A Time to Heal, A Time to Grieve

It’s weird. Where we are right now, it feels sometimes like when I was a little kid and I got this new toy, but the friends I would share such a toy with, those friends who would make the toy so much better just by virtue of enjoying it with me, they’re gone.

As the primary season comes to an end, that’s the feeling I get sometimes.

It ended, Tuesday, for all intents and purposes. But not fully, and there are folks on both sides who have yet to achieve closure; closure that should finally arrive Saturday.

Originally, Clinton was supposed to concede the race for the Democratic nomination and endorse Senator Barack Obama on Friday, but in order to accommodate her supporters who want to be present, Clinton pushed it back a day. Given that Friday is also the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, and the, to put it lightly, fireworks that ensued in this campaign over that event, it’s probably a good thing that Clinton changed the date.

But what of her supporters?

Those of us in the trenches, from both sides, know that we’ve inflicted great wounds upon each other. I’ve come to hate people I used to respect and admire, and I know I’ve incurred similar hate and ire. In a way, somewhere along the line, the battle for the Democratic nomination stopped being about the candidates and started being about us.

So while it may be easy for some to talk about unity, it’s not that easy, not for many. It’s not analogous for Obama supporters, either. You can’t simply just say, “Imagine if you were in their position” because for quite a long portion of time in this presidential campaign, we weren’t supposed to win. Not so for Hillary’s supporters, and while entitlement isn’t a virtue, the loss of entitlement can be painful.

Since Tuesday, I’ve spent a lot of time just reading some of the pro-Clinton blogs and their comments sections, and on many occasions I’ve come across a recurring concept; “I need time to heal. It may not happen, but if it is, I need time.”

I get that.

The first thing, though, that many Obama supporters need to do is understand that not all Clinton supporters were created equal. They aren’t alike, they aren’t all having the same reaction, they don’t all deserve like treatment.

I have a great deal of respect for those who took their moment, turned around, and got behind the Democratic ticket. DemDaily has been one of those, as has MYDD’s Tod Beeton. That’s not to say that what has happened has been easy for them, but their ability to accept what happened for what it was and move on, the kind of fortitude that embodies, I admire very much.

Some will take time, but they’ll come around eventually. For these, I can’t express how much I understand. For those of us who have been there from the beginning, it’s been a long time, lots of sleep lost, money donated, probably years lost as we stared at unkind headlines and fretted over whether or not this was going to kill our candidate or not. For them, no matter how much we have fought in the past, I think it’s important that they be given the space and time to heal and to grieve, and to ultimately move beyond the primaries.

Some may not heal exactly, but will still be counted as allies. Again, I can respect this. If the animosity of the past year and a half cannot be reconciled, I understand, and appreciate at the very least, that ideological differences have once again made us allies.

And some won’t heal, won’t come around. Those who, even after Hillary Clinton herself has announced her own concession, continue to throw mud, and engage in the dirtiest kinds of tactics. Those who will be in that small minority of Clinton supporters that will vote for McCain. There is a new word for them now; it’s Republicans, and they are the foe now. There’s no call to rue how we once were on the same side, and lament over how far they have fallen. What’s done is done, they are working against us, and fretting over friendships broken will do no one any good.

For this last group, I have nothing for you. There will be no overtures to try and convince you to step back from the ledge. There will be no more attempts to convince you that a vote for McCain is in complete ideological opposition to what Clinton stands for. It’s your choice, make it if you will.

But I think these are a very few.

For everyone else, I think we do need to give time; time to heal and time to grieve. In a battle this long and hard fought, how could we demand from them anything different, and still hope they become our allies? So to all of Clinton’s supporters, even those who, in the rage of now, are contemplating a McCain vote, take your time, do what you need.

But please hurry. You see, there are a lot of us folks in the Obama camp that are excited, and it’s not just because Hillary lost. To be sure, that we are excited over Hillary’s defeat should, in a strange way, come as an honor, a testament to just how tenacious and resilient an opponent she is. That we simply didn’t shrug our shoulders and move on is proof that Clinton truly is a master politician, a worthy adversary, and a hell of a fighter.

But for many of us, this excitement isn’t just about Hillary, and, it’s not just about Obama. It’s about this new toy we have. This political organization that, when all is said and done, aspiring politicians will study as a standard. We could have a million volunteers on the ground, pounding the streets in November, and a centralized online organization that outright dwarfs even the 3 million strong Move On five-fold.

Oh, and we got Move On also.

We’ve got a fundraising machine that outstripped the legendary fundraising machine, and we aren’t even close to being tapped.

We have the makings of an organization that will be more efficient, more enthusiastic, more energized, and more effective than anything seen before, and this is just the core. On top of that, we have a media. The right owns the radio, their Fox News Channel gave them tv, but damn it, we got the internets, we own the internets.

And we have a candidate who is going to run this campaign the way we’ve wanted to see a campaign run in the last two election cycles. He kicked off the General Election campaign where the Republicans are going to hold their national convention, for pity’s sake–he’s already marked his territory. He refuses to let McCain slide with a single error on Iraq, he refuses to give McCain an inch on the economy, and he refuses to let a single slight go unanswered.

And, as Kevin Hayden points out, in the early stretch, without even a fully unified party, the electoral map is in our favor.

We have a potential to not just win, but to demolish. And while there are many on our side that have been hurt, and also need to heal, at least for me, I want to share it with you.

So please, I know this is a hard time for many Clinton supporters out there. I’ve been in the opposite trench fighting the same war you have been. I know you need time to heal. But once you’ve done so, join us.

A month ago, I wrote something that I think bears repeating now:

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.

That holds true with me now and today. I won’t respond to voting for McCain talk, but all else is welcome. Let’s trade war stories and compare battle scars and find reconciliation wherever it can be found.

And then let’s kick the ever living shit out of John McCain and the Republican party that pissed on this country and our constitution for the past seven and a half years.

(edited by DrGail)

2 Responses to “A Time to Heal, A Time to Grieve”

  1. Quelle says:

    KYLE SAID:

    ” 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.”

    That is much better, Kyle.
    That was spoken like a gentleman.

    Yesterday’s postings (by you, by tas, and by others) put me in a very bad frame of mind.
    Between you “making fun” of my age (I’ve been a registered Dem since 1962, my senior year of highschool),
    and tas saying “Why should Barack have to be the one who’s responsible for “reaching out” to Hillary’s supporters, I concluded that the only thing WORSE than a POOR LOSER is an UN-MAGNANIMOUS VICTOR. I decided that it was time to remind Obama supporters that they had it within their power to turn Hillary supporters into votes for McCain. Anger and retaliation for slights real or imagined can take people to very bad places indeed.

    It really is rubbing salt into wounds for any Obama supporter to say “whatever needs to be done, it’s “all on Hillary” to do it.
    That’s a very unbecoming attitude, and the mark of a “poor winner”. Obama supporters won. It is the job of ALL OBAMA SUPPORTERS to be gracious in victory.
    Q.

  2. Actually, Quelle, I wasn’t making fun of your age. It was insenstive, I admit. Low, low blow, but what I was thinking was that 1962 was prior to the civil rights act, and at that time I’m not sure how much a part of the party I would have wanted to be back then. Again, a low blow, and for that I’m pretty sorry.

    But this is kind of important. And this was something I really wanted to touch upon in this post. Both sides have gotten hurt over this primary, and we’re pretty used to being at each others’ throats. It’s much more natural, at this stage, to go on the attack, than it is to back up and be calm.

    A lot of Obama supporters aren’t really seeing what Clinton supporters are going through, but I also think the same can be said for the other side. Where Clinton supporters have seen mass misogyny, Obama supporters have seen mass racism. Where Clinton supporters have seen dirty tactics, Obama supporters have seen the same on the other side.

    Winning is a consolation, I admit, but it can’t change the fact that, especially over the past five months, we’ve been enemies, and vicious ones at that. So I recognize that Clinton supporters need time, but I hope Clinton supporters recognize that we need a little time too before we can all be magnanimous.

    I’m going to suggest, when I get home, to the rest of my colleagues to air their grievances, get it all out of their system, and then, come Monday, I would like to see everyone adopt a more magnanimous and unified tone.

    I don’t control their opinions and feelings, so I make no guarantees, but this is what I would like to see.

    I am sorry. It’s been brutal, but I continue to have faith that we’ll all get over it and come together when it counts. And if we do…

    Good lord is McCain in for a shocker this fall.

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