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How and why I voted

November 9, 2008 am30 8:49 am

Back in the Spring, faithful readers may have picked up a negative slant towards H. Clinton and assumed I was supporting Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. That’s not quite how it happened. But I can’t blame you for thinking so – given some of these posts: 1, 2, 3…)

At the beginning of the primary season, the only candidate I would have considered supporting was the longest of long shots – Dennis Kucinich. Got the bumper sticker to prove it. I was looking for a pro-worker, anti-war candidate, and none of the others fit the bill. My more realistic friends and relatives were going to go for Edwards, before the sex came out. And Clinton and Obama? Friends will testify, though I didn’t blog it, that I found them the two least palatable of the democratic candidates, and virtually indistinguishable, except for the race and gender stuff.

Not that it mattered much what I thought. I am not registered in a party. If you asked me after Super Tuesday, I would have said “idk, McKinney, maybe?”

But why the apparent Obama lean in the posts here? It wasn’t an Obama lean. I was unhappy about how the AFT endorsement was managed. Randi and the AFT leadership wanted Clinton, and that was it, more or less. I was unhappy that the leaders made the endorsement with no meaningful input. I was unhappy that there had been no advisory discussion among UFT delegates. I didn’t like that the AFT polled members, rather than letting activists (Chapter Leaders, delegates) have a say… And then I really didn’t like when it was time to concede, the way the AFT was among the last and most reluctant to move.

But I also was not happy – the democrats had two candidates, and they were my least favorites out of the field. Even today, when someone tries to make the case that there were sharp differences (got treated to one of those talks last weekend), it sounds like hair-splitting to me.

And then, there was this Jose Vilson post: Not that I was making up my mind based on what Jose said, but it made me think. Why vote for the lesser of two evils. Why vote for a candidate who will not do the things I want to see done. In my heart of hearts, I know both Obama and Clinton said they would end the war in Iraq, but… And in my heart of hearts, I know that on education, there were too many compromises with the center… And there was more… But in the end, I went back to something Fred Klonsky wrote. And I quote

But this is what I know: When my grandchildren are old enough to ask me about such things, and if I am still around, and they ask me who I voted for when the first African-American who had a real chance to be elected President was running, I will not say I voted for someone else.

In the end, that was the winning argument. I got the buttons, the shirts, passed them out, made phone calls, and walked around northeast Philly last weekend.

By the way, read what Jose did. Don’t just read the title. Don’t just look at the photo. Read. Out loud, even. (Preceded, for those interested, by less interesting prose.)

And look, the inspiration is real. Look at the photos, the raw enthusiasm. It is something. It is liberating to think that there is no office that is completely shut. It’s not an end to racism. But the majority of the country just gave American racism the finger, and it felt, collectively, incredible.

So, back to Klonsky, with a thank you. And since it captures the spirit just about right, I’ll steal this video he posted:

(not a great substitute, but embedding is disabled for the official video)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2008 am30 9:14 am 9:14 am

    So, does this mean that the “white guilt” thing can finally be put to rest? I still can’t fathom what I have to feel guilty about.

    My ancestors died freeing the slaves and nobody is talking about my restitution!

  2. November 9, 2008 pm30 10:45 pm 10:45 pm

    Thanks for linking me by the way. This was a good reflection, so much so that I actually linked back to it. The enclave of skeptics like me and you look at Barack and still have to deeply respect him because of who he is, and what he represents, even if we disagree with parts of his policies. Really.

  3. November 13, 2008 am30 10:44 am 10:44 am

    I had Kucinich sign in my yard until yesterday! I knew he had no chance in hell, but that doesn’t mean I supported him half-heartedly. Once it was clear who had the nomination, I worried that the same was true for him. I’m glad I worried for no reason.


  1. Sunday links. « Fred Klonsky’s blog

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