Friday, February 15, 2008
EpiphanyEvery now and then I have moments of clarity, moments when things that were previously confusing make perfect sense. I had one of those moments today while reflecting on the presidential campaign when I remembered an event from last year in my own life.
I had just signed up for Yahoo Messenger (I'm way behind on some things - I just got on Facebook this year) and it sent invites to everyone in my address book. Me being a pack-rat I rarely delete anything, so there were some addresses in there that I hadn't used in over a decade. I ended up hearing from someone attached to one of those old addresses, a sister with whom I shared an intimate relationship during my freshman year in college. Actually, there's no way to sanitize it - we went at it like rabbits back then, to the extent that most people thought that I had turned her out when the truth is that she came to me well-prepared and exceedingly experienced.
Anyway, we had a little conversation before I excused myself from the chat, but I am in such a different place now from where I was in undergrad that there was absolutely no possibility of us hooking up - in any context - as she's essentially the same person that I knew back then. Back then she was what I needed, what I was looking for, and she satisfied a serious need for me back then, and I her.
But that was then. My needs today are much more complex and require a completely different kind of sister. Even back then it only took a couple months of abject carnality for me to see that I needed to do something different - and someone different - but it took many more months for me to fully extract myself from the relationship. That's why, when I got her IM and the discussion alluded to us rekindling that which once was, my reaction was revulsion.
That is what reminded me of the current presidential election, specifically the Clintons' refusal to withdraw from the Democratic primary contest. Back in 1991-2 we Democrats were desperate for someone - anyone - to put an end to the GOP lock on the presidency, and Bill & Hillary Clinton did that for us. Back then we looked past Bill's bimbo proclivities because he was the one who rid us of the Reagan-Bush years, despite the fact that he was no friend to rank-and-file Democrats. We tolerated Clinton's caving on most Democratic principles because he was our president, not their president. However, we Democrats have changed significantly in the past decade. Howard Dean began an awakening of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party and we have found in Barack Obama a candidate that we can whole-heartedly vote for instead of the usual "Not-A-Republican" candidates that we've had to hold our noses to affirm.
It is in this context that Hillary launched her campaign for president, and I would argue that it was DOA - even if Barack Obama didn't exist someone like him would have come to the fore, because this is as much a "No" to Hillary Clinton as it is a "Yes" to Barack Obama. Hillary might have been right for 2000, and she may even have been right for 2004, but in 2008 we are so far removed from what the Clintons are selling that they might as well be hocking 8-tracks. You see, if my former fling had contacted me around 1999 or 2000 then we probably would have been married by now, had kids, gone though an acrimonious divorce, and I'd be paying alimony and child support - much like where we'd be after another Clinton presidency.
There's much to be said for providence...
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Smoke and MirrorsThe battle between Obama and Clinton could wind up a draw going into the convention with the nomination to be decided by the superdelegates. This, of course, would be a horrendous development. I don't think any of us want to go back to the days when candidates won or lost in back-room deals filled with cigar smoke and the scent of scotch.
Donna Brazile, the manager of Al Gore's campaign, had her own strong reaction about the situation:
"If 795 of my colleagues decide this election, I will quit the Democratic Party. I feel very strongly about this..."
According to CNN, Obama leads in pledged delegates 908 to 877 (thank you Louisiana, Nebraska, and Washington). But Clinton leads in super delegates 223 to 131, which gives her an overall edge of 41. The magic number is 2,025.
What is the price for the soul of the Democratic Party? If the party rolls over the give the finger to the Democratic process the results will not be pretty. Even more important is the affect on Black folk. If Obama ends up with more pledged delegates and gets the shaft I may have to follow Ms. Brazile's lead. It isn't just about Obama, it's about Carl McCall getting pushed aside in the New York State gubernatorial election, about Kweisi Mfume getting pushed aside in the Maryland senate race. It's about the Democratic Party thinking that civil rights legislation passed forty years ago obligates the support of Black folk in perpetuity. I have heard of more than one person saying they would vote for the Republican nominee if Clinton gets the nod, and I'm sure the number would balloon if it's done in a back-room deal. It might not be a bad idea to spread the notion of a "Plan B." There's no reason to support the Democratic Party if they're not supporting us. What have you done for me lately?
I'm not a big Cynthia McKinney fan, but she is running for president on the Green Party ticket.
....I'm just sayin'...