Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Response

I just registered (re-registered, actually) with the Democrats Abroad organization ( as part of my preparations to vote absentee in the presidential election come November.

I was scrolling through the comments on the Asia Pacific forum group on that website when I came across a couple postings probably planted by Clinton operatives. I certainly don't begrudge genuine supporters of Hillary--I think she's an intelligent, capable, experienced, and divisive public figure--the chance to vent their feelings as Obama gains momentum, but these postings just struck a negative chord with me. One from a Democrat, and one from an 'Independent', both said pretty much the same thing: The US isn't ready for a black president; Hillary is the only chance to defeat McCain come November; don't worry, we'll give Obama a nice cabinet position... perhaps somewhere behind the marmalade.

I'm reposting those two posts...

"February 4th, 2008

Hi and greetings from Dongguan. I just voted online and it was so easy. I watched the debates a few days ago and am glad that Obama and Clinton are playing nicer. I strongly believe that they will both be in the next administration either as President and VP, or a member of the cabinet. So who do I vote for?

Well, I like both, but honestly if it were Obama against McCain I don't think Obama can win. I think most people who embraced the "change thing" during the primaries will get cold feet. Sadly, I believe that too many will question whether they should vote for a black candidate. Putting color aside, I think people will question the experience side of things whether Obama has the experience, and when compared to McCain we have to admit the answer is No!

So I think we should support Hillary as the best opportunity to beat the Republicans in November. She has experience, and the fact that she is a woman will help in the new administration. Further, I do think that having Bill around the White House again can't be all that bad, just keep him away from the interns.

I am confident (and hope) that she will have Barak involved in her cabinet in some way, shape or form whether it be VP, or perhaps in a more affective post.

So that is my opinion and hope we can shake things up!"

(As a side note, how would being a woman help in the new administration? All things being equal--and if I read my constitution correctly, women and men are equal--neither Hillary Clinton being a woman nor her husband being a man should be considered to have anything to do with how well either govern!)

"I registered as an independent when I became a citizen last May. This year I wanted to participate in the Democratic primary election and voted just before I left California for Shanghai. I think the Democratic primary is becoming a farce, and the whole election is falling into the Republican's traps. While I hold no bias toward a black president, I have to admit that deep in people's mind they still think it is premature to have a black president now. The republicans will have so many cards to play. Just like the last election, they will moblize all those most religious and conservative people to vote. For me, if Hillary can't win, then I will vote for McCain. The Democratic party really stinks!!!"

(If he really thinks the Democratic party stinks, why is the fellow considering voting for Hillary? Is she any less a Democrat than Obama?)

...and my (overly long) reply:

May I ask, when do you feel the time for a black president will be? If now, eight years into the 21st century, isn't the time when could it ever be? I ask that question as a young, white, liberal but independent voter from Michigan (now in Chongqing). Honestly, this is the kind of crypto-racism I expect to hear from Republicans, not on a Democrat forum.

That "change thing" as you call it has filled my generation with enthusiasm for the democratic process, and thus caused a great surge in turnout from a demographic that tends to support the Democrats. That demographic has also been long written off as increasingly cynical and unenthusiastic about both politicians and the election of them.

So let me ask: What's the point of voting, if you don't want to see a change? And who wouldn't want serious change after the gross incompetence of the past eight years? The mandate for change gave the Democrats control of both houses in the midterm elections, and the mandate for change is partly why the fundamentalist vote is going to stay at home and cry into their oatmeal this year instead of voting. The only case where I expect the 'change' vote to get cold feet, is if establishment figures, partisan snipers, and "culture warriors" are the only candidates they have to choose from.

These enthusiastic new voters, comprising mostly liberal and moderate progressives (even luring some from the conservative fold), have flocked to Obama to a great degree they haven't to Hillary. Why? In my mind, it's not that she isn't a good person, or an experienced politician. I like the Clintons just fine--even shook hands with Bill, once--but unfortunately for Hillary, her very experience is what will be held against her, as not a true break with the past, or a chance for reconciliation and dynamism in our politics. If you're out here in China, I think you might have an idea why the US needs to pull together right now. It is time to ready ourselves for a century to come where the US will no longer be the lone alpha dog at the head of the pack. A divided country will prove easy pickings for the new and improving Chinese empire, and unfortunately Hillary has become a very divisive figure indeed.

As for the fundamentalists, they're a nice contrast in opposites to the Obamaniac youth movement. Despondent and disillusioned by Bush's perfidy and incompetence, they probably won't be visiting the voting booths in droves this year. Certainly they won't if Hillary isn't a candidate to vote against (needless to say, they hate her with a passion), and certainly not if the 'rogue' Republican, McCain, is their only conservative-ish option. I wouldn't worry about them too much.

To return to the 'race card', I think my father put it nicely to me in an email: as we speak, a more racist generation passes away into eternal sleep. Certainly there are plenty of racists still at large, and some of them are young. But a credible bid for the white house by a multi-racial candidate with support from Democrats, Independents, and even some Republicans, is just what we need to make history of that kind of thinking. That's just my opinion, and it seems to have been the opinion of quite a few people of all colors, including some very white Iowans.

Let us just remember, though, that no matter who is chosen for the duty of president--Obama, McCain, or Hillary--they are likely to be a whole lot better than the incompetence they will replace. I've always been excited about voting, and never more so now that I'm living in a country where the democratic process is outlawed!

Well, that's my two cents. Perhaps I'll post a longer, more complete essay on why I support Obama over Clinton later on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very well said! Just about the same comments I have been making when I am free to comment politically. I am not allowed to give political opinions to my clients as unethical to do so. (Coral)