Three-for-All I: Being the Change

My brain these days revolves around three topics: the presidential election, my editorial work, and Everything Else. So tonight I am taking time off from #2 (because I worked a good deal of the weekend, natch) and writing about all three.

First up: the election. There was a contretemps in the comments section on my post from last Wednesday, as there is inevitably a contretemps whenever Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are mentioned in the same news article, or possibly the same breath. I take all you commenters pretty seriously, as you know, within reason, so I’ve thought about this post quite a bit in the aftermath; and I wanted to apologize here for the tone of what I said. It was written, as I noted in a comment, in a fit of immature pique on learning Hillary had won Ohio and Texas; I knew this when I was writing it, and I should have labeled it “FIT OF IMMATURE PIQUE,” as I will do in the future if I post under similar circumstances . . . or, better yet, in such a mood I will think twice about posting at all. Again, I am sorry for being rude and divisive in my tone and language.

But I am not apologizing for the content of what I said—namely, that I don’t think she is the most electable of the two candidates, for all the reasons I listed. I am not saying she is a bad person; I am not even saying she is a bad candidate. She clearly stands strongly for our shared Democratic values and has been a strong advocate for New York State in the Senate. She is reported to be a wonderful friend and mother—someone who I would love to know personally, actually. I understand why people support her so strongly, especially her appeal to women; and I will support her in the general election, if it comes to that, because goodness knows we need any Democrat much more than McCain.

Still, I will do so with regret, as I believe Barack Obama has run a better campaign, one that’s been better managed, financially and otherwise, and one that’s been less negative, contradictory, and damaging to the party as a whole. And I believe he is the better president to have at this moment in history—the one most likely to unite the country from the bottom up and get things done, rather than being caught up in partisan bickering and internal drama. (Even Clinton’s admirers, like Eleanor Clift in this week’s Newsweek, acknowledge that the couple's years of battling the Republicans have made them prone to unnecessary secrecy and defensiveness, cf. this matter of their tax returns and calling Obama “Ken Starr” for asking about them.) And I have lots of other reasons for supporting him and opposing her, which I will not bore you with here.

But these are opinions rational people can disagree on, and do disagree on, as we should in a democracy. I have the perfect right to put them forward here; you have the perfect right to disagree with me. If you are going to disagree, I ask that you have the courage of your convictions and sign your name to your comment. And henceforth I will try to be the change I want to see in our political sphere—to be fair, and positive, and focused on what’s best for the country above all, as I see it and the candidates who are pursuing that. Thanks to you all in advance for trying to do the same.