Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Letter to Santa

Okay, not really.

Dear Barack,

Can I call you Barack? I mean, you've been emailing me for months now, and while I am hardly your most generous campaign donor, I do have a sign in my window, which has to create a certain intimacy, right? I mean, technically, you're kind of on the porch, rather than in the house, but all my previous candidates have had to live outside on the lawn, where they were frequently the targets of bored teenagers and, apparently, some sort of low-flying domestic eggs that live around here. So really, I think I've made some strides toward cementing our relationship. I know, I still take Hillary's calls; she's so damned persistent, and even when I don't like what she's saying, I have to say that I have been generally impressed by her during this campaign: her tenacity, her articulateness, her utter indefatigability, her poise...pretty much everything except her husband, her forays into race-baiting and--oh yes--her actual policies. Did I ever tell you than my husband and his dad once won "Most Indefatigable" in a sailing race? According to my husband, his father was mortified by that--it being, of course, far, far better to win or lose than to be honored for not knowing the difference.

I know, I'm off topic. My students tell me that all the time. Deal with it. And by the way, I don't ever write Hillary back; it's just that I feel bad shutting her completely out of my life. I feel bad when I see her being all brave and noble and articulate on TV in places like West Virginia. I feel really bad that she seems to feel she has already earned the nomination, and how she can't seem to let go of where she thought she was--a shoo-in--before you appeared on the scene. Let me be clear: I feel bad for her personally, which is not at all the same as feeling bad that she appears spectacularly unlikely--barring corruption and backdoor-politicking that would make even a Karl Rove blush--to win the nomination. I feel bad that the next time she and Bill fight, he gets to do the "nyah, nyah, nyah--I was president and you're not!"

Anyway, Barack, can I just ask you, now that you appear likely to be the nominee, to please not blow it? I support you because I think you are strong, amazingly articulate, and smart enough not to blow it, but we Democrats, you know, have been burned so much. Everyone wants to concentrate on "the race thing," but I think that's less of a threat, ultimately, than the ease with which the other side is going to paint you as a (gulp) intellectual, an elitist. Now you need to be folksy, without allowing them too easily to dismiss you as "too fake" (Al Gore in his plaid shirt) or "too [black]-folks-y," which is offensive, I know, but sadly true. I think you can do it; you are one of the first genuinely public voices to find even a rhetorical way out of the racial shark tank we have created for ourselves. I hope you are holed up somewhere, even now, trying to find a way to appeal to those "white, blue-collar" voters (does that make them pastel?) Hillary's been gunning for. Figuring out whom you can add to the ticket without playing too readily into the Republican strategy. Someone like John Edwards, who seems to me to be the only candidate (okay, barring Kucinich) who really cares about the effects of our incredible and growing income/opportunity/safety-net/culture gap in this country, and how our alienation could kill democracy. Or some other female politician--sorry I can't name any at the moment--who can affect a drawl or a twang with some sincerity, while drawing out those feminists who so rejoiced in Hillary's successes.

Please, Barack. We're counting on you.



At 6:14 PM , Blogger Rev Dr Mom said...


At 6:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

in regards to your last post, the mention of the virgin mary statuette somehow brought to mind the line from the amazing aretha franklin song from the amazing grace double album "lord, if you would've been here my brother wouldn't have died, oh, lazarus" which i thought tied into your post about barack but now that i write it out it reminds me more of your dear husband. i hope that knowing how often i think of him and bringing him up, even in that context, brings you more comfort than additional pain. and yes, a rice crispie treat and a mint ice cream sandwich IS a lot of sugar. why do you ask?
the anon that you know!

At 10:09 PM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

atyk: was the mint ice cream sandwich made with the krispies? Mmmmmmmmm. Good for mamas, bad for kids whose mamas then have to deal with them...

At 10:12 PM , Blogger Julia said...

I hope you are right. I hope he doesn't blow it. I am going to work my ass off, but truth be told, I am far less excited about this probable nominee than I was in 2004 or 2000. I have heard inspirational speakers before, in this country and the Old one. I drank propaganda with mother's milk, and then learned to see through it. He sounds a lot like a talker to me, and all about process-- building consensus, coalition, bi-partisanship. Those are tools, mister, they are not goals unto themselves. If you have to give away half the store just to use your shiny tools, maybe you might want to think about other, less shiny tools with which you can accomplish more? So I am not ready to buy. But oh, how I wish I would turn out to be wrong, and you right.

At 7:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I"ve been lurking for awhile and I am so glad to read the "feast" of writing.

lets be the change that we want to see... if that happens, then there is no way that he (or anyone else) can blow it.

At 4:23 PM , Blogger Aimee said...

"I feel bad when I see her being all brave and noble and articulate on TV in places like West Virginia."


I thought people who are educated, especially those who TEACH, would be more open-minded.

The stereotypes of the "hillbilly" and "redneck" are always going to be ok because they are generally about poor, uneducated white people. And if people aren’t considered a minority, it’s ok to make fun of them and their situations.

It's a shame that a lot of people who could help change the stereotypes we have long accepted propagate them, rather than try to change them.

Thanks a lot.

At 8:49 PM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

I apologize; I was NOT trying to disparage the intelligence or perspicacity of the W. VA voters, or to evoke that tired stereotype, and I should have been much more careful to make that point had more to do with the fact that she is desperately trolling for delegate votes in places that simply don't have the demographics to address her deficit in delegates. I could, and should, just as easily have said "Montana," or "Maryland," or "Oregon"--anyplace that has fewer total delegates than could make even a dent in her second-place status. It just happened that I had seen her speaking in W. VA--at a university, btw--on TV that morning.

I'm also NOT suggesting that any candidate should appeal only to voters who are in big-number states, or to disregard or condescend to any group of voters. I was thinking more about how her efforts to continue reaching those white voters that Obama (supposedly) cannot simply continues to drive racial lines among those who could benefit by focusing on their shared economic and social exclusion from the "ideal." That's what happens when I try to post quickly before I do something else...

At 4:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think of Bill Richardson as possibly sharing the ticket? I think he's wonderful, but mostly because of foreign policy issues. You seem to be much more informed.

BTW, I don't think saying 'in places like West Virginia' necessarily implies that you think it's full of red necks... I assumed you were talking about the delegate situation, as that was more relevant to your point. But, like I said, I'm not as up on US domestic politics as I might be. Since she was in WVA yesterday, however, it makes sense that you referred to her there!

At 7:50 PM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

I confess I don't know much about Bill Richardson; what I do know, I like, but it's pretty superficial. I worry, however, that Obama would be seen as scorning the voters most excited about Hillary's candidacy--women, especially older women, and blue-collar folks who, according to the media, have been put off by his "elitism" and "intellectualism." I don't know enough to guess whether Richardson could convince those voters to turn out in the necessary numbers to give the Democrats a victory in November.

And thanks for reassuring me that my post was not inherent racist or classist. I don't know Aimee, but I hope she at least checks back to read my response. I realize that blogging is a potential minefield, given how little revision one generally does, and the controversial nature of some of the issues....

At 8:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm usually among the first to get her back up about issues such as those brought up by Aimee. I did not read you that way, either. I agree about the internet being a potential mine field. Sorry you stepped too close to one. Sending you kind thoughts, and I'm sure if/when Aimee reads your reponse, she will see your intent. Hugs.


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