Wednesday, February 6, 2008

CODA to Super/Shrove Tuesday

I picked up my daughters at Starbucks on Seventh Avenue, with Mr. Obama's supporters combing the streets, joyful but perhaps a little too insistent on the virtue of their choice. My daughters told me that someone said to them "Tell your parents when they vote, to vote for Obama." They responded, "We are supporting Hillary" to which the campaigner responded snarkily/sarcastically, "Oh, you are old enough to vote ?" Most of the folks campaigning for Mr. Obama that I saw throughout the day were young and white (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Granted, there were not a lot of Hillary supporters on the streets. But maybe, like me, they were working, picking up their kids, or finding it enough of a challenge to get through the day and make it out to vote, instead of being fortunate enough to have the freedom to spend the day campaigning. Another blog observed that (I paraphrase) 'high school educated, Hispanic and working people' were the primary supporters of Ms. Clinton. Well, we fit only part of that profile and we supported Hillary.

We went to our polling place, the school on Coney Island Avenue near Newkirk, and there were still lots of people on the street, again, mostly young, mostly white, some with kids in strollers, all for Mr. Obama. Honestly, it felt a little intimidating, all of the young white campaigners, a little too eager and too insistent. In America, come election day, you don't have to explain your vote to anyone. It felt a little like being confronted by Jacobins on the street during the fall of the ancien regime. Did I need to look around to make sure there was no guillotine ? I thought the "enemy" was the GOP, the party that has wrecked the economy and squandered America's political capital and post 9/11 goodwill, not another Democratic candidate.

The girls (who are 13) came into the voting booth with me. At first I thought I had a problem with the machine. None of the Democratic levers would work. Ironically, I think the poll watcher had me pegged (erroneously) by my demographics (white guy in his 50s) as a Republican. She twiddled with the knobs outside and we were ready to vote. The girls symbolically helped me to pull the lever for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I have done my part and voted for the candidate of my choice. I still hope Ms. Clinton gets the nomination although I am concerned about all of those Hillary-haters out there in both parties. On her war vote, yep, it was a mistake, but a lot of us, in the time after 9/11 were concerned about WMDs, etc. Who knew we were being lied to by the most cynical US Chief Executive (and Vice Chief Executive) of modern times. Unfortunately, a lot of people were pro-war, I dare say even many of the supporters of Mr. Obama. As a father of a teenage son, I don't think the 100 year war advocated now by Mr. McCain, after years of the Iraq conflagration, is a good thing. I didn't support the Iraq War either but I am not an intelligence analyst, so, I like many people I think, second guessed my own reluctance to beat the drum for war. It is safe to say that Ms. Clinton, along with many other elected officials and citizens, do not now support the war, and realize that the Iraq entanglement is terrible. We are all clear that the Bush administration has made a mess of the country (Iraq and our own). Mr. Obama, who was not in the Senate at that time, never had to actually face that vote. But it is a moot point, who knows how he would have voted.

That said, I am totally prepared to vote for Mr. Obama should he be the eventual Democratic candidate, whether he runs again Messrs. McCain, Huckabee, or Bloomberg. The Democratic Party needs to be returned to the White House. We cannot stand even one more term of the Republican Party, regardless of who that candidate is. They have made a muck of it and must pay the price.

However, I am very concerned that many of those voters, in their obvious enthusiasm for Mr. Obama, will be unable to support Ms Clinton should she be selected as the Democratic candidate, whether as the presumptive candidate in March, or at the Democratic convention later this year. I was on the fence like a lot of voters, but I made my decision. Perhaps it is loyalty to Ms. Clinton as our State's Junior Senator. Just as Illinois supported Mr. Obama, it appears many New Yorkers supported Mrs. Clinton. I could not "drink the kool aid" and go against my generally very positive feelings for Ms. Clinton, so I supported her. But, as I said, come the fall, my loyalties are with the Democratic candidate, in order to defeat the GOP, despite the fact that I am an Aging (but not average !), White Guy, which I guess is a Republican demographic.

Therefore, I found it very disturbing to read that Ms. Michelle Obama, Mr. Obama's First Lady, indicated that "she would have to think hard" about supporting Ms. Clinton should her husband not be victorious and should Ms. Clinton be chosen as the Democratic Presidential candidate. What is that all about ? That is an echo of the Conservatives who are threatening to become "Suicide Voters" and vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton and against John McCain should he be the Republican candidate. Something uncool is happening. As I said in my earlier blog post, things do not bode well for the future of this country if the Democrats can't get it together, after the disastrous Bush Presidency.

I doubt that Mrs. Clinton would agree to run for Vice President should Mr. Obama get the nomination. Perhaps she would be more valuable as a leader in the US Senate than as a (traditionally powerless) vice president. . But I am certain that she would support Mr. Obama fully and unreservedly. I would be very surprised if she did not.

However, I am concerned that the same may not be true for Mr. Obama and his supporters.

--Brooklyn Beat


  1. When you say you only fit one of the three descriptors of Clinton supporters, what do you mean? We know you are white. Are you not high school educated? Don't you work?
    I find it troubling that you keep pointing out that the Obama supporters you encountered were white. Would it have bothered you less if they were African American? Because then it makes sense?
    Clinton is my senator and as such she has misrepresented my interests time and time again, most egregiously when it came to the war vote. I've heard the argument that she "knows politics" and "how to get things done," ostensibly because she's been in the game for so long. Being in the game that long is also how one acquires enemies and entrenched resentments.
    I'll vote for anyone who opposes the Republicans, but I'm not hearing a good reason in your post to either oppose Obama or support Hillary.

  2. Fine. That is politics. This was not an effort to "sell" or "attack" any Dem candidate. It was just a comment on my experiences on election day in Brooklyn in reply to the zealousness of some of Senator Obama supporters. They, like you, could not understand why someone would have the temerity to not support Sen. Obama. Perhaps it is generational. I didn't question their choice. Finally, I mentioned race, mine and the most zealous campaigners who I encountered on the street on election day, only to establish context, not to make any assumptions on the acceptability of candidates or their supporters. However, to answer your question, although I found it interesting and worthy of note that most of the campaigners happened to be white, I would have found that level of insistence on the rectitude of their candidate excessive regardless of the race, ethnicity, gender, or religion of the campaigner. However, that said, I am who I am, as you are who you are. That's not politics, that is just life.


Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo