About Opposing Obama
I got a very nice Christmas card from the White House yesterday, which genuinely surprises me. I had contributed not a cent to any Democratic politician since 2008, and had been rather vociferous in my criticisms of Obamacare, Afghanistan, and appalling Obama administration negotiating skills. Confused and conflicted (not an unusual mental state for me) as the election approached I just shut up, I have my opinions but the election wasn’t about me, not knowing what to do I just eventually did at least no harm.
Now that Obama has won I think there’s real political and citizenship value in examining just how in fact liberals and progressives engage the White for future meaningful change. I’m not out to bash the President or cause trouble, I want our happy kids in good schools with employed parents growing up in a land of peace. If being honest and calm about elements that make us all uncomfortable and me rather unpopular, well, so be it, we have such a very long way to go in United States.
Many calls came in from various quarters for disenchanted liberals in very safe blue states to cast a protest vote for one of the fringe Presidential candidates (Roseanne Barr here, bless her soul), which I did not do. Taking it all in I eventually followed one element of advice from Mistermix of Balloon Juice, who correctly noted that an Obama victory without a popular vote win would damage the country significantly. Why him? Because I trust him. Do I trust the advice of a politician or media pundit? Heh!
More than a few onlookers have noted that liberals and progressives aren’t motivated at all by tapioca centrist political tactics, they’re motivated by beating the Evil Republicans and preventing them from wrecking the country even more. Significantly true, yes, but there are two elements in this election cycle about opposing Republicans that deserve note.
I was surprised and rather taken aback while reading some feminists in that phase of the election around eight months out when activists of whatever motivation start whipping the base in line at the snapping, searing condescension at any fucking idiot who couldn’t effectively oppose Republicans. The diction was brutal, yes, but the intensity was out of place from voices normally so calm and adhering to good logic in positive narratives. What was this?
I have no way of knowing, of course, but I wondered that as a white male in this society I was shielded a little too much from ruthless Republican tactics, too far removed from a reality where thugs really will dictate the course of your life through pregnancy. Who really will try to punish and control you through something so intimate and personal as birth control. Who totally embrace a politics of sick authoritarianism that has resulted in shot abortion providers, rampant sexism and vicious inequality. Perhaps if my life had been so brutally intruded upon with these sexual politics—or even just lived under the constant threat or fear of it—my opposition intensity would have matched theirs.
I don’t know, I can only speak for myself. It gave me significant pause and was a huge factor in weighing a vote for Obama.
Digby of Hullabaloo noted that liberals may never criticize a black president with the intensity they normally would have for someone white. It’s never been a problem for me, obviously, but I was beyond appalled at the racial elements in our Republican opposition, and much more tellingly knew precisely how two of my people, Jabari and Marshall, expected me to vote. I, with my love and excellent knowledge of American history and racism, would actually cast a vote in opposition or neutrality to Obama?
Again, I felt removed from an environment I knew I couldn’t understand, there was no way to live it every day. However evil and destructive the Republicans are is an open question but our racial history is not. I am there for my people, I do not let them down, however conflicted I was facing Marshall or Jabari in the future knowing I hadn’t voted for Obama was something I probably never could have done.
So here I am, a politically unhappy liberal who voted for Obama, thus our Supreme Court is saved. Yeah, but our military and societal posture is a ridiculously cruel and regressive one that in many ways is not difficult to change, so I would expect a lot more vociferous criticism and advocacy from me. I may have been confused and conflicted about the election, but I damn well know how supremely better we can be as a country.