A diary that spent several hours on the recommended diary at Daily Kos today contains the following passage:
It seems that the vitriol will continue and the new targets are super-delegates. Clinton supporters are now emailing them threatening to vote for John McCain if Obama is the nominee and further are emailing debunked, or meaningless political and personal attacks on Obama.
While some of the Super's said they've been receiving emails like these for some time, they have said it seems there is a concerted effort on the part of Clinton supporters over the past few days as they have been deluged with these types of email.
I just have to ask, whose supporters are not "real democrats"? Whose supporters are being vitriolic and nasty?
Oy. Am I the only progressive bothered by making all the members of an entire group of people speak for the actions of all members of that group? Why is it acceptable online now to characterize all Clinton supporters, or all Obama supporters, as having identical political and personality characteristics? Even now, only two days after Obama has been proclaimed the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party and it is time to start building party unity, why are supporters of the winning candidate still stereotyping supporters of the losing candidate?
Even though I can't find the numbers at this time, I have heard it said that the number one determining factor in whether or not someone supports LGBT equal rights is not partisan affiliation, not religious affiliation, and not even age, but whether or not someone can count a member of the LGBT community as a family member or close friend. In this vein, when I read generalizing rants about "Clinton supporters" or "Obama supporters" online, I wonder sometimes if the people making those rants actually know any of the supporters they are stereotyping. Personally, I tried to take a hard line against such stereotyping on Open Left a few months ago, largely because my personal connections to many Obama supporters and Clinton supporters made such stereotypes nothing more than personal attacks against family members.
For example, here you can see two faces of hateful Clinton supporters--my mother and my grandmother:
More in the extended entry.
|Yes, these are indeed nasty, vitriolic, bad Democrats. My mother is so vitriolic that when she was fired from her job as a middle school English teacher in 1972, simply for being pregnant, she sued the school district, won the case, and set a the legal precedent for all public employees in (I believe) New York State. Further, she is such a bad Democrat, that that she voted for McGovern, Carter (twice), Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton (twice), Gore and Kerry. And they will both vote for Barack Obama, even though she supported Hillary Clinton in the New York primary.
When I called my mother last night, she was pretty broken up. She asked me if it was true that Hillary Clinton didn't really have a chance anymore, and wanted me to tell her that there was a way Clinton could still win, or at least become President in 2016. In fact, even though she had not contributed to a political campaign in thirty years, my mother said that when Clinton asked for money after winning the Pennsylvania primary, she felt compelled to do so. The last time my parents contributed to a political campaign was when, in 1975, at the age of 27, at the urging of my mother, my father attended a $15 a plate breakfast fundraiser for Jimmy Carter in Rochester, NY. More than thirty years later, Hillary Clinton brought my mother back into the activist process. Truly, these Clinton supporters are horrible, vitriolic bad Democrats.
My grandmother voted for all of the same candidates my parents voted for above, plus Humphrey, LBJ, JFK, Stevenson (twice), Truman and FDR (twice). Back in October of 2006, I stopped by to see her during my tour of Update New York House districts. When I arrived, I brought in her mail, which included a piece of direct mail supporting Tom Reynolds' re-election campaign. As soon as she saw the word "Republican," on the mailer, she smiled at me, said "Oh, a Republican? I won't be needing this," and threw it out. She ended up voting for Jack Davis, of course, just as she had done in 2004. Beyond any of our losing candidates that I have listed so far, you really have to be a strong, ultra-partisan Demcorat to suck it up and vote for Jack friggin' Davis. Until last year, at the age of 88, my grandmother still served as a Democratic judge of elections for her local precinct in Batavia. This year, she had to step down for health reasons.
I know some other Clinton supporters too, including the woman I have been dating for the past six weeks. If you read Open Left, you might have heard of her, since her name is Natasha Chart. Three weeks ago today, we attended an Obama rally in Philadelphia, where she took the following photograph:
Now, as you can see from the rest of the photographs Natasha and I took at the Obama rally, most of the people there were happy, friendly, and diverse. Many of them even brought their children. However, as is inevitably the case whenever a large group of people congregates (35,000 people attended the Obama Philadelphia rally), there are bound to be some assholes. The key is to not make all of the Obama supporters who attended the rally responsible for the offensive tee-shirt one guy was wearing.
And so the same can be said of Clinton supporters, too. Individuals are responsible for their own actions. Individuals, especially those who do not occupy leadership positions, are not responsible for the actions of groups to which they belong. The typical Clinton supporter is actually more like my family members than the stereotype that has been created online. They march against wars. They fight for equal rights. They work to build inter-faith cooperation. They work as local judges of elections. They grew up in the 1930's and 1940's when times were tough, and support a fair economy that works for all Americans. They are true blue Democrats and vote even for the lamest of all our nominees. They should not be held responsible for everything other Clinton supporters do, just as Obama supporters like myself should not be held responsible for everything other Obama supporters do. And really, since when should progressives stereotype anyone, anyway?
There is a saying that goes "the problem with war is the winners." Hopefully, that won't become apt for the end of the Democratic nomination campaign, now that even the national media concedes it is effectively over now. We need to be building coalitions and a more progressive America, not stereotyping our most obvious and immediate allies to include in that coalition. And it isn't even just Clinton supporters who we anger with broad generalizations, since stereotyping Clinton supporters feels like a personal attack on these family and friends of mine. I get angry when I hear about Clinton supporters being attacked.
I mean, seriously, don't talk about my mother that way. That just isn't cool.