If you read my blog with any regularity, you know that I was slow to support Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. Part of that was because I had ardently supported one candidate at the beginning of the race and, then when he dropped out, chose to support Hillary Clinton, with a little less ardor, because I felt that her health care plan was better and that she had more experience.
And, yes, as someone who straddles the line between the baby boomers and Generation X, I thought there would be many advantages to finally have a woman — a qualified woman — sitting in the Oval Office.
So by the time Clinton dropped out and Obama was the Democratic candidate, I felt that I had expended all the electoral energy I had to give, at least for the presidential race. One on level, I knew that I would vote for whoever the Democrat was, if for no other reason than for the impact that would have on future Supreme Court nominations. But Obama left me cold for a really long time.
The speeches that many described as moving, soaring and inspirational did nothing for me. While “change” is a wonderful message, I didn’t believe that American would go for it.
Yes, I had become jaded. Plus, it was hard for me to be criticized by friends who got on the Obama bandwagon early and who mocked me and felt that the political choices I had made weren’t worthy of respect, yet they demanded it from me for their candidate of choice. To be honest, that didn’t make me want to support Obama more. But it did make me wonder why some Obama supporters couldn’t understand making a different choice. I wasn’t used to that sort of intolerance among those of my same political persuasion.
Since the moment that I wrote that I didn’t think I could support Obama, one friend continued to challenge me on my reservations, in a good way, because it kept me focused on how I was approaching the election and the reasons for my ambivalent political feelings.
But now that the election is over and President-elect Obama is headed for Washington, I have a favor to ask of all those who felt that anyone not supporting Barack Obama needed to have their heads examined — it’s time for all the Democrats to support one another, but more importantly I think it’s important to remember the lessons learned and keep from alienating each other in the future, because that’s what the GOP will seize on.
Friendships have been significantly altered because of the Obama phenomenon. Usually, I’ve seen that sort of split reserved for disagreements between Republicans and Democrats, but never before within the Democratic fold.
So, I’m asking all those Obama supporters who had a hard time cutting Hillary fans some slack, to reflect and try to see things from our side now that your man has won. Plenty of Obama fans thought Hillary was a political gamesman (or woman) who would stop at nothing to be in the White House. Maybe. Probably. But let’s at least admit that Obama is, essentially, the same — he had his strategies (remember not wanting to count Michigan or Florida votes in the primary?) and he had his own share of belittling comments that helped propel him, a relative neophyte to the political world, to his goal.
He is not a political saint or savior. He is a person. And now he is the President. But he is as political as anyone else whose ego and personality has pushed them to want to be the most powerful person on the planet.
So I’m asking, Obama fans, can you at least factor that in to your thinking now that he is going to be the president and remember that those of us who supported one (or more) other candidates in the process had our good reasons for doing so. We weren’t stupid or blind, we just saw things in a different way.
Barbs and insults hurled between Democrats need to be put away now so we can be on one page for moving our collective agenda forward.