19 September 2016

On Hillary Rodham Clinton

I recently had the privilege of participating in an incredibly rich exchange about our current political scene on my friend D's Facebook page. My friend, P, wrote the following:
I am not going to pretend all of a sudden I adore Hillary - Who's going to buy that? What I do say is simply this: "You may hate Hillary, I'm not happy with her either, but any damage she does can be undone relatively quickly. The damage Trump does? We'll be decades. And everything we want from Single Payer to a much-narrowed gap between rich and poor? That will be pushed back for generations. Think tactically."
I've been holding back for some time on the topic, but this was my reply:

While I endorse this view--and I do--I also think there is a Third Way, and that way is to actually acknowledge and embrace Clinton's very real, very important, and often overlooked positive aspects and her long history of entirely endorsable work in the real world, especially her--from the start of her career in public service (and her career is one of public service, as such)--advocacy for low income people and of course children and women.

I am a political radical and a Marxist. And while incrementalism has had some marked successes, it also poses a dangerous stasis, especially on the American topic of race. Clinton has often depended on triangulation and Real Politik for decision making. I am disappointed in the way that the Clintons skate on this side of propriety without seeming to be able to see how much it damages them in the media and the eyes on it. Nonetheless, she has never been even charged with a crime--despite enormous industry and money spent trying to do so, usually on the public dime--and is listed by Politicfact--and others--as one of our most honest politicians. The endless attempts to discredit her are simple misogyny through and through. I say this as someone who also didn't like Clinton for a very long time, but when I took the time to look at her record and read a wider sample of opinions about her, I found someone I could believe in. And like. Yes, I fucking like the bitch.

I have had enormous problems with Obama's administration, but for all the bad, Republican-courting choices and extensions of the last Bush Presidency, we have a kazillion missed opportunities made so by the Republican Congress. Will Clinton provide an Obama extension? Sure. Probably for the exact same reasons, but the thing is this: warts and all, Clinton is a from-the-start public servant. She's tough, she's smart, she's industrious and tenacious, she's been through it all, the only other presidential candidate who could possibly have been more, or equally, qualified than her was George H. W. Bush. Yet she keeps putting herself through this media/opinion nightmare to really try to make a substantive difference. It can't be as simple as greed as her detractors more than imply, or simply state. This woman has to really give a red rat's ass about our country to go through the wringer like this again. It matters to her, in an way that it doesn't to Donald Trump. He's a shady real estate developer and casino owner, who has devoted his life to making as much money for himself as possible while grifting the system, buying politicians, and bilking the working men and women doing the actual work for his company as much as possible. Whereas she has spent the entirety of her adult life, from the beginning, trying to make the world better for those less fortunate than her. She has made some poor choices, but having a private email server, which both Colin Powell (whatever he may or may not have said to her) and Condoleezza Rice--both former Secretaries of State--also used, is interesting on the one hand, but an over-analyzed, non-starter waste of time on the other hand, especially when compared to Trump's long trail of bullying, not paying, or underpaying his contractors, day laborers, wage slaves, and even his lawyers, The trail of Trump's legal adventures that were settled out of court--or not settled out of court--would fill a book many times larger than the unsuccessful attempts to make something remotely similar stick to Clinton. It's a matter of legal record, which anyone can look up.

In my opinion, if a person can't find a way to see Clinton in a positive light--whatever her or his original or earlier political allegiances or investments--then I feel that person's opinion lacks nuance and lacks a healthy curiosity, an open mindedness, and is influenced more by the dimension of our overwhelming, nearly monolithic, unreconstructed, sexist, news-culture industry, which is better characterized by FOX News than MacNeil/Lehrer.

If you can be open to her actually being a good thing, instead of a nose-hold-voting bad thing, it will make your argument stronger. And in the unbearable torture chamber of this election, we need strong arguments, more than anything else. We have to flip this script, not because it's a tactic to evade Trump in the White House, but because the script is just flat-out wrong.

It's really true. #imwithher.

My sister replied:
Well said! Thanks for expressing so many important points. Thanks also to P. Everyone, think - and more importantly vote - tactically!
I replied:

I do endorse P's perspective, entirely. I really, really do. I respect it, and I understand it. And if that is the most positive-thinking mindset toward Clinton that a person gets to, then I support the hard struggle they've made to get there--which we are all, as (hopefully) thinking participants, in this election, making: a hard struggle. I invite Trump supporters to also think tactically and deeply--I want everyone who is passionate about his or her candidate to get out and vote and encourage others to do the same.

But I will say this: I did not decide to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton because she is the lesser of two evils, the slightly less unlikeable of the, as the media endlessly insists, two most disliked candidates in the history of American politics. By the way, I find this comparison facetious and preposterous: Clinton and Trump do not even belong in the same sentence much less the same category, despite the fact that I have put them both in the same sentence, here. :o)

I decided to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton because, despite her faults, and she has them, I think she would make a good President for us. For all of us. And I think she will honestly work hard to do so, make mistakes, some of them stupid ones, and then continue to do her very best and work hard to be a good President for all of us.

That is what I honestly think.

What do you honestly think?

Before you answer, and before you vote, though, think. Think honestly. Don't just feel and react. Think.

Have a great day.

17 September 2016

In the Midnight Blue

A Large Pot of Chrysanthemums

Blooming, yearning
Up toward the
Sky, like baby
Birds, like stars, in
The midnight blue.

L. Steve Schmersal, A Large Pot of Chrysanthemums, September 2016.