Saturday, January 26, 2008


The Atlantic has a reader comment that pretty much captures my anger at the Democratic nominating contest in a nutshell. Good thing they took down their pay wall. The letter reads:

For the last six years, I’ve watched a fear-mongering fool manipulate us, ruin our standing in the world and abuse our principles. It’s been hard to feel good about our country. But when Obama won Iowa and surged in the New Hampshire polls I thought I’d underestimated us. For the first time in my lifetime, my cynical generation was turning out heavily to vote. We were choosing, above all else, to be inspired.

Now, the Clinton campaign has gradually and expertly eviscerated him, and it turns out we’re not that country. We’re still easily manipulated; we’re still scared; and we’re still a little racist. It’s hard not to resent her for that.

I couldn't agree more. I've been active in politics since the 2000 election (strangely pulled in by watching the first Gore/Bush debate in an emergency room waiting area while my at the time girlfriend was examined for a sports injury), and constant discussion and debate with my friends has kept me interested and involved. But the entirety of my experience has been defined by the Florida recount, Republican fearmongering, scandal after scandal, swiftboating, and a Democratic majority that seems like it doesn't remember how to be a majority. But something seemed wrong with this picture.

My friends, liberal and conservative alike, all want America to be a better place and generally believe in the inherent good nature of our fellow man. Why, I wondered, was that what my friends and I saw, while politics itself was gamesmanship and dirty tricks? Could it be because we were college students/recent graduates who were still holding onto idealism? Barack Obama seemed to say that it wasn't us. It was possible to be an agent of the political system and still believe in the good nature of America and the transformative power of believing that we can work together, rather than being involved in some Red State/Blue State civil war.

Watching Hillary Clinton take apart the Democratic Party to win the nomination is like watching a brain surgeon at work. It's cold, calculated, and ridiculously effective. The problem is, it tears the nation further apart. If she wins the nomination like this, who will she govern? The half of the Democratic Party that now wants nothing to do with her? The half of the country that disliked her to begin with? George Bush proved in 2000 that you don't need a majority to win, but I never thought I'd see anyone go to these extremes, let alone a Democrat.

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