Good morning/afternoon/evening, my fellow Mooses! Sricki here, welcome to her sentimental rant. Okay, so I posted some of this in a comment and it was so long I thought I might as well just ramble in a diary.
This election saved my sanity.
That is not an exaggeration.
Some of you may remember my diary “Honey” at MyDD, in which I described some of my experiences caring for my grandmother over a nine month period. Well, she died approximately 36 hours after I posted that diary, and I have reflected back on it and thought often of her in the past couple of months. She required so much care that I couldn’t leave the house for more than a few minutes unless I recruited someone to come stay with her. Even then I was loathe to leave her — no one else knew how everything “worked”. They didn’t know our schedule or our methods. They didn’t know how to fix the oxygen machine if it broke, didn’t know how to tell when her breathing was a little too hard, her heart rate a little too fast, her eyes a little too unfocused. Only I did. Just me. I wanted to leave — more than anything in the world, I wanted to leave — but I didn’t like to leave.
So I stayed.
I was at that house alone with her all the time. Surrounded by the sounds and the smell of creeping sickness, impending death. I heard every cough, every groan, over the baby monitor that I had hooked up in my room. I saw — watched — every sign of deterioration. I smelled death itself, the odor of decaying organs — it smelled like they were cooking or rotting inside her.
It was maddening. I was — am — too young, I was — am — too inexperienced, I was — am — too weak.
Her racism, her bigotry, they made me so angry. It was so hurtful. It went against everything I’d been taught, everything I’d ultimately taught myself and come to believe. Eventually, it got to me. And guess what? I even said the word “nigger”. Yeah, I said it. I wonder if it’s the only time I’ve ever said it. I had the TV on all the time in those days, listened to it more carefully than I do now because it was a lifeline — every outside influence was a lifeline. And so one evening it was on while I was giving her her medication. And it was back when Hillary was still in it but I’d known it was over for awhile — Obama was the nominee and there was no changing it. He was speaking at a rally and my grandmother said, “I’m so sick of that goddamn nigger you watch every day.” So I said, “Yeah? Well that ‘nigger’ is your next president, and I hope it torments you.”
It began in September, and by mid-January I had nearly lost my mind. My thoughts were dark, I was lost, coming unhinged. I’d been following the campaigns closely. I loved Kucinich, but that was just a dream. I loved Edwards, but feared he couldn’t take on the GOP and beat them. I had faith that Hillary could, and her healthcare plan was “almost” as good as Edwards’. I decided I would vote for Hillary Clinton.
Then on January 25th my grandmother went into Healthsouth Rehabilitation Center for two and a half weeks, and suddenly I was all by myself with nothing at all to do but visit and report back to family. I was not allowed to stay with her overnight there as I was at the hospital. I had to go home alone and find another way to occupy my time. I chose the blogs.
I had lurked DKos for ages but finally began posting on MyDD in late January/early February of this year. I only did so because I’d become a member of alegre’s Yahoo group Hillary’s Voice, and they were constantly bashing DKos. I didn’t stop reading, but I didn’t post much at the Great Orange Satan, and I did what a good HV Clinton supporter was supposed to do: recommended alegre’s diaries at MyDD whether I bothered to read them or not. And no, I often didn’t read them. Long cut and paste jobs — and I’m too lazy. But I read about Hillary Clinton. I immersed myself in her life, her campaign. I fell in love with her, in a completely non-sexual way. We didn’t agree on everything. She’s a centrist, and I’m not; she’s DLC, and I loathe the DLC. And yet… somehow, I fell in love with her and her campaign. And suddenly my life was about Hillary Clinton. I donated, made calls, blogged, read, advocated. I adored her, and her campaign became my purpose, my life. She inspired me, she woke me up — she turned me from dark thoughts and crippling depression. She… well, she saved me. She saved me from myself.
And then there was Barack Obama.
He won state after state after state after state in February. Didn’t just win. Crushed her. Crushed my Hillary, the woman who’d saved me. He was ruining it — ruining my dream. He was “hurting” my candidate, someone I loved. He was taking what I believed should be hers. I was… so angry. So terribly furious. How dare he? It wasn’t his time. He was too young. Too inexperienced. He was nothing, why wouldn’t he go away?
Except that he wasn’t “nothing”. He was something. Something amazing. And if you want to know the honest truth, yes — I wish I’d voted for Hillary Clinton this morning. Sorry. I am what I am — a Clinton supporter through and through. But I’ve come to understand why people supported Obama from the beginning. He is, indeed, changing the map. And he is, indeed, a wonderful candidate who will make a wonderful president.
But I’ve digressed. Point is, I started spending more time on MyDD. I started talking. At first I was combative and angry, especially during February when it became clear to me that the dream of a Hillary Clinton presidency was slipping away. I stayed angry for what felt like an eternity: until the middle of March, when I posted my venomous I’ll-never-vote-for-Obama diary.
And my fellow Clinton supporters, they agreed with me, backed me. Told me how very fine my bitter, hateful diary was. And over the next couple of weeks, things became more bitter still. Wright blew up, and some Hillary supporters tried to use him against Obama.
And that was… wrong.
It just wasn’t right to use Wright against him. Morally, ethically, it was wrong. I wanted Obama to lose, make no mistake, but not because of that — that isn’t why I wanted him to take the fall. I wanted him to go down, but not that way. And so suddenly, I found myself defending him. Again and again, defending him. Because he should go down on the issues, not on some petty personal issue like that. And I made myself some enemies — the people I should have been working alongside. They didn’t like me. My opinion was mocked or ignored by many of Hillary’s staunchest supporters. Even when I “should” have had a built-in group of friends, I found myself alone. I criticized my candidate too often and too hard, I defended Obama too frequently. I didn’t fit in at all.
And yet I was saved, for I’d found in the midst of my loneliness a bunch of online companions, virtual warriors who fought against AND alongside me. Being forced to argue, defend, reason, compromise — those things kept me sane. By the end of March, all my friends other than canadian gal were Obama supporters. And the reason I got to know them is, in order to maintain cordial relations, we had to talk. We had to compromise, discuss, think. We had to look at the issues from one another’s perspectives. Both sides had to give a little. So I talked to Obama supporters a lot more than Hillary supporters. I agreed with my fellow Hillary supporters most of the time (in the beginning), so I just uprated them and moved on. I never got to know them. There was no NEED to talk. But the Obama supporters, to understand and get along with them, I had to talk to them. And so, even now, most of my friends are long-time Obama supporters.
I have made some cherished friendships which will not end with this election. I hope to know all of you for many years. Whether you know it or not, you all saved me. Even if we’ve never been friends, even if you’re one of the few with whom I’ve never been able to agree. You saved me. Because you gave me something to do. You distracted my morose, overburdened mind. This election saved my sanity. You saved it, whether you meant to or not. It means more to me than I can adequately express. I’ve always enjoyed politics. But this time, I needed politics more deeply than I thought possible. I owe my sanity to Hillary Clinton, to Barack Obama, to you.
It’s been a fabulous run, guys, and no matter what happens, everything was worth it to get to know folks like you. We’ve been through a lot together. I’ve butted heads with some of you, but I’ve come to consider most of you good friends. And tonight, no matter who’s out there reading, no matter who or what you are — Democrat, Republican, or Independent — I count you as my friend. Because we are Americans and/or people who care about this great nation. We may care about it in different ways, we may stand for different things, we may have supported different candidates or even different parties, but this country and this election matter enough to all of us that we’re sitting here together, reading a political blog and anxiously waiting for the election results to roll in.
And as for our foreign friends — I’m thinking in particular of canadian gal and Brit, though I’m sure there are others reading — tonight you are, in my view, as American as apple pie. Because you have fought alongside us, fought for this country, fought for what’s right. You have shown more passion for our politics than millions upon millions of my fellow countrymen and women. Through your words and your advocacy and your interest you remind me of what’s best about America — and the Democratic party is lucky indeed that you care enough about this country to spend your valuable time here.
So no matter from whence you hail, no matter your party, no matter your candidate, remember that we are all Americans tonight. Remember that this country is not just a collection of red states and blue states. We’re going to watch history unfold this evening as Barack Obama brings a divided nation together, and in 2009 we’re going to watch him — and help him — begin to reform this nation and restore our reputation and our standing in the international community.
Thank you, my fellow Mooses and MyDDers and Kossacks, for all of your hard work, all the things you’ve done to help heal this nation. Tonight our efforts will be vindicated. Tonight we take our country back.