Sunday, May 1, 2016

Liberals, Hillary . . .

The question often arises in these discussions about how to motivate millennials and others to think of voting for Hillary as not just a negative — as in hold your nose and vote against Trump —  but also a positive, a vote for something and someone worth supporting.

How about the glass half empty/glass half full analogy?

Half empty is everything about Clinton we have a right to distrust. Throw in her vote for the invasion of Iraq, her all-too-robust neo-militarism, her shady connections to Big $$$, and the emptiness is vast.

But there's a half full dimension, too.

She is and always has been for a reformed health care system. We can absolutely count on her to maintain and perhaps build on Obama's signal achievement, the Affordable Care Act, whereas any republican she faces in the November election will come out promising to dismember it.  She is, and always has been, for women's rights, and is sure to nominate women for responsible posts in her administration. She will not stand down on LGBT rights, or on the opening to Cuba. As for the crucial nomination to the Supreme Court, she will not be picking another Scalia or Thomas.

What fills out the full side of the glass is that she's a Democrat, and her election will be the first time since LBJ followed JFK in 1964, in hopefully unique circumstances, that we've had two such in a row. That's far from trivial.

Sure, the right will try to put her on the defensive — their hatred of the Clintons precedes and feeds into their hatred of our current black President — but she'll be on the high ground, with some solid recent history to stand on, and maybe a sympathetic Congress to stand by her.

***

I want to suggest that a good part of anti-Hillary feeling is just plain impatience, more pointedly, juvenile impatience, and still more pointedly, campus impatience, and maybe even, though I'm not sure of this, elite college campus impatience.

In a letter to the NY Times, Sam Koppelman, op-ed editor of The Harvard Crimson, recounts that he's been a liberal activist since, at age 12, he "canvassed for Senator Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign." He's worked for liberal causes since — "L.G.B.T.Q. rights, and . . . the government’s power to improve lives and create sweeping change" — but found that at Harvard, "admitting that #ImWithHer is nearly tantamount to boasting 'Make America Great Again.'" On campus, then, it's either Sanders or Trump. Being a "Hillary supporter," his peers tended to shun him as "a College Republican."

I know the kind of impatience Koppelman faces, having, in my college days, rabidly embodied it. Not just "political revolution" as per Sanders: that would have been too tepid, but "Revolution Now!"

Because I know that impatience from the inside, and the ignorance of history with which it is coupled, and how liberal opposition to it melted away, I have no problem opposing it now.

So:

There's enough right with Hillary to vote for her.

Hillary is not equivalent to Donald.

Longing for Sanders, not voting, instead of voting for Clinton when the time comes, is, however, equivalent to voting for Trump.

Yes, a vote for Trump, or no vote, sitting on it, is, vote for chaos and disaster.

A vote for Clinton is a vote for something better.

Liberals should be able to make qualified but sincere arguments for Hillary, without apology.

The courage of liberals is always under question and should be asserted now.



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