Monday, September 22, 2003

Healing wounds

I recently talked about an incident where I read a comment from a Clark supporter who said, upon Clark's entry into the race, that the "grownups" were finally back in charge. I talked about how this comment seriously teed me off with its implication that Dean supporters were childish in their support for Dean and that they should just leave politics to the "grownups" who knew what they were doing.

I owe that person an apology.

Apparently I completely misunderstood the intent behind his comment. First of all, I misquoted it. He said that Clark was the "grownups" candidate (he used the quotes). He did not say that the grownups were back in charge. Neither did he mean to imply that Dean and his supporters were childish. Apparently his intent was to say that Clark was being treated as the "grownups" candidate. Not that he actually was "the grownups candidate". This is essentially what I have been saying.

Sorry for holding you up as an example of a bad Clark supporter.

It is true that there are a number of people who are pushing Clark precisely because he is the "grownups" candidate. This is an attitude that I have found increasingly insulting. When I read this person's comment I leapt at it as just another example of that attitude.

While I shouldn't have been so quick to jump on that person, this is still an important issue that needs to be discussed. The condescension within the Democratic leadership towards their own rank-n-file is real and isn't going away. It is an attitude that has driven so many people away from the Democratic party. It is inherently destructive and I think will rip the party apart if it isn't stopped.

It is hard not to displace my resentments about these leaders onto the guy that they seem to be grasping at as their last hope for holding onto power. I acknowledge that it is not Clark's fault if some of his supporters are acting like this. I hope Clark supporters will acknowledge that it is not Dean's fault if some of his supporters are so quick to dismiss Clark as a DINO (Democrat In name Only).

For the last six months many of us Dean supporters have had to deal with constant put downs by people who claim to know better about what it takes to win. Yet these same people are constantly caught off guard by the success of the Dean campaign. It's hard not to hold them in contempt when their predictions are so far off base. It's hard not to hold them in contempt when they hold in contempt the one thing that has appeared in the last few years that gives me some hope for the future.

I don't expect them to throw their support behind Dean. But I'd like it if they would at least acknowledge the Dean phenomena as real, important and fundamentally a good thing.

Despite what some of you may think from my recent postings, I have not written of General Clark. But I know that some Dean supporters are starting to do that specifically for the reasons I have talked about. If Clark and the Democrat leadership want the considerable support that is the Dean Army, if Clark should win the nomination, then they would be advised not to needlessly antagonize them with a condescending attitude.

Embrace them and love them for what they are: people who love their country and want to go the extra one hundred miles to save it. Don't laugh at their political inexperience. Revel in it.

That's all I'm asking for.


Post a Comment

<< Home