Cutting Off Your Nose To Spite Your Face

There is a line that separates support and obsession. That same line acts as the boundary between activism, and self destructive action. This line is etched in anger, and what ultimately decides which side you are on is your ability to control that anger.

It’s strange; as we are drawing to a close this primary, I find clarity again. Over the course of the past few months I myself have been blinded by anger. I have secretly and not so secretly sworn to vote for McCain if Clinton “stole” the nomination, because, at the time, I felt that if she did manage to win the nomination, the only way to punish the party was to assist in its defeat.

Of course, in the end, I realized how childish that was. Yes, I still file much of what has happened on the campaign under grievances I would like to see addressed, and yes, I will likely harbor some grudges against Clinton and her campaign for a time. But in the end it comes down to your values.

For about ten to twelve hours a day I write from my values. My values lead me to speak out and upon equality for everyone regardless of their gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. My values lead me to speak out and upon a foreign policy that ruins lives at home and abroad. My values lead me to speak out against an economic machine that seems all too often to concern itself with the welfare of corporations while working class Americans are at best an after effect.

When I participate in politics, these are the things that are important to me. And through this less hysterical lens, when I remember what is important to me, I also realize who I can vote for and who I must not let win at any cost. I disagree with Clinton on many things; I believe that Obama will forward a foreign policy that is more in keeping with my values. I believe Senator Obama and Senator Clinton would both do wonders for equality of people of all different demographics. In fact, I think they would both make some progress on those things that I value in one way or another; though I have stuck with Obama because I believe that he would be more successful in creating an America I would be proud of.

But though I have supported Obama in his presidential run for about a year and a half now, here, in the closing days of the Democratic primaries, I have the clarity to see that I would gladly vote for him or Clinton in the fall.

This is because there is absolutely nothing in McCain’s existence as a potential president that I think I could value.

This is the clarity that has been afforded me once I began to let go of the anger that this emotional primary season has brought me; and I had truly hoped that as the remaining candidates themselves have begun to strike a tone of reconciliation, their supporters too would slowly begin to release that anger and look clear-eyed at the months that are to come.

Sadly, that hasn’t happened yet, and some of the things that I am reading are actually quite scary. The truly sad thing is that these things would be akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Rick Klein reports that there is now a group calling itself, “Clinton Supporters Count Too,” that plans on boycotting Barack Obama, the DNC, et al. should the nomination not go to Hillary Clinton.

At this stage of the game, I wouldn’t even write on this stuff; as I’ve said countless times I still believe that the party will heal itself, and that we will see the emotions stirred up in this primary fade as we all realize what is truly at stake. But I would be lying if I didn’t hold my apprehensions and fears.

And, in truth, I don’t expect to be very successful with my message here; I believe that people have stopped listening to reason, and I understand why. I felt an ire similar to what these supporters have felt, I was for a time cursing the very existence of Senator Clinton, and I threatened to leave the party, and I’ve been through it all.

But I will at least say what I have to say once, and then be done with it.

For one, I don’t believe that anyone who engages in behavior like this is truly a Clinton supporter. They can’t be. As I prefaced this post, there is a line between being a supporter and being obsessed, and anyone who would actively boycott the Democratic nominee after Clinton publicly stated that to do so would be a “grave error” is not supporting their candidate.

It’s strange, but I’m starting to like Clinton again, I truly hope that she can amplify this message to the point where it is effective because it’s important. Had things gone differently, had Clinton been poised to win the nomination and I had sworn to work against her because she beat my candidate, then I think it would be pretty clear that I was never truly a supporter of my candidate, but instead was obsessed.

And as I keep saying, I was there, I was in obsession mode for a long time.

I also want people to know that the primary is not over, and that it will continue until either someone is clearly the nominee, or until one of the two remaining candidates decides to drop out. Yes, calls do persist for Clinton to drop out, but they do not come from the Obama campaign, and I think there are many Obama supporters that are joining me in following that lead.

This is a democratic process, for the most part, and we’ll see it through to the end. When that end comes, I’ll rally behind the nominee whether it’s Clinton or Obama, and I would hope that everyone else do the same.

And yes, there has been sexism in this campaign. There’s also been racism in this campaign, but again, I think everyone is on the verge of cutting of their noses to spite their faces. Hillary Clinton last Friday used a poorly chosen phrase to describe her candidacy’s support base, Obama called a reporter “sweetie.” Bill Clinton, through referencing Jesse Jackson, delivered what was seen by many, myself included, as being racially insensitive. My colleague Matt points out to me (and I take his word for it. I am, admittedly, not nearly as sensitive to sexist speech as I should be, not nearly as sensitive as I am towards racially charged language) that the “claws out” comment by Obama was sexist in nature.

But what we all need to realize is that this is a pittance compared to what McCain offers, and what the Republican party offers. Let’s not forget that the Republican party attempted to use racially charged tv spots in North Carolina, and did use them in an attempt to beat Travis Childers in Mississippi.

And when it comes to women’s rights; McCain is not the way to go. “Sweetie” was bad, I will admit, but let’s not forget that John McCain called his own wife something I can’t even repeat.

But these are just words. Words are terrible and they do hurt, and the old saw about sticks and stones is crap, words do damage, but the damage that McCain would do would dwarf the impact of mere words.

Remember, McCain is the same man who opposes a woman’s right to sue for equal pay, and under a McCain administration, reproductive rights go right out the window.

McCain is anti-choice, and under his administration will be able to appoint up to three Supreme Court justices. If you want to know just how in danger reproductive rights would be if Senator McCain were to be in a position to appoint up to three Supreme Court justices, keep in mind that he has appointed Senator Sam Brownback to his Justice Advisory Committee. If Brownback is the man who will help McCain decide who to appoint, here’s what On the Issues has regarding the former presidential candidate and reproductive rights:

All of this to make a very simple point; voting for John McCain is in no way a vote for women’s rights in any fashion. Only the twisted logic of anger could make it so.

I’m not here to condemn your anger, I am here to warn that succumbing to that anger will not help in the end.

We all have grievances coming out of this primary, but if we don’t either address those grievances in a more amicable fashion, we may well be sitting here a year from now wishing that we had. So no condemnations. After all that we’ve been through I thought I would be choking on the schadenfreude if and when Hillary lost, but I’ve lost the taste for it.

All I want is to beat the hell out of John McCain in the fall, and anyone who voted for Clinton or Obama should want the exact same thing. We have to remember that a year ago, we were all on the same side, and right now, we still should be. There is nothing that either candidate has done to the other that was so bad that should change that.

So count this as my peace offering. Air your grievances here. Say what you have to say, and scream it with all the air in your lungs if you have to. And then, when it’s over, let’s watch these two warriors finish this race together, toast the loser on a hard fought campaign, and strap on our armor for the victor because the end of this primary is far from the end of this fight.

Clinton supporters; you are welcome here.

4 Responses to “Cutting Off Your Nose To Spite Your Face”

  1. elle says:

    Oh my! I wrote on a similar topic today–worked on it off and on from noon til almost eleven and still don’t think I’ve said it half as eloquently.

  2. Thank you so much Dr.

    You know, I just, what I keep seeing is truly breaking my heart, and some of it is a result of truly angry people, and I get that, and some of it is the result of some very irresponsible people, and I don’t get that.

    But I think the other thing that really gave me perspective is that I was there, and I’m a little ashamed of it, really. I wanted to be a clone of John Aravosis for a while, and I actually gave it a go for a bit, and it’s not me, and when I was in that obsessed anger mode, I realized that I wasn’t even being myself.

    I’m not a scorched earth kind of blogger, and I’m not really a scorched earth kind of anything, really.

    So, yeah, it’s just a lot of sadness that I’m feeling anymore when I go on and see some of the things that people are saying and doing.

  3. Tony Smith says:

    Sorry Kyle. I am vastly familiar with the political issues dividing the Dems and the Repubs. The SCT should not cause much fear, because, contrary to popular beliefs, the Court follows, rather than leads, the public. A majority of the public supports Roe, and for over 30 years now, people have said the Court would overrule it. Guess what: it hasn’t happened! Every case comes up, and the Court upholds abortion rights. Even the partial-birth decision last year was more newspaper rhetoric than a ruling disturbing abortion rights.

    I am not supporting Obama. Clinton has been despised by the party, called a liar,etc. Why should you guys want the votes of people who supported such an awful Klanswoman? I guess you’ll do anything to get Obama elected. Sorry — your strategy was pretty pathetic: bash Clinton ,support media sexism, call her a racist, while promoting Obama as the Messiah of hope and change and all that is good….and then after all is done, tell Clinton supporters they are childish and suicidal if they do not unify with you. LOL. Is this how the great unifier operates? Through fear?

    Before you label me an angry feminist or racist or undeducated person or some unsophisticated lad just voting on “emotions,” let me clear up some things. I am BLACK. I am MALE. I am a civil rights attorney, with two Ivy-League Degrees. I have voted for the Dems my whole life. After 25 years of voting, I am not supporting the party this time. Most of my votes in the past came after my preferred candidate lost in the nominating battle – and it was quite easy to vote the Dem in November. Not this time. It’s not going to happen I decided this during the lead up to Super Tuesday, when the media bias reached the highest of heights, and the Kennedys — well, excluding Bobby’s family — tried to muscle Clinton out of the race, with the LA Times wondering – – actually hoping — whether Kennedy’s endorsement would bring Latinos to Obama’s side. So spare the essays on political platforms, on Roe, on mothers with dying kids in Iraq, on single-issue feminism….blah blah blah blah. It’s not going to work.

  4. Rayne J. says:

    It appears from your comment as if your de facto support for McCain is motivated almost entirely by the campaign itself and the media’s coverage, rather than by a single substantive issue.

    And if you were really as “vastly familiar” with the Supreme Ct. as you say you are, you would be quite fearful of McCain’s judicial appointments, and not just on Roe v. Wade. The current Supreme Ct. is probably the most conservative in 70 years, and with the retirement of Stevens and Ginsburg, its makeup would be unlike anything our generation has ever seen. Is that a chance worth taking, any more than the one involving McCain’s Bushier-than-Bush foreign policy?

    Why do we have any reason to believe a 7-2-ish SC would feel obliged to “follow the public”? That’s not their job.


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