Thursday, May 8, 2008

GWP on Hillary Over at The Guardian

A piece I wrote for Comment Is Free over at The Guardian is now live: "A Hillary Supporter's Remorse." Is anyone out there feeling the same? Please feel free to weigh in, there or here. (And thank you to Gryff for your awesome comments below! You motivate me.)


gryff said...

As I posted to the Guardian article .... put away the remorse. I've fought elections for 20 years - for both female and male candidates. Some for winners - some for losers.

I've been out there ... pounding pavements, putting up signs, delivering flyers and making phone calls from dingy campaign offices. When you lose it hurts - whether you are male or female.

But as I have pointed out at the Guardian, the democrats are doing something historic. Get out there now - help make that history. Be part of the stuff that will be in school history textbooks - not just for whoever the nominee is - but the Democratic Party itself, and American Democracy.

As a Canadian, I look in from the outside. From my view, the Democratic Party, probably through Obama, has the opportunity to give America back its respect and place in the world.

There are no guarantees - go out and get the United States past the fiasco of the last 8 years.

gryff :)

Amanda said...

Do you think HRC would be willing to accept the bottom half of a ticket?

gryff said...

In addition the my comments above, let me add a few more thoughts that should help with the feelings and emotions.

You, as a supporter of Hillary Clinton, and the supporters of Obama are doing something special for the Democratic Party. You are helping to break the 'glass ceiling' that has kept the preserve of the 'most powerful politician in the world' for white men only. You are helping to at least change the Democratic Party!

In a democracy, we all have a vote (age and citizenship restrictions aside). Some people don't bother to vote - and in my view have no reason to complain if they don't like the government they get.

Some vote, but kind of think that it ends there.

Others, like you, commit to a candidate. By going out and persuading, cajoling, converting peoples ideas etc., you end up with more than one vote! Each one you persuade is an extra vote -- and they in turn might persuade someone too, perhaps a neighbour, a relative or a spouse.

You will see bitterness and nastiness in replies at the Guardian and elsewhere - that's almost the nature of the internet.

Whenever I was doorknocking for a candidate and had the door slammed in my face, I would always remember those people who I managed to bring around to my candidate. The glass half full --- as opposed to half empty ;-) Personal success for me was the number of extra votes I helped bring in.

I see from your blogs and website that you are a writer, speaker and consultant. Use those skills to go out and make sure that the 'glass ceiling' for President is smashed completely. Help open doors for women and people of colour .... because once they are open, more will follow them.

gryff :)

(A white male by the way.)

Deborah Siegel said...

Gryff, thank you for your thoughtful remarks - they are so appreciated. And yes, I am getting slammed over at the Guardian but, hey, my skin is thick.

Amanda, good question. I'd like to see them BOTH rise to the occasion. What history, together, they could make.

Marjorie said...

Deborah, you stole my essay!

Seriously, you articulated my own thoughts on the subject very well. I vowed way back in 1992 that, no matter where I lived in the world (at the time I thought I'd be living in Asia or Europe), if HRC decided to run for president, I'd drop everything and return to the US just to help out in her campaign.

As it turned out, I'm in Colorado and have devoted some of my weekly columns for the local paper on her campaign and credentials, not to mention donated some hard-earned cash to her campaign. However, as far as putting my life on hold to volunteer my heart, let's just say that that hasn't happened yet.

I suck at fundraising (my own family turned down a request to donate $25 each to an awareness walk for a disease that I have), can't stand the telephone, and literally break out in hives when I have to do any kind of public speaking. I can barely make it to my next door neighbor's house without shaking in my shoes. In other words, I'm not the kind of campaign activist you want on your team. And yeah, I feel like I let HRC down, too.

I would love to see HRC win, but while I remain the eternal optimist, the numbers are not looking good. However, I appreciate the McCaskill quote you referenced in your article. Hillary's a big girl, she can handle her own campaign and will step down from it when she's good and ready. At this time I still think she's the best candidate and always will, and apparently millions of others feel the same way. If nothing else, I appreciate that HRC seems to understand the loyalty and passion her supporters feel for her and the responsibility that entails. To retreat now -- even if that would seem to be the logical choice -- would be an awful blow to those who worked so hard on her behalf.

I think that, for her as well as for myself and countless others, this election is about more than just a call for "change." What bothered me about the 2004 election (and why I didn't vote for Kerry but for Nader instead) is because I felt that the Democratic theme seemed to be, "It's better than the alternative." There didn't seem to be a really strong push to field a worthy candidate, just a half-assed attempt to throw any warm body into the ring as an alternative to Bush.

Now, though, not only do we have two strong candidates, but they're both non-traditional ones. Now that we have an election worth bothering about, it's actually become personal, far more than any election I've ever witnessed in my lifetime (I'm 36). Suddenly, I'm seeing my hero, a woman I've admired for 16 years, whose life and accomplishments I've followed for just as long, on the verge of literally becoming the leader of the freakin' world.

For that reason alone, I think that even if you've worked in politics in the past, I can only imagine that losing now would be even more difficult simply because we had a chance to make history...and failed. This isn't about a Democrat winning anymore, but a woman actually winning the White House, something a lot of us didn't think we'd see for decades.

By the way, I would be very surprised if Obama extended the olive branch and offered Clinton the VP-ship, and even more so if Clinton accepted it. Maybe I'm just projecting my own profound disappointment, but I can't imagine that happening after the exhausting bitterness of the last few months. And quite frankly, that would hurt like hell.


gryff said...

As for your Guardian post and the responses ... well the Guardian has a great Comment Is Free site. But you will get basically 3 types of responses - trolls, those against you and nasty, those for you and possibly nasty. To some its just a game - like a debating society.

The responses I've seen so far (upto 5 minutes ago) are now into rehashing bits and pieces of the campaign so far. But that is water under the bridge. Recriminations can wait till later - history await s :)

As to Amanda's question, there could be a woman on the ticket if Obama is the nominee - but I think its more likely to be Kathleen Sebelius or Jennifer Granholm (if she is eligible) or even Claire McCaskill who is mentioned in Deborah's Guardian piece.

However, it could be a man like Wes Clark or Jim Webb. It will depend on where the election team sees the biggest 'holes' in the campaign.

Politics is a funny business, but I'm sure that even if Obama is the nominee, Hillary Clinton will be around for a long time to come in someway.

gryff :)

Marjorie said...

Gryff, I hope you're right about that last part. If not a VP, perhaps a Cabinet position? Or maybe she'll continue being the Senator from NY. What really sucks is that, if Obama wins the presidency, it'll be another 8 years before another Dem can try for the White House.


gryff said...

Well Marjorie, possibilities I've seen mentioned are Governor of NY State, a position on the Supreme Court or Majority Leader Of the Senate (Harry Reid maybe stepping down).

gryff :)

Deborah Siegel said...

Marjorie and Gryff: I love the dialogue you have going here. Marjorie - send me links to your writings as you go and I will post them on my blog!

Greenie said...

Deb, I came to your blog this morning specifically because I wanted to see where you were on HRC. I have to admit -- I'm off the bandwagon. My heart is sick, but stomach is sicker, and I feel the time is to back Sen. Obama because I feel the Democratic Party is in danger of revisiting 2000. I made the declaration via email to my astonished family (equally split between Obama and Clinton, all vociferous in support), and I've been getting reamed by the 60 year old white woman in my life. I am sorry. I, too, always thought I'd go life and death if a viable female candidate was in the running.

This isn't, though, about a woman losing to a man, as usual. This is about non-traditional candidates -- both excellent, both historical -- and our chance to do something new for our country, whichever candidate gets the nomination. I have to keep reminding myself of that, so the guilt feels less. And feel free to ream me for running away at this moment -- my mom had no hesitation! In my heart, I will always support HRC, but with my energy, I have to support what I think is best for the Democratic Party.

I'll say what I've said all along: I was in a constitutional law class taught by Sen. Obama, and I support Hillary Clinton for president. I am proud to have to make a choice between two such people.

Jen Roberts

gryff said...

Jen said: "This is about non-traditional candidates -- both excellent, both historical -- and our chance to do something new for our country, whichever candidate gets the nomination."

Exactly my thoughts Jen :)

There should be no guilt or remorse. Both candidates are paving a path that others will follow. What the Democratic Party is doing is making an America that is a more inclusive place. Each of them is an example for young people to look to , to encourage young people to say "I can do it".

To all of you I say .... make it happen. Whoever is the nominee ... just get out and help!

I have to say though I do feel like an intruder here.

First off being a Canadian, people can argue its not my election - don't interfere, it does not concern you. But of course it does.
The US sneezes and we feel it. On top of that, I want to see the US back as 'a shining light on the hill' ... to get over the fiasco of the last 8 years. The Democratic Party can do it!!

And secondly of course ... er ... being a white male on the wrong side of 50 ;-)

But I do hope my intrusions are accepted - to me it is just a way of saying that I am supporting all Americans, and their hopes and dreams.

gryff :)

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