Venom: the Hillary / Obama thing

My friend Rebecca commented on my last post about Hilary’s use of snark via facebook:

You know, I didn’t find that “over the top” and “mocking” at all — I really wish that Arianna could tone down her obvious bias in every single thing she writes about Hillary. I expected something really theatrical and dramatic. Hillary was dead on.


Honestly, anyone who thinks that Barack isn’t Dynasty backed will soon learn wrong.

It may have been “mocking” but was certainly not as “over the top” and “theatrical” as Obama himself.

I’m so confused by all of the venom coming from the Obamania. I honestly hope that if he is not the candidate — or if he is — that bridges will actually be mended. I personally don’t feel the unity right now at all!

I love and respect Rebecca and even if I didn’t already know her I still want to listen to her. Why? Well, the unity element of Barack Obama’s campaign is extremely appealing to me. I really work to move beyond the binary. I care more about this value than being attached to the man Barack Obama. It’s much bigger than him. If I want to be consistent with my value then I have to listen *especially* to those who disagree with me.

It’s impossible to do if I take things personally.

So when I look at what you have to say Rebecca, here’s what I’m thinking:

1. Mocking I re-watched the clip and realized I did use the word “mock” after I read it on the Huff Post which definitely favours hyperbole and most gossip-toned, page view seeking blogs do. It wasn’t as heavily over the top as I first found it. I think coming so soon after Hillary’s gracious ending to the Austin debate I was really disappointed to see this tone. I think it does Hillary a disservice. I say this as a comic who knows how tempting it can be to go lowest common denominator for the boost of a crowd reaction. But she’s not running for host of the Daily Show. She’s running for President.

2. Hillary’s pov If I look at Hilary’s comments from the point of view of

•”everything he says is treated like it’s magic and everything I do is attacked” I see where her resentment comes from, and

• “Barack acts like all he has to do is talk to you and we’ll all sit together and sing kumbaya”…I remember with irony back in the 80s the similar sneering anger that the post-feminist backlash threw at feminism for its support of talking, processing while, to quote the character Daniel Plainview in the unforgettable last scene of There Will Be Blood: “I drink your milkshake!”

I don’t know if Hillary went through this in her own activist and organizing experiences, but I know I sure got my share of people sneering at me for my idealism. This accounts for some more of my disappointment in her snarkery. But upon reflection, it’s more sadness. I want her (and everyone) to feel hopeful, not like life is an inevitable, hard, painful struggle.

I know what it is as a woman to work hard while watching men seem to have it easy and feel entitled without much work. I’ve resented that too in the past. I’ve worked, inwardly, hard not to have resentment…mostly because I found it eats away at my and doesn’t do much to anyone else. That’s something I’m not sure I see in Hillary. She seems resentful. I was angry for a long time about the sense of entitlement many white, privileged dudes had. I eventually realized I wanted entitlement too. That’s part of why I was angry (the other was the injustice and negative impact unconscious entitlement often has on others. So I work to have a sense of conscious entitlement to myself).

3. Obama as theatrical and “over the top”
There’s no question Barack Obama knows how to connect with an audience in a big way. Hillary can do it too. But they do it differently. I guess by this it’s meant that Barack Obama is fake and saying things only for effect in the moment? I’m not sure. I think part of what’s powerful about his public presence is the strong amount of personal containment he has (something I sure don’t and so admire). Hillary strikes me as more of a fighter and someone who is a

4. Barack being Dynasty-backed

That seems entire possible and probably likely. He is not Dennis Kucinich.

The best thing we can do if he wins is continue to demand transparency and accountability. If he is elected President and We the People defer to him to save us, we won’t be very much further ahead than when We the People picked “tough Daddy” (aka GW Bush) to do the same. He needs to remain accountable to people rather than pure Dynasty *unless* Dynasty decides to act in the interests of the people. But I doubt that will happen without our active involvement.

5. Venom and Mending Bridges

I don’t like the arguing or venom either. From anyone. Had enough of “sides.”

That’s the point I was trying to make about Hillary’s comments. By assuming sides and fights (which is really how politics has been done for so long, so it’s not really about Hillary, other than the fact that she’s a present example) are inevitable, we interact as though there’s a fight to be won and in so doing create the fight.. and then say “see, life is a fight!”

There are common problems to be solved.

My main concern isn’t with either of these candidates. I’m betting on us. I am hopeful about a less reactive way of communicating. This is the beginning of the inevitably messy way there.

If he wins the nomination, the best thing he could do is immediate vow to hire Hillary for a top post. Per your point about “not feeling the unity,” I’d like to see his supporters be as genial as he is being (at least at what I’m getting to see). There is a lot of fighting and name-calling and it’s the opposite of unity.

I believe we will have a female President….many of them. They will owe a great debt to Hillary. But I think it’s a little bit like Moses. He lost his temper, struck the rock and did not get to enter the Promised Land.

I’m not trying to say it’s up to some unseen authority to make this decision. It’s up to us. Who do we want to lead and have work for us? If we want unity and accountability are we willing to do the work to get that from our leaders?