About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Friendly advice to Hillarites
There is much talk in the media of whether Hillarites will rally around Obama or will sit out the election, or even do the unthinkable (and unconscionable) and vote for McCain. They are apparently angry at the way their candidate was treated by the Obama camp in particular, and by the media in general, during the primaries. I watched the primaries more carefully than usual, precisely because of the historical moment of seeing both a black man and a woman having a clear shot at winning the Presidential nomination of a major party. I was delighted that it was, predictably, the progressive party in the United States that had the guts to foster such an historical turn of events, regardless of the fact that Democrats know very well that the still lingering racism and sexism in this country translates into a built-in disadvantage for them in the general elections. Indeed, one can reasonably argue that, given the degree of dissatisfaction with the “Republican brand” (Republican’s own jargon) and Bush in particular, the Fall elections will be a good measure of how much racism is still affecting the USA.
Still, I’m puzzled by what exactly Clinton’s supporters are complaining about. If it is Obama’s allegedly “harsh” campaign against their candidate, they must have watched a different primary. Not only was Clinton herself “harsh” on Obama (and as “racist” as he may have been “sexist”), but, frankly, the two Democrats’ sniping pales in comparison with what the Republicans did to each other, and certainly to what the Republicans will try to do to Obama (and would have done to Clinton) in the Fall. It was a race, ladies and gentlemen, and somebody had to win. Seems to me that both candidates played pretty fairly, with a few exceptions on both sides, and Clinton lost for a variety of factors, including the simple fact that Obama ran a better campaign, despite his inexperience (the winning move was to take advantage of the proportional, as opposed to “winner take all,” system, running a 50-state campaign against Hillary’s focus on major states).
Or maybe the Hillarites are complaining about the media’s treatment of Clinton. If so, they should address their grievances to those responsible, for example organizing marches and boycotts against CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC (don’t bother about Fox, they are beyond redemption). What sense does it make to threaten to withdraw support for Obama, who has himself been the center of quite a bit of unfair media scrutiny? (Remember that never ending clip of pastor Wright damning America? Watch for more prime time reruns in the Fall.)
Hillary Clinton herself has come out yesterday, at the beginning of the Democratic convention, with strong words in favor of Obama, as she has done before. Most importantly, she told her supporters to vote for Obama because she doesn’t want to live during another four years of Republicans in the White House. Exactly. Let’s keep the cult of personality out of the game for once, and focus on the real deal. How can a self-respecting Democrat even think of willfully undermining the chances of the first African American who could become President of the United States? Even more astonishing, how can one be so bitter at alleged mistreatment of one’s candidate to actually consider giving McCain and the Republicans an extended lease on their disastrous “leadership,” which has cost American lives, money and prestige over eight long years?
Wake up, smell the stench coming from the Republican side, and rally around Obama. Hillary wants it too.