Thursday, March 6, 2008

I'm sorry. I was wrong.

I am a thinker and a reasoner. I wish I was more passionate, but alas I have this mind that has to weigh things, turn them over, research and then come to a conclusion. And I am reticent by nature, no firebrand. Other more radical folks are quick to the barricades. I get there eventually, usually once my head catches up with my heart.

This morning, I wrote a post pledging allegiance to the Democratic Party, because I felt that it represents my liberal values more closely than the Republican Party. I said that despite my anger at Hillary Clinton, despite her flagrant use of racism, distortions and fear mongering, I would have no choice but to vote for her should she win the Democratic nomination. After all, cozying up to people you don't like (a la McCain and Bush) is part of the political game. It is how people in power get things done. And God help us if another Republican gets into office.

I take it back. I was wrong. I will not ever cast a vote for Hillary Clinton. And if she is the Democratic nominee, I will not vote for a Democrat for president.

How did I get here?

To tell you the truth, that post didn't feel right when I wrote it last night. Here I was writing about John McCain selling out his principles and throwing his arms around a man who launched a race-based smear campaign against him and his family, all for political power. And I was suggesting that this is the right thing for people to do. I was suggesting that this is what I would do. But that is not who I am. And it is not the kind of person I want to be. I cannot overlook Hillary Clinton's sins against my people and my values, which include honesty, fair play and human equality.

The real deal about the Clintons

Last night, while flipping through The Nation, I read this article about the Clintons, Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee, which detailed how the Clintons' establishment rule and backroom dealing is affecting the Democratic Party. Then, this afternoon I find that the Canadian/NAFTA brouhaha that buoyed Clinton to victory in Ohio was sheer distortion, aided by the Clinton camp and the mainstream media. I don't like the unprincipled way the Clintons are playing this game.

Wise words from a friend

Also this afternoon, a conservative friend of mine explained how many people like him feel about the Republican Party. He said he was a conservative first and a Republican second. In other words, he is true to his principles, not a political party. I am a black woman, a progressive, a wife, a stepmother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a womanist, an American...all those descriptors in my profile, before I am a Democrat. How can I be true to my black self and cast a ballot for someone who claims to be a friend of my people, yet employs racist strategy to win an election? And how can I be true to my liberal values if I cast a ballot for a corporatist, establishment candidate? How can I be a womanist if I cast a vote for someone who allows Bob Johnson, purveyor of violence, soft pornography and female denigration, to stump for her? How can I be a good American citizen if I allow dirty politics to prevail?

Wise words on the Internet

I was also stirred by passionate words from fellow blogger Jack Turner at Jack and Jill Politics, who wrote this morning:
I ain't afraid of John McCain! We just survived eight years of George W. Bush. I ain't afraid of John McCain!

My mother went to too many meetings, walked in too many marches, took over too many radio stations for me to vote out of fear. I ain't afraid of John McCain!

My grandmother wasn't the first black clerk at the Supreme Court, and her father did not teach himself to read just so I could vote out of fear. I ain't afraid of John McCain! Do you hear me??

My people did not build this country with their backs spilling blood, did not have their families systematically destroyed, their language stamped out, their identities stolen en masse so that I might be here today and vote out of fear. I am not afraid of John McCain or what the Republicans might do because millions of my ancestors lay at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean right now, and they did not die for me to cave so easily. Nothing John McCain could do as president would justify me turning my backs on my ancestors or my principles. We will survive. We have always survived.

You think we're in for hard times if we don't support Hillary? You don't know hard times.

We have a choice, and now is the time to stand up. If we sit by and let this go down as if we had no choice in the matter, then we might as well do away with ballots and courts and rights, get a barcode stamped on our necks and a chip inserted into our hands, and simply bow down.

Don't ever come at me and try to blackmail me into voting out of fear. SOURCE

...and a commenter called Bad Christian at Huffington Post, who wrote:
After thirty five years of watching how the fear card has effected the Security/Soccer moms" of the Democratic Party, and the devastating effect that
that has had on our urban youth, I am definitely relieved to see a new feminism,
and a resurgence of actual liberal politics.

Content of character, not just steel tongs long enough that reach from the safety of the suburbs, plucking urban males out and dropping them into the Corporate prison system. Not just advancing feed lot style urban schools, while elevating property taxes so that suburban residents can have public education, while urban areas are fear mongered, vilified and turned against. The Democrats failed urban centers, because of fear. One need only look at the stark differences between urban areas and their neighbors in the gated suburbs to realize this.

Reagan knew it, and the Reagan Democrats are still out there...There is a generation that thinks the television is their friend, and they have been sold on it, and to it, ever since Howdy Doodie and Hoola Hoops. The Corporation got them and now America pays for it by trying to overcome that generations TV advertising addiction. The Corporation knows how to sell them, and if you look at the past years of marketing research, it's obvious. They can sell them anything with the old style Television ad of "greed is good" and "be very afraid." If you want to know how the United States was conquered by the Corporation, it's through these techniques that they learned they could sell many Baby Boomers anything, and frequently do... No matter how Orwellian the language.

Fighting fire with fire, like fear with fear and greed with greed, is only good for burning bridges and leaving urban areas like the ninth ward behind. Fighting the "Plastic Fantastic" with credit cards and Corporate Cures is like fighting pain with drug addiction...

I am voting for real change...Not a Party, but a person, and the people he brings with him. I am voting to help change our circumstances, not to prop up a party that has failed urban America. The Democrats have an opportunity to gain my vote, or lose it. If they select more of the same old fearful "Security mom" solutions, they don't want my vote, and they won't get it.

Every day as I watch this campaign unfold, I get sadder and less hopeful. With every lie, distortion and attack, I get more disappointed. With every racial indignity, I get angrier. I've turned it over in my head and I have finally come around to the radical way. And I feel lighter for it.

Come November, I will vote. I could never not vote. If Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, I will vote for him. Otherwise, I will vote for a third party candidate or write in a candidate. If the Democratic Party chooses to run a race-baiting, fear mongering candidate who is more concerned with winning than principles, then surely it is true that they do not want my vote. Hell, I could vote Republican if I wanted that sort of treatment. Perhaps it is time for a major third party--one that believes in the values the Democrats give lip service to, but can never seem to uphold.

I will not vote for Hillary Clinton--not out of spite, but out of principle.


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