Monday, June 2, 2008

Mea Culpa: Cheap Pops, The Vehicle of Divisiveness and My Pledge

Sometimes, my significant other has a nasty habit. She'll say something bad about someone she doesn't like, justifying it by saying "well it's true!". I like to chastise her for this, as I'm a man with many flaws, living with a woman with few, so I'll take the opportunity to be self-righteous whenever I can.

But one of the negatives of being self-righteous is that you will inevitably become a hypocrite, and that's exactly what I've become.

A few days ago, in a Daily Kos diary about some Hillary supporters threatening to support John McCain, I posted the following comment:

If Obama somehow loses in the fall, I think there
are a lot of people (me included) who will dedicate themselves to doing all that is possible to prevent Hillary Clinton from getting the nomination in 2012.

The quote was recommended by 36 members of the community, which for me a is a pretty good haul, and it ignited a long conversation. Although most of the following posters reflected a similar sentiment to mine, there were a few who disagreed, suggesting that it was comments and people like me who were making it difficult for the party to come together.

For some reason, this struck a nerve with me, and I've been thinking about it a lot the past day. Although I initially tried to defend myself, I realize they were right.

My comment was a cheap shot for a cheap pop, the equivalent of Mick Jagger yelling "Hello New York!" to a crowd at Madison Garden. It served no purpose, and I am ashamed that I posted it.

What bothers me the most about it is that the comment was born out of pure passion. It wasn't a well-thought out or intellectual statement. It was a statement meant to incite one of two responses, both polar opposites. I have preached unity in the past, but I have let myself down for a cheap pop. That is why I'm a hypocrite. I myself had become a vehicle of divisiveness.

We all started this journey a long time ago. Many ideas and positions took a long time to mature, and with this primary being unusually close and unusually long, for many the passion became a double-edged sword. On the one side you have the loyalty and respect of one candidate, on the other, the dislike of another. For many, it didn't take long for there to be no middle-way, making reconciliation even more difficult.

So what did I choose to do? Did I choose to lay off, after beginning to realize that much of this had gone too far? No. I chose to stoke the flames. With the Clinton campaign winding down, stoking these fires makes it only more difficult to reconcile with the other side, which is experiencing the ending of their dream, a painful thing that I am lucky to not fully understand.

Today I apologize for my behavior. It was inappropriate and immature. I pledge to not post another anti-Hillary diary, and to not post another anti-Hillary comment, regardless of whether I think it's the truth or not, as in this matter, I think it best that the truth is our shield and not our sword. The time has come to let things be. Even though the individuals here can only do a little damage, collectively we can do a lot.

To those who recommended my comment, it would be cathartic to me if you would remove your recommends. I don't deserve them. I'm going to post a tip-jar here though, so feel free to just trade them out. Thank you for hearing me out.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Searching for John McCain

As part of the Searching for John McCain project, I've prepared the following blurb, which will be permanently affixed to the page. If anyone likes it and would like a copy, please email me via the comment box on the page and I will email you the HTML. Thanks.

Do you think that in America, the greatest country in the world, anyone should live in poverty? I wonder what John McCain thinks about that.

If you were running for President, who would you pick to help draft your policy to fix the housing crisis? I wonder who John McCain would pick.

With Social Security being such an important issue in this election, I wonder where John McCain will go for guidence?

This is what John McCain thinks about keeping American jobs in America.

100 years in Iraq? That's fine with
John McCain.

Who could possibly not support health insurance for children? How about John McCain?

The Bush administration bungled the War in Iraq right? Not so, according to John McCain.

But we can all agree on women receiving equal pay as men for the same job can't we? Not if you're John McCain.

What about the recession? It's real. People feel it every day. Why don't you ask John McCain.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Oh Boy Obama! Update

My recommendation on the Oh Boy Obama website was pretty popular. It's ranked 31st on the site with almost 100 recommends. Here's the link. I suggest you check out the site, as it's pretty interesting.

Editorial: A Story About Entitlement

When I was in elementary school, every year each of the classes would have a geography bee, with the winners of each class going on to the larger school competition. I was in the 4th grade the first year I was eligible to complete, and I won my class. From the class I went on to the school, where I finished in 3rd place. It was quite an achievement for me, considering that I was competing with kids in the 8th grade.

The next year, after the kids who had beaten me the year before had graduated, I expected to win my class again, and hopefully win the school. But first, I would have to get through the classroom competition.
It was a tough fight, going into extra questions as I was tied with a couple of my other classmates in a sudden-death round.

I don't remember what the question was, but I remember that the answer was the Himalayan Mountains. I wrote it down, but before I turned the paper in, in a cruel act of second guessing, I scratched out the answer and put down another mountain range.

I got the question wrong, and I lost. Even though almost 20 years has passed since then, I still remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, and the swimming feeling in my head as I realized that I had just blown the opportunity. I took the paper up to my teacher, hoping to get credit, but she said no. I lost. I went home and was miserable for the next few days.

There is little doubt that Hillary Clinton had every reason to expect that she would be the Democratic nominee for President. I certainly thought so. Hell, even Maureen Dowd wrote about Hillary Clinton v. Jeb Bush in one of her columns eight years ago. She had the money, she had the establishment, she had the pedigree. What she didn't seem to have was what Kos likes to call "fire in her belly".

When you approach something like you're owed it, you get complacent. I grew complacent during my geography bee (20 years later I am prepared to admit that the reason I changed my answer was because I saw another classmate's answer and it was different than mine), and that's why I lost.

When Hillary got to Iowa, she fully expected to win. But her message and personality fell flat, and once Iowa is over and the momentum has swung against you, it's hard to put that genie back into the bottle.

So then came the backlash and disillusionment of Clinton, along with her campaign staff and many of her supporters. They realized that they had just blown their golden opportunity, and that it was fully their own fault.

If human beings are good at anything, it's projecting their own faults and mistakes onto others. I did it when I went crying home to my dad saying "it's not fair". The Clintons and their campaign do it by complaining about the media and the process; many of the supporters do it by crying sexism. (The cheapening of the words sexism and racism is another thing that bothers me, but I will save that for another diary)

The difference between Hillary Clinton losing and little nicweb losing is about $200 million. If I had that kind of money back then, maybe I could've convinced someone that I had actually won.

But in the grown-up world, that usually isn't enough. So while the Clinton supporters cheapen the word sexism, watering it's meaning down to the point where it may temporarily go into an abuse-exile, John McCain is benefited, turned into the political giant we all know he is not.

Sometimes I wonder if it's the passion and love for a candidate that drives the vitriol. The more exposure I get to this, the more I think not. Although I sincerely do believe that a great deal of the hate that has transpired is due to Obama's race (This is not an excuse. Look at the exit polls from WV if you don't believe me), I believe that the majority of the anger comes from Clinton's inability to take advantage of her great opportunity.

In a side note, the young man who beat me in the geography bee went on to win it for the entire school. He then proceeded to beat me every single year through the eighth grade. He became one of my best friends, and was my roommate in college. How's that for unity?

Michigan and Florida Settled...For Now

The Michigan and Florida debacle are wrapped up for now. Based on a unanimous vote, the entire Florida delegation will be seated with half of a convention vote. Clinton will get 52.5 delegates to Obama's 33.5. The vote for the Michigan plan was 19 yeas, with 8 no's. Clinton will pick up 69 delegates in Michigan, with Obama netting 59. All in all, a very long day for a reasonable "split the baby" decision that could've been made without all the hoopla.