(This post is directed toward those Barack Obama voters who want to elect a Democrat to the White House in 2008)
It’s interesting as I talk with other Clinton supporters the same theme comes up. I personally like Barack Obama and think that he would be a great candidate. However, what drives me away from him more than anything is some of his supporters. I would say the vast majority of his supporters are very friendly and rational. I can talk with reasonable and friendly Obama supporters like Jeff and David and have an engaging and civil conversation where there is mutual respect and an eye on the larger picture of getting a Democrat in the White House. I went to happy hour tonight with two of my friends who are Barack Obama supporters and had a civil and respectful conversation. We all agreed that it was imperative to elect a Democrat to the White House to bring about a change away from the failed policies of George W Bush, whether it be Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
However, I would say there is a vocal minority of Obama supporters who tend to be more rabid and irrational in their support for him. I know this is a minority of Obama supporters, but unfortunately I have been mostly running into these Obama supporters lately. These are supporters that follow him like a rock star and see him as being the panacea for all the ills of America. They see any opposition to him as blasphemous and immoral. These are the people that it is difficult to have a civil and respectful conversation with. I would consider voting for Barack Obama, but these Obama supporters drive me even further way and motivate me to work harder for Hillary Clinton.
So here’s a list of things that I want these rabid Obama supporters to understand:
-Just because I support Hillary Clinton doesn’t mean I don’t believe in hope or that I don’t have an idealistic streak. I hope for a positive vision for our future just like everyone else. I just believe Hillary Clinton is the one most capable of bring about that positive vision. I believe both Clinton and Obama hope for a positive future for the nation.
-Please do not attack my integrity because I am not voting for Barack Obama. I do have morals and I do believe in honest government. Please give me respect even if I don’t vote for your candidate. We are civil people that should be able to respect one another’s positions without getting personal and pushy. If I have already reiterated my support for Hillary Clinton, please don’t try to continuously evangelize me toward Obama everytime you see me and don’t make me feel guilty for having different opinions than you. Give me more credit than that.
-Please do not create a false choice between Barack Obama as the second coming of Jesus and Hillary Clinton as the anti-Christ. Just because I am supporting Hillary Clinton does not mean I worship the devil and support corruption in government. Once again, can we be rational and not see things in such black and white terms. Can we once again have mutual respect for our different opinions? Can we acknowledge that both are flawed candidates, but either is much better than any of the Republican candidates?
-Please stop telling me that Hillary Clinton is the same as George W Bush. Do not patronize me like that. That is a ridiculous premise. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s policy positions are mostly the same. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are nowhere close to being like George W Bush.
-Please acknowledge the historical nature of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. I readily acknowledge the historic nature of Barack Obama’s candidacy. It would be amazing and wonderful to have the first African American as president. However, rabid Obama fans discount the historic nature of Hillary Clinton being the first woman president as nothing special and just upholding the status quo. A woman being president after 43 straight men in office would not be status quo. Race should not trump gender and gender should not trump race. We should all work together to work for racial and gender equality and at the same time acknowledge the historic and amazing possibility of having either the first African American or the first woman president in office.
-Please do not be petty and say that if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee that you will not vote for her in the general election. Please be rational and keep the big picture in mind. Most Clinton supporters I know would gladly support Obama if he were the nominee. We all want to elect a Democrat into the White House to reverse the damage done by George W Bush. Do not be shortsighted and say you will not vote for Hillary Clinton if she’s the nominee. All you ensure is that John McCain will win the presidency, which would defeat most of the things you are hoping for. Remember that in the end, we’re all on the same team. Don’t let petty infighting create long lasting scars that will weaken the eventual Democratic nominee.
So these are just a few things I hope rabid Obama supporters would understand. Once again, I’m sure the vast majority of Obama supporters are extremely friendly, civil, respectful, and rational. I enjoy having engaging conversations and having constructive dialogue with these folks. However, for the small minority of rabid Obama supporters, please remember the big picture. Please show respect to my opinion. My support for Hillary Clinton is not a rejection of Barack Obama. I just ask for some respect and civility even in our differing opinions. I personally apologize if I or any Clinton supporter have been disrespectful to any Obama supporters in the past. But remember that there is much more that we agree on than disagree on. Those small differences are irrelevant compared to larger differences that we have with John McCain and the Republican Party. So let’s work together to elect a Democrat, whether it end up being the first woman president or the first African American president, to the White House in 2008!