Time to Move On

Fri, November 7, 2008

Uncategorized

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.

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16 Responses to “Time to Move On”

  1. adriana Says:

    This is very thoughtful. The Dem Party has a big tent, and we should not alienate former HC supporters. I actually see her taking on a bigger role in the Senate if she desires. Maybe she will pick up and take a cue from Ted Kennedy.

  2. Sunshine Says:

    Actually, the same could be said for people who voted for McCain. I know a couple people who want to stop blogging (and not political blogs, they just blog but are conservatives) because they feel they’ve been attacked, mocked and ridiculed.

    We’re all going to have President Obama, not just the people who voted for him. Unity is a good thing, and when everyone can stop acting like they’re in junior high and be a little more tolerant about people who have a differing viewpoint, the better for the country.

    My son (junior high age, coincidentally) has been interested in politics since about 3rd grade. This year a friend made a donkey necklace for him and he was wearing it to school the last couple weeks.

    I told him that he should stick to his own beliefs and convictions, and never apologize for believing strongly in something. But he also has to be smart enough to listen and be tolerant of other viewpoints because his friends may be just as passionate about their stance. And lastly, he needs to accept the fact that he may not always be right.

    I’ll be glad to see what PunditMom has to say under President Obama – I have no doubt you’ll keep him on his toes!

  3. Holly Says:

    I never make up my mind .at least. until we are down to one candidate per party. That said, I also was slow to warm to Obama, though I have thrown myself behind him wholeheartedly now. I think this might be a good thing for us as Americans, mothers, voters, and whatever other label you want to apply.

    If Obama did nothing else, he has generated conversation (sometimes heated), thought and energy to really hear someone.

  4. Michael Boh Says:

    I never thought Obama was a saint or that his speeches made me swoon. I just thought the man had the right policies and was right for the job. I also think Hillary and McCain ran poor campaigns – they executed poorly. I think we all need to be pragmatic about it. Nice post PunditMom. However, please don’t think all the Obama supporters were awe struck. Many of us were just impressed by his abilities. Thx – Michael

  5. culture observer Says:

    Interesting post and blog. Relevantly, many prominent experts and publications have pointed out that Obama is part of Generation Jones, born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and GenXers.

    You may find this page interesting: it has, among other things, excerpts from publications like Newsweek and the New York Times, and videos with over 25 top pundits, all talking specifically about Obama’s identity as a GenJoneser:
    http://www.generationjones.com/2008election.html

  6. Daisy Says:

    Generation Jones? I’ve never heard of that, and I’m in it!
    I, too, was and remain a supporter of Hillary Clinton. Anyone running for president needs self-confidence and a large amount of ego to even consider entering the race. Those who criticize Clinton and Palin as egotists forget that this is common to all who aspire to be President.

  7. anniegirl1138 Says:

    I have heard of Generation Jones and knew long before I found out we had a name/identity that we were different from the boomers and Xers.

    But getting back to Obama, I found relatively little in him or his campaign up until the last six weeks when his poise and common sense really stood out.

    As late as the 4th of July I recall listening to him pander to a group of Vets in the Dakotas somewhere and just gagging. He is as much a political game player as anyone I have ever seen, but that doesn’t necessarily make a person bad or their goals for office and the country suspect.

    I am not ashamed of having supported Clinton though I agree she didn’t run the best campaign. I identified with her and liked her ideas and I still do. Mock away. Why does it matter now that I wasn’t an Obama supporter from the get go? The important thing is that I support him now and it still counts just as much – more really because unity is essential to our country if we are to get ourselves out of the current troubles. This is no time to play middle school games.

  8. Jeni Says:

    In the beginning, I was leaning sort of towards Edwards then he was no longer part of the mix. Looking at a choice between Clinton and Obama in the PA primary, I knew I had to make up my mind and comparing them as much as I could with my limited knowledge of each one and their ideas, I ended up voting for Obama. Either way, would have been historic -first woman candidate, first black candidate. And as much as I too would like to see a woman in the oval office during my lifetime, I opted for Obama simply because I felt I could better envision him -a little cooler, calmer, maybe, that the image I got when thinking of Clinton in the white house. I wasn’t voting for her simply to get a woman in there nor was I voting for Obama to end the way blacks have very much been shut out of higher offices. I’m happy with the choice I made. I think Clinton and Obama were actually fairly close in programs, ideas, etc. I never gave the republicans a second thought though but truthfully, prior to the campaign I liked McCain, as a person, but not as Presidential material. After watching the campaign as it got down and dirty the past couple of months, I really cringed every time I saw McCain speak -just made me think of the old Grinch ya know. But, when the time came and he made his concession speech, now there was the “man” I had admired a long ways back. Probably this only makes sense to me, but them’s my thoughts and theories and how I came through supporting Obama.
    Oh – and some of those conservatives who feel they are being blasted, they should read some of the posts I’ve read by some conservatives in which those of us who opted to vote for a dem were lower than the lowest, white trailer trash. Both sides I guess are guilty of that kind of mud slinging.

  9. Myg Says:

    “Friendships have been significantly altered because of the Obama phenomenon.”

    God, I really hope that’s not true. Not for the general public anyway. If it’s happened to you, I’m really sorry to hear it. We’ve all been through so much as Democrats in this country, you are right – we need to come together.

    In any case, I just want to put out there that as an Obama supporter I did understand why Hillary had so many supporters and I respected their views, even though they were different. I also want to mention there was plenty of angry words coming from Hillary supporters towards the Obama supporters during the primary, so I think a lot of the feeling was mutual. In fact, I know it was.

    I think the election was so emotional because the last 8 years were so damned painful. Either Hillary or Obama would have been a far, far better leader than anything the Republicans have to offer. I hope that now we’ve got real Democratic majorities and the Whitehouse we can relegate politics a little bit to policy and get some work done in this country.

    Maybe as the country turns around, some of those hard feelings will begin to fade too.

  10. KARIN Says:

    I voted for Clinton in the Texas primary. Where I live, the Democrats were seriously divided and I was worried that we would not be able to come together in time to secure the election. I cried when Hillary didn’t get the nomination. But honestly, I hadn’t thought about that until I read this post. It seems like such a long time ago. I was 100% in the tank for Obama…I guess as soon as the Republicans announced their VP candidate. I haven’t experienced any backlash resulting from my support of Hillary. Maybe that’s because I was such a rabid Obama supporter. dunno. Interesting post.

  11. PunditMom Says:

    I had never heard of Generation Jones before, either. But I will definitely be checking it out!

  12. winecat Says:

    Well spoken and so very true. We managed to win the election, let’s not blow the administration.

  13. Houseonahill Says:

    Punditmom, dont feel bad, Imagine being a woman of color in CHICAGO on Hillary’s bandwagon!!

    That was me!

    I always felt, having worked on his Seante campaigns, that there was more for him to accomplish in Chicago, as the need is great and he was just getting started, so I was bitter. I also felt like I was a female before I was conscious enough to know I was black as well, so Senator Clinton’s campaign spoke to me.

    I did not like how her campaign was run, and she did not appear to be too comfy with it either ~ whatever the case it was just President-elect Obama’s time.
    And rightfully so. I straddled the fence until it was time to hop over and I campaigned for this until I felt like I had new friends all over this great country.

    AND Obama met us all there by evolving, transforming and if you recall, we labeled him a “shape-shifter” – shapeshifted into this awesome force.

    I feel so good that things took their natural course – this country is shining already…like a brand new penny!

    All the wounds will heal and everything will be as it should…friendships and all…hugs to you for a great post!

  14. The Momster Says:

    I’m with Houseonahill. I’m a labor voter and supporter of Hillary from way back but I had misgivings about this particular run for the presidency from the beginning. I backed away from Obama at the outset because I didn’t feel his love for organized labor (or at least my union – I later realized he had just conceded us to Hillary from the very beginning). In addition, Hillary’s health plan is just plain better and he should probably adopt it.
    Anyway, when Hillary dropped out I got behind Obama for the same reasons as PunditMom – I want a balanced Supreme Court, AND I want an actual Department of Labor and a NLRB that actually looks out for working Americans, and none of those things would happen with another Republican in the White House. I also want an Employee Free Choice Act and I want the Lilly Ledbetter Act to become law. Senator McCain was not doing a thing for me. In addition, as an Alaskan woman, and one of the 20% who NEVER supported her, there is no way I wanted to see Governor Sarah a heartbeat from McCain’s presidency.
    As I joined Obama on the journey, though, I, too, saw his own evolution – his became the voice of calm and reason at the end when the economy went sideways and the campaign got ugly. I had one heart-stopping moment, when he and his family took the stage at the Democratic convention and I suddenly realized down to my toes that they were a family of color and I realized the fantastic enormity of what we were all doing together. Then, when I saw them again on election night, I understood what Michelle Obama meant when she talked about being proud to be an American for the first time. I had allowed myself to lapse into cynicism and some hopelessness, and they brought me hope and joy. I have no grandiose expectations, but I am grateful to have a smart and focused and thoughtful progressive as leader of this country and I wish him, and all of us, well.

  15. Susan Getgood Says:

    Well said PunditMom.

    Barack Obama was not my first choice among the Democrats. I was a Hillary Clinton supporter and as you know, I had very mixed feelings about how the Party treated her.

    That said, he was my choice on the day. Even though I personally might have preferred to be celebrating the first woman president, I was proud that our nation was celebrating our first African American president. Thrilled that our party has regained the White House and improved our majority in Congress.

    After 8 years of Shrub and Cheney, we should ALL be rejoicing at this opportunity. Not wasting it on infighting. Obama isn't holding a grudge. Chief of staff designate Emmanuel didn't endorse him til late in the game out of loyalty to both Clinton & Obama.

    So why should we?

  16. sarah Says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Sarah

    http://www.thetreadmillguide.com


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