Back in the 2008 election season it was a large source of friction between myself and many of my friends and family, my tepid non-support for a Barack Obama candidacy. Taken purely on his policies he was at best the fourth best fit in the primary race for my beliefs. I didn’t much care for what he said, even as I noted how well he said it.
Very few voices in the left-wing online sphere agreed with me, but political blogger (and long time science fiction fan) Avedon Carol was one of the few people with my outlook. Her blog has recently moved here, for many years prior it was here. On inauguration day 2009 while the entire left was having a great party and enjoying the historic swearing in of our first black president, I chose to say nothing online at all expressing my lack of joy. What I did do was send a private email to Avedon, baring my soul about my doubts. I didn’t think to get her permission ahead of time to include her reply, but suffice it to say it was one of sad agreement.
Posted below is my email in its entirety, written and sent on January 20, 2009:
Just a word of support, so it will literally be true that “lurkers support you in email.” I’ve been reading for years and my disdain and distrust for our Democratic leadership to act as Democrats, up to and including the swearing-in-right-now incoming president seems very close to yours. I’m hearing how historic and groundbreaking it is that a black man has been elected president, and that’s true. What people fail to notice is that in his not-even-completed first senatorial term he was an overwhelming supporter of the incumbency of power, and nothing about his administration picks from the transition has given me any hope of that changing. His status is very much quo, his frames are very much right wing.
He’s getting acclaim for being bipartisan when in fact, he is being monopartisan. My local (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina) paper praised him for including Lindsey Graham on his policy advisor list. I don’t give the man credit for accepting extra voices of the failed policies. It’s not bipartisan, just dumb. That the power brokers and voices of incumbency love it is predictable, but to me it is the warning sign that the revelers are ignoring.
I think you could see this pattern clearly in the 2006 election when he crossed his party to support Lieberman over Lamont. For putting his personal crony loyalty above that of his party, he was rewarded in 2008 by having Lieberman speak at the RNC and support McCain. He sold out what he should have preserved, and he got LESS THAN NOTHING FOR IT. I envy the people having a hope fest. What I see ahead of us is 4 years of Liebermans running around.
My final thought: America has come a long way in the diversity of our power structure. It used to be you had to be a rich white male lawyer to make a credible run at the presidency. Now you can be a rich woman lawyer or even a rich black lawyer. It’s a new day. I’m glad we have elected a black president. I’ll be even more glad when we elect an actual Democrat.
You are free to blog or ignore any of this you see fit, but I’d prefer you not blog any during Jan 20th, 2009. I’m running silent on my feelings today, letting people have their party without being a buzzkill. I’m not celebrating but buckling up for what I’m sure is coming.
Best. Yours in the tribe,