Readers of this blog know that I’m a huge supporter of Hillary Clinton. I like her a lot. She invented smart. She keeps getting back up from the shitty things that life hands her and somehow goes on with a generous spirit bent on doing good. She digs down into the details and really learns what’s going on. She gave a world-changing speech equating women’s rights with human rights. She’s got great ideas about how to fix our energy mess and she’s always been a huge promoter of women. Whatever happens tomorrow, or at the Democratic convention, or in November, we haven’t seen the last of Hillary Clinton. She’s blazed a trail for future women to follow and she’s done it with grace and humor and strength.
I have been accused of everything from willful stupidity to “vaginal solidarity” over these last weeks. It’s insulting and demeaning, and intended to be so, as much as major opinion pieces on how dumb girls are and how Hillary should just climb on the Obandwagon.
Indeed, it seems that Senator Obama will be the candidate, not because of (or in spite of) my vagina, but because of his ground game. I respect that. But I also ask respect for my position, for my experiences. Win with grace, not with sneers at old ladies who have repeatedly been told that it wasn’t their turn yet, only to be told that sorry, their turn has passed by. That’s about as alienating as you can get. I don’t think his followers are shallow—at least not most of them—but many are rudely dismissive and do not seem to know whose framing they’re adopting.
I for one do not believe it’s a foregone conclusion that Hillary will be out of the race after tonight. But I also do not believe that if she is, it’ll be just dandy for all concerned the following day. Shit, I needed a week just to get over my HANGOVER when Kerry lost; it’s been four years later and still, I’m bitter and defensive about it. I make light of it a lot, I make jokes about him being the ex who won’t leave me alone, but honestly, there’s still a bruise there, gets hit now and again, four years later, because I took it seriously. That’s what we do here, a lot, we take these things deeply and personally and seriously. If we thought politics was a big ironic joke we’d all be working for Time magazine and doing Maher and laughing at our own biting wit, and going home at night secure in our belief that our world would never change, just the players in it. This is more than that to all of us.
It’s no secret that I, unlike the two women whose writing I quote above, had serious doubts about Hillary as president. I thought she was too conservative; then again, for me, who in the race isn’t? My preferences, after Dodd dropped out, came down more to tactics than platform; I liked the strength of Obama’s ground game and the national party implications of his organization’s red state strategy. I didn’t think I’d like Hillary more as the campaign went on; thought I’d be sick of her by the end of it, thought I’d be glad to see her go. If she does go, though, I won’t be glad to see it. I’ll be disappointed. I’ve enjoyed, more than I thought I would, hearing her voice on a regular basis telling me what she thought. I’ll miss that, if it goes away. And I’ll be glad that she made the run she did, when she did. I’ll be glad she fought a fight she thought needed fighting. I’ll be glad to have learned from her. And I’ll be grateful.