting aside my feelings and voting for Hagan to unseat Elizabeth Dole come November, had Obama's and Clinton's positions been reversed, I would be voting for Hillary in the general election.

Would I be upset and disappointed, angry and bitter? No doubt. I've felt those things since late on May 6th when it became apparent that Jim Neal wasn't going to make history for North Carolina.

But that doesn't mean I don't have my eyes on the larger picture, which is defeating the Republicans on November 6th.

I urge you all, from the bottom of my heart, to please read this press release from Ellen R. Malcolm, founder of Emily's List:

http://www.emilyslist.org/news/releases/2008_dem_nomination_malcolm_statement/

Among her many good points are these:

Those of us who have been wholehearted supporters of Sen. Clinton feel disappointment and sadness, even anger, that this opportunity to elect a fine candidate and the first woman president is passing us by. So many EMILY’s List members put their all into this campaign -- money, yes, but also time and energy traveling to primary states, working phone banks, and canvassing precincts. My heart is with you, as I am working through my own emotional turmoil. I fervently believe that this anger and grief will subside, leaving me with a deep sense of pride at what Hillary has accomplished for women. But I have not yet reached that point in my journey, and I know many of you feel the same way.

EMILY’s List members, like all Democrats, are experiencing varying emotions -- but we are unified in our determination to undo the damage created by George W. Bush and the Republicans. I am confident that our party will unify as well, and come together to take the White House in November. And, once again, EMILY’s List will unleash the political power of women to help Democrats win at every level in 2008 so we can begin to rebuild a progressive America.

The differences between Sens. Obama and McCain dwarf the nuanced policy differences between Obama and Clinton. We can never forget what John McCain stands for: continuation of the war in Iraq, minimal changes on health care, economic policy that rests on tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, and a steadfast determination to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Electing John McCain is simply perpetuating the policies of George W. Bush. For the country’s sake, we cannot let that happen.

Also -- if you're operating under the theory that McCain is a maverick, an independent, some sort of centrist, moderate Republican, please read the following "10 Things You Should Know About John McCain" from Moveon.org:

http://pol.moveon.org/mccain10/email.html?rc=homepage

So in closing, to all of you Hillary supporters who are vowing to support McCain in the general election, please think again. Take the time you need to reconcile yourselves to the results of the primary process, as I myself am doing with our Senate race, and consider what's the best way to keep four more years of failed Bush policies from becoming a reality.

Thank you.

Comments

Angry grrl, I appreciate the sentiment...

And who knows what will happen in Nov. But after repeatedly being told we didn't matter, we didn't "get" it, that we were racists, with the pundits and the media heaping abuse after abuse (I've stopped watching CNN or MSNBC), that we should drop out race after race after race (even though winning many of those), and the abuse on the netroots to us...the "kiss and make up" routine is a little too quick in coming.

I'm not saying it won't happen, but it will take a long time. I've spoken to alot of Clinton supporters who are changing to unaffiliated voter status as a result of the delegate-stealing at the RBC Committee meeting. I'm not one of those, but I think there will have to be a lot more than "you lost, so now you're part of us!" message coming from Obama supporters. And, of course, there are some of his supporters (hopefully a minority) telling her 18 millions voters to just piss off...

I've heard some Obama supporters throw out Roe v. Wade as reason to ride the unity pony ... but that's just not enough anymore. There are larger issues at stake, and the burden is on the Obama folks and the Democratic Party organization to win us over, not on us to just blindly switch, and I'm not sure I have any suggestions right now for y'all on how to do that. ...maybe I will eventually..

But, right now, I'm just not ready to make nice...

If the shoe were on the other foot

I for one would be hook, line and sinker behind Hillary, despite her attacks on his "readiness" to be Commander in Chief.

I can't speak for anyone else, and don't intend to. What "other people" are or aren't going to do is up to them. Just as whatever you're going to do is up to you.

Are you going to wait three years to come to the conclusion that Obama is light years better than McCain? Three months? Three weeks? Three days? Three minutes? Three seconds?

And yes, Roe is enough.

ADDENDUM: Hillary's speech was truly magnificent. I brought tears to the eyes of my entire family. Class act all the way.

Likewise

I for one would be hook, line and sinker behind Hillary, despite her attacks on his "readiness" to be Commander in Chief.

Yes. I've said from the beginning of the primary process that she wasn't my first choice, but if she won the nomination, I'd gladly vote for her. And as a woman of childbearing years who's felt the chilling effects of Bush's presidency on women's rights, saving Roe v. Wade is absolutely a good enough reason, in my opinion, to not support McCain.

OTOH, I'm not exactly rushing to "play nice" with Kay Hagan, so I really do sympathize with the Hillary folks not immediately flocking to Obama's banner.

Believe me, I'm not ready to make nice either

Seriously. I get where you're coming from. For one thing, I'd like from our Democratic nominee for Senate some answers on the issue of marriage equality. I don't want to feel like the LGBT-and-allies bloc is going to be ignored or thrown under the bus, or taken for granted, because what other choice do we have? Six more years of absentee landlord Liddy? I don't think so.

And I agree that Hillary faced some staggering examples of sexism during the campaign. I'm not even going to get into which was worse, the sexism leveled at her, or the racism leveled at Obama; I've facilitated sexual assault support groups where people occasionally get into "my abuse was worse than yours," and it sucks. All abuse is bad. All sexism is bad. All racism is bad.

All I'm asking is that after all the Hillary folks have taken the time you need to express whatever you need to feel, that you all at least look at the facts about McCain before deciding to break away and vote for him.

You don't have to embrace Obama today or tomorrow or the next day -- really. I can't ask y'all to do something I'm struggling with my-own-self.

Well put

You've said what a lot of us are thinking. I'm another voter that will be changing to unaffiliated status simply because the democrats are not the party of fairness and equality they claim to be.
When my candidate dropped out I followed the contest between Obama and Clinton with interest. The degree of misogyny that has been exposed within the party is astounding and the biased media coverage was nothing short of a betrayal. Discourse was frequently reduced to its lowest level and the most vile and irrelevant comments made. Racism is a real factor however legitimate concerns and questions have been dismissed with the all encompassing "you must be a racist."
After being dismiissed and then being expected to toe the line I'm not ready to make nice. I've haven't decided if I'll be voting or who I'll be voting for. I just wanted to let you know you're not alone.

Don't give up on the party, Ben.

That goes for you too, Cap.

This primary contest has shown us two things: 1) racism and sexism in this country have declined to the point where they are not insurmountable obstacles, and 2) racism and sexism are still very much alive, and must be (continually) combated.

The Democratic Party, while far from perfect, is undoubtedly the best mechanism to fight these two anachronisms.

Just a note

I should have said earlier -- I'm registered Unaffiliated and have been for many years now...

I'm newly unaffiliated

But I wouldn't vote for John McCain if my life depended on it. Literally.

I understand the wisdom of a gentle approach to getting Clinton supporters on the bus, but for any person with a progressive bone in his body, this is a no-brainer. As I said to Cap, when will they be "ready?" Three months? Three weeks?

If they know they're eventually voting for Obama, this seeking to be convinced is nothing more than petulance. If they know they're voting for McCain, they are irrelevant. And if they don't know who they're voting for, if they're truly undecided, then they should listen to Hillary Clinton.

Oh I'm with you on McCain

Mainly I registered as Unaffiliated because I didn't like setting my preference in stone (haha, if anyone here follows astrology, I have a Libra moon). In every election I've voted in, except for the first one, I've voted primarily Democratic. I think of myself as progressive, even if my registration says "Unaffiliated." :)

I blame the media

for reducing the primaries to mean-spirited sound bites and for pandering to the lowest motives that sadly still linger deep in the American makeup.

However, the threat of leaving the Democratic party over an exciting, unprecedented well fought contest between two great candidates who are very close in their platforms just rings hollow in my ears. If a person is that weakly a Democrat, then she never really was one to begin with.

Progressive Democrats of North Carolina

I understand the hurt of not winning.

After all, I'm a Democrat who lives in Moore County!! :)

I think we need to recognize the enormity of what this primary meant. IT'S HUGE. The people would have won, either way. Now, women will be taken seriously. Black Americans will be taken seriously.

WE WIN. And there is still so many more battles to fight, we need to be united to fight them. We need to fight for the people who work 3 jobs and still can't make ends meet. We need to fight for women who make less money than men doing the same damn job.

And we have to be united to win the fight.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Absolutely, an historic primary

And I agree, either way, we've won. I also know that the Hillary camp, especially some of the more vehement ones, need time to regroup. I really just hope they don't continue down their stated "cutting off the nose to spite the face" path.

They won't.

I know a lot of people who are in this camp - many of them women from the generation just ahead of mine. These are the women who fought hard for Roe v. Wade, and many other rights that women my age and younger take for granted. Once the dust settles, they will not throw those rights under the bus because of who is leading the fight.

One of the things I learned early is that men can be feminists, too. Simplistic, I know. When you get over the defeat, and start looking at policies, and also start looking at the ages of the Supreme Court justices, no one who seriously supported Hillary Clinton because of her policies can support John McCain. If they were supporting her because of her gender alone, well, that's just silly.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

The Healing is Beginning

Twittered by a friend of mine:

All delegates at Tx Convention just joined hands and chanted Yes We Can! Yes We Will!

Awesome.

Edit
: same friend twittered later:

From Hillarycrat and Obamacrat to Democrat in November.

And

United, we win. Divided, McCain

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Very nice



Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Right on target

United, we win. Divided, McCain

Yes indeed, exactly. Locally, that would be "United, we win. Divided, Liz Dole."

Hillary supporters should consider Obama

If I were a Hillary supporter, and still wanted her in the White House - think of the possibilities.

Obama gets elected this year... Iraq pull-out goes all wrong, Iran gains upper hand in Middle East/nuclear threat, taxes are increased to the point small businesses can not make it, corporate America moves more jobs to Mexico, India, health care gets dumbed down, Russia not held accountable for dealings with Iran....

Makes a run in 2012 look pretty easy. His lack of experience will cause him problems, plus his snubbing of the lobbiest - this will empower the next candidate. Remember - four years is nothing.

Linda - your welcome....

I don't think a made a prediction, just a "what if" senerio. It could be possible that all things go great for Obama, then Hillary would have to wait another four years... what do you think?

I don't think this will be about Obama.

I don't think any one human being, no matter how prepared or wise, will be able to ride in and fix all the problems we've got after 8 years of W and 12 years of a rabidly partisan Republican controlled Congress. Since Dems got the House back and the Senate went even in Jan 97 all of them together have barely been able to slow our movement in the wrong direction.

No. This will not be about Obama. He's not a savior. He's a leader. This will be about us.

Getting out of the chaotic mess will be up to us. Only a solemn commitment from us, only our willingness to do the hard things it will take to turn this ship of state around, will allow us to leave our children an America that is still the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Do we have what it takes? What do you think, MAJ T?

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

I honestly don't know what it will take...

Leslie, I see things differently about how we got to this point (all on the shoulders of the GOP??), but for this discussion, I'll try to see it from your angle.

I'll try to guess what your "hard things" are:

Jobs - keeping America employed at good paying jobs here in the USA. I would discourage any actions that raise taxes on the businesses that create/keep jobs here in the USA.

Environment - If you want everybody to start being more kind to the Earth, you better get in the ear of the countries we trade with. I see problems with being a global leader in enviormental restraints, my generation wants to see everybody else suffer before we put on that yoke.

Health Care - It needs to be a choice, not mandated. There still needs to be an element of accountability and clearly defined paths for those receiving the health care to get themselves in a better situation. If you make it too sweet, employeers will just let the Government take care of the health benefits.

Supreme Court - Starting to sound more like a cabinet positions. If we are to the point of considering Senator Clinton for the bench, do the Dems really want to start that trend? I think Roberts was a decent choice, I can see where Scalia (sp?) would not be welcomed by the Dems - he is pretty friendly to the right. How did the Dems let him get confirmed?

I'm sure you have others, but my generation (30-45) is so used to having above and beyond, that anything that restricts freedom and ability to live in excess will be met with torches and pichforks. I think rationing would be good for our country, but it would be like stuffing a hippo into the trunk of a Yugo.

Well, I don't profess to have a crystal ball.

But I think this is about more than "Obama", and it's about more than "Hillary". I believe that Senator Clinton is a great Democratic leader, and will continue to do great things for the United States, either in the Senate, perhaps as majority leader, or as is my hope, as a Supreme Court Justice.

But this is not about one person - this is about millions of Americans saying enough is enough.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors