Monday, June 16, 2008

Of friendships and politics

Most of my closest pre-campaign friends either favored Senator Obama or at least regarded him as a an acceptable candidate. Most have not engaged as intensely as I have with this campaign season. Most cannot understand why I will not "stop beating a dead horse" (to quote one friend) by objecting to Senator Obama as the Democratic nominee. After all, with it so clear that Senator Obama will in fact be the nominee, they comment, why fuss? Others, who share my distaste for Senator McCain's policies, express opinions ranging from puzzlement to anger that I could even consider withholding my vote from the Democratic contender.

Many of my "campaign friends", the fine people I have come to know through my recent political activities, urge that I vote for Senator McCain. These friends object to Senator Obama's positions and to his character. They mistrust Senator Obama, regard him as arrogant, manipulative, unreliable, untrustworthy and ungracious (to say the least to Senator Clintons supporters). I share many of their opinions.

The precampaign friends tend to know little or nothing about my ongoing effort to retire Senator Clinton's debt; many are tired of hearing about Senator Clinton or about the primary season in general and some are not excited by the general election. Since I try not to be a crashing bore, I don't advertise my unwavering commitment to retiring Senator Clinton's debt to these friends. And since many have not followed the ins and outs of the nominating process, they do not want to listen to a detailed explanation of the various ways in which the D.N.C. leadership and Senator Obama himself have thus far gamed the party's system to make Senator Obama the presumptive nominee.

The campaign friends certainly know about my drive to retire the debt. They have rallied around this cause, spreading the word far and wide. They share my excitement as, bit by bit, we make a dent in that debt. These friends rarely tire of discussing the latest appalling actions by Dr. Dean, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid, and Senator Obama.

Regardless of their differences with regard to both politics and to my own actviities this year, both sets of friends adopt a view toward voting in the general election that is fundamentally guided by consequentialist reasons. Those who dread the state of affairs in which we end up with President McCain cannot understand why I am not planning to vote for Senator Obama even if I have "hold my nose" (again to quote a friend) while doing so. Those who dread the scenario that winds up with President Obama have difficulty accepting that I will not vote for Senator McCain - although it must be said that these friends have been far more understanding and tolerant of my disagreement with them than the friends who are dissatisfied with my view that unless and until Senator Obama actually earns my vote, he will not have it.

At the end of the day, the precampaign friends who truly care how I in particular vote should be glad that I myself choose abstention rather than that I opt for Senator McCain or for Senator Obama,if these are indeed the alternatives come November. Because if somebody told me that I simply had to pick one or the other, that I could not reject both, I might well pull the lever for Senator McCain, although I most definitely would be holding my nose while doing it. My reason: I simply cannot vote for a candidate chosen by what so far has indeed been a corrupt Democratic nomination process. I will not endorse that perversion. Even if I regarded Senator Obama more highly than I do, the ends do not justify the means by which the Democratic Party is trying to promote him.

That ends-justify-the-means sort of reasoning characterizes the current administration: it is a style of thought that can slide one down a slope pretty fast. President Bush uses it to justify torture, for example. And Senator Obama's supporters seem to use it to justify their bullying and threatening to get all Democrats to shut up and fall in line. I say: no thank you. Certain means are simply unacceptable.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heidi, excellent post.

I refrain from discussing politics much w anyone. However I am very open about my disgust with Obama when the conversation presents an open opportunity. I don't know anyone who supports this fraud. I have never considered George Bush my President because of the cheating way he got into office and did it twice. Obama apparently was paying attention.

I would find it extremely difficult to be anything but acquaintances with people who so easily accepted Obama as the possible Dem nominee. Either their lack of attention to what is going on or their disinterest in the racist, sexist, bullying, cheating actions of Obama would make me distance myself from them.

June 16, 2008 at 5:14 AM  
Anonymous Mirlo said...

Again, your post has triggered a whole sequence of thought in me: You describe what seems to me to be an ethical dilemma.

That ends don't justify the means is, to me, a question of right or wrong, not a dilemma, so it's no question that the corruption in question is wrong. A vote for Obama, hence, is not an option.

The dilemma presents itself between abstention or a vote for McCain. If we look at it from the "right versus right" paradigms, I see 3 of them applicable:

self versus community:

Many of your personal values stand contrary to what McCain represents. The campaign community, in which you find yourself today, regards the character issue as a priority, because they are convinced that if issues are not backed by character to pull through, imported issues can be lost through going the way of least resistance or even corruption. Because of his proven character, they feel less exposed to disaster.
Which has priority?

short term versus long term:

this is hypothethical, albeit interesting, because the thesis that after 4 year of a presumably disastrous presidency of Obama, Democrats will not have a chance to secure the WH for a long time, where as Hillary could have a good chance after 4 years of McCain to start a succesful chain of Democratic Presidencies. So, a short term McCain Presidency might represent a positive longterm effect. Which has priority?

truth versus loyalty:

truth in this context is the reality of the corruption, the
(s)election of the presumtive nominee and the actions of the DNC versus your loyalty towards your values in reference to the issues. Which has priority?

The Institute for Global Ethics has developed a model to evaluate Ethical Dilemmas by 3 decision rules:
ends-based: the greatest good for the greates numbers
rule-based: a suitable rule for everyone else to follow in similar situations
care-based: the golden rule, do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.

Each one has to decide for themselves what is, in this case, a priority. I have found many times that going through these paradigms and decision rules has helped me to take a decision I felt good about, because I could found my decision on ethical considerations. It also helps to obtain transparency and to know that a decision of right versus right is never wrong (or right), because we have to decide between equal values.

we are still having some hope that during the summer things happen and thus change might happen and Hillary might be nominated after all. Am I alone with this??

June 16, 2008 at 7:50 AM  
Anonymous athyrio said...

I still have hope for Hillary this summer, and I still have a candle lit on my desktop for her to prevail, and I continue to pray that she will prevail...Please everyone, light a candle on your desktops for her...

June 16, 2008 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger GrandMe said...

Thank you all. You have started my day well. Instead of the frustration I awoke with, I have much to ponder-- because while I tend towards writing in Hillary's name, there is the realization that a vote for McCain would be the first time I've had a chance to vote for someone in my age group. I do find him honorable, and feel votes for him might take some power from the far right. (I was reared a moderate Republican.) I,too, still hold out hope, however slight. I will light a candle.

June 16, 2008 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

I've been in a state of denial for months now. In April, after PA, I saw what MSM was doing to Hillary and the democratic establisments' endorsement of their tactics. I had a glass of wine and cried myself to sleep one night for Hillary. I woke up the next morning and still the feeling did persists, that Hillary is the one. Secretly, oh so secretly, I think to myself, everytime I hear someone give up on her "ye of little faith." Lately, I've had an unresolved feeling and the question remains, too late or not, if not now, when? Still, I keep the faith. It does not feel like it is over. I might wake up one of these days yet. Because somehow, deep down inside, I strongly still believe that Hillary is the one.

June 16, 2008 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger democraticjack said...

You and I walk the same line on this one, Heidi. This has been a seriously flawed primary process on so many levels. There is no reason for me to feel loyal to a party which betrayed my candidate and, maybe even more importantly, the voices of the voters. If we can be dismissed that easily; why should we owe them a second thought?

June 16, 2008 at 9:34 PM  
Anonymous fif said...

"My reason: I simply cannot vote for a candidate chosen by what so far has indeed been a corrupt Democratic nomination process. I will not endorse that perversion. Even if I regarded Senator Obama more highly than I do, the ends do not justify the means by which the Democratic Party is trying to promote him."

That is exactly where I stand. As Wodiej said: Bush was never considered a legitimate president. I feel that way about Obama. He was manipulated into the nomination by the media, the DNC, the RBC, his bullying supporters, and his hypocritical tactics. To support him is to signal to all those parties that these strategies are successful and can be effectively employed again.

If Howard Dean, however, now maneuvers to keep Hillary off the first ballot for the "sake of unity," that will be the ultimate act of insensitivity and arrogance. His tin ear is literally bankrupting the Party.

I have had many heated discussions with friends. Coming from an Ivy League background, some close friends are the quintessential liberal latte elites. They are very intelligent, caring people, but have such an amazing blindspot where Obama is concerned. Since they get their news from the NY Times etc., they repeat every Axelrod talking point as if it is fact. One old friend yelled in my face: "SHE'S A LIAR!" When I countered with Obama's numerous lies, she talked over me, and said, "WHAT has he lied about?! He hasn't lied about anything!" Last night, another friend, talked about Hillary's "Rovian" campaign tactics, and excused Obama's Rev. Wright issues by repeating the absolutely ludicrous reasoning he gave: "But he wasn't IN the church that day!"

Wisdom and insight do not have anything to do with education. We are all blind to what we do not want to see...I try to be diplomatic, but I cannot ignore what I have witnessed and what my instincts so clearly insist is true.

Thanks for your continued support of Hillary and your kind heart.

June 16, 2008 at 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Virginia said...

Hi Heidi, I appreciate your dilemma very much - good post. I would probably describe my own situation a little differently - most of my friends and acquaintances before, during, and since the Democratic primary are Obama supporters. And it's been tough to even discuss our differences of opinon. At present, I'm still considering the options for the general election. In an effort to let Democratic party leaders know that sexism and misogyny no longer cut it, I have re-registered as an independent this time around.

I will add that I continue to value my heart felt connections in the blogosphere with Clinton supporters!

June 17, 2008 at 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Marina said...


I have voted Democratic my entire voting life. Routinely I have voted a straight Democratic ticket because as a woman of color I felt that the Democrats best represented my values and beliefs. However the blatent sexism and misogyny that has been leveled at Senator Clinton has just been too much for me to bear. Combine that with Michiagn, Florida, the RBC, and the choice has become apparent-the Democratic party will no longer have my support, financial donations, respect, or vote. I am now an independent and will support Senator McCain this fall. To vote for the selected Democratic presidential candidate would be to condone the shameful treatment of Senator Clinton. I will not fall in line, hold my nose, or pretend that it is okay.

June 17, 2008 at 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Dakinikat said...

Hi Heidi,

I just finally wrote about my experience Sunday night with a few friends on my blog. Let me tell you, the unity pony did not ride into the room. Thanks for writing this and letting me know I'm not alone in these feelings. It's good to have folks around you that really get it.

June 18, 2008 at 11:13 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home