Wednesday, May 28, 2008

You* disappoint me

(* In the generic, impersonal, collective, of course--to "my fellow Americans").

After the giddy excitement of the early days of this presidential campaign, I'm feeling nothing but bitterness. Bitter at the unbridled and mostly unremarked misogyny of the coverage--from all sides--of Hillary Clinton, and of the indifference, apparently, of all but that "mature white feminist" demographic over whom she has an unshakeable sway, who are able to identify with her in recognizing that yes, this is, in fact, misogyny, even when inflected by anti-Clintonism, anti-Hillary-ism, etc., and who therefore understand that misogyny will not be overcome by wearing a t-shirt that says "Boy Toy" or "Look but don't touch."

I'm bitter that Obama's mispronunciation of a historical site--however important--is a "top headline" while we are still at war against...who? While children still go hungry in this country. While we challenge each other's patriotism based on stupid measures like stickers, car art, and jewelry, instead of demanding that patriotism mean something more, like willing to work with and for your fellow citizens to make the country better for everyone, not just yourself. I'm bitter that various pundits can announce without even blinking that white southerners won't vote for a black man, and that somehow that's okay, instead of being a national tragedy. I'm not convinced that racism of that sort is more than superficial, or that a talented speaker with Obama's energy can't go a long way toward getting the electorate to look past the foolish old "red" herring of race--that is, that poor whites and urban blacks have nothing to gain by recognizing their role as road-kill from the juggernaut of American capitalism. I'm not underestimating the visceral reality of racism, but I just don't believe that most people are stupid enough to hang onto hatred against their own self-interest. A few people, on all sides, sure.

And I'm really sad that the optimism was so short-lived, and that the cynics were so eager to attack from all sides.

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5 Comments:

At 9:25 AM , Blogger Ms. Hedda said...

De-lurking to say I think you are brilliant. Everything you write makes me either laugh or cry or shake my fist in agreement/suppport/solidarity. Merci.

 
At 2:30 PM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

ms. h--Thank you! I love praise!

 
At 3:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama's optimism has not been short lived, despite the existence of all the things of which you speak. And thank god for that. I understand you are disappointed, but I'm here to ask you to be the optimism you want to see. With (much) due respect to you, in my world, Obama's mispronunciation of a historical site didn't even show up in the news. As to HRC, I don't discount misogyny any more than you discount racism, but most (not all but most) of what I am seeing is anti-Hillaryism. What are you watching that people are calling her a "bitch" and the "c" word? I have no love of the mainstream media, but I do -- I must and I still do -- have hope that we are headed in a better direction, one that will have a more profound and lasting impact than the Clinton administration. I respectfully wonder if there isn't still much to be hopeful about in this election that you are missing.

 
At 3:47 PM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

anon--I'm disappointed in the media and public conversations that are getting the most attention--which is NOT to say that I am disappointed with Obama! I've got the sign proudly in my window. I just wish he had been able to have more influence on the process of the campaign thus far (i.e., how gracious he was re: HRC's Robert Kennedy gaffe). It's the perpetual naysaying I am lamenting, not my candidate! And no, I haven't heard so much profanity about HRC as I have general disparagement of her femininity, or her lack thereof, or her "ball-breaker" qualities.

Thanks

 
At 9:19 PM , Blogger Julia said...

This campaign season has been for the most part a giant study in disappointment for me. I had hopes for a battle of ideas, for an honest discussion of what lack of health care means, what poverty means, what war means. Instead we got media obsessed with the horse race, pushing out everyone but the two "firsts," making it yet again about image and not substance. So I am left to have those conversations with my daughter in my car. Oh, I will be out working for Obama, and I will be working my heart out. But not because he won my heart over. He still has a lot to prove to me, mainly that he won't be giving away the store or at least half of it in the name of the shiny bipartisan compromise. I will be out working because the alternative is unbearable.

 

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