Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Reflections on the Pennsylvania Primary

So Clinton won in Pennsylvania, and the Clinton camp and the media are abuzz with the latest – "Clinton wins all the big states that we need to win in November. Obama just can't get that done. Therefore, only Clinton can win in the general election. Obama isn't electable!"

Excuse me?

This is one of the most specious arguments I've ever heard. It's the equivalent of holding an apple in one hand and a baseball in the other, and saying, "This apple is sour, therefore this baseball is sour, too!" Hard to say whether this is just a deliberate attempt at obfuscation, or they really believe we are that stupid.

All we've learned from the primaries so far is that Hillary is more popular among registered Democrats than Barack in PA, CA, MA, TX, NY, FL, MI, and NH, and Barack is more popular than Hillary within that demographic just about everywhere else. To compare a contest isolated among registered Democrats with a contest that includes Republicans, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Independents, Greens, Pacifics, Reformists, Socialists, Communists, and whoever else is out there and registered is ludicrous, and doesn't take into account the personality and reputation of either Hillary or Barack within that larger constituency, nor how they may fare against McCain in the fall.

A friend recently told me, "I used to think I'd vote for whoever won the primary, but seeing the negativity that Clinton's done in the PA campaign, I can't envision ever voting for her." I've heard similar sentiments from a smattering of friends, family, and acquaintances. I haven't heard anything like that about Obama. Anecdotally, I'd have to give Obama the edge on electability in November.

Personally, I believe that both Hillary and Obama can win the November election. And I sincerely hope that one of them does.

My own endorsement of Obama is based less on general-election electability than on my own sense that, as a friend recently put it, "We need new blood." I am thoroughly sick of the Culture Wars, and of negative campaigning. I had real hopes that Obama would put the negativity behind him, and he did so – until now. What a disappointment to see him attacking Clinton in the kind that she has attacked him. The challenges our nation faces – the very real crises – affect us all – a health care system that doesn't work; global climate change; Peak Oil and the ensuing energy crisis; a massive national debt and budget deficit; gross over-investment in the military, and underinvestment in civic infrastructure; the credit crisis; a middle class crippled by 28 years of Republican economic policies that favor the rich at the expense of the rest of us; a media that has completely sold out to the interests of the uber-wealthy, and marches in lock-step with Republican lobbyists; the moral (and fiscal) crises of the Iraq Occupation and torture; the ongoing refusal of Congress to enforce the law of the land against the Criminal(s)-in-Chief; and a crumbling Empire that no one is willing to let go.

I think Obama has the best chance of the three at applying the fresh thinking, and of working across the aisle to include everyone. We aren't going to solve these crises unless we stop bickering and start working together. It's a pretty sure bet we aren't going to solve them satisfactorily if we let John McCain take a stab at it, though. He'll just apply more of the stuff that got us into this mess in the first place.

It's a huge disappointment to see that the increasing bitterness and negativity of this campaign will continue, and probably increase. I hate to see us Democrats eat our own, yet again.

My congratulations to Hillary on her win in PA. Now, on to North Carolina...

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Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz