Thursday, June 5, 2008

We are a gentle, angry, people!

Holly Near's song never held such meaning for me as it does today.

Today Senator Hillary Clinton announced that she will be suspending her campaign on Saturday and endorsing Senator Obama for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

I have voted Democrat in every election since I was eighteen, 6 presidential elections. I am college educated and have always considered myself a Democrat. From the beginning I wore my Clinton/Obama t-shirt proudly. I even joked with my friends that perhaps the DNC planned this, a black male and female running for the President of the United States of America. I was so excited and enthusiastic about this race and incredibly honored to consider myself a part of this party.

Then as I began watching the debates and reading the blogs and analyzing the media coverage, I came to see patterns. Patterns of word choices, inflections of opinion and the absence of coverage were rampant. I became discouraged and sought out other sources of information. The patterns continued, especially around the televised debates. I realized this was having an impact on one of the candidate's ability to generate momentum and educate people on the policy differences between the two candidates. It was also having a financial impact on the candidate's ability to raise money. I finally saw how the only avenue of communication available was the candidate's own website. We all felt in a vacuum.

Then something happened, Saturday Night Live called the media out on their behavior. Here we go, vindication or so I thought.

Unfortunately as the race continued, with a handful of exceptions, the media nor the Obama for President camp got the message. Instead the media blamed the victim. I watched CNN keep Senator Clinton pundits waiting to speak, stacking the talking heads with Senator Obama supporters and making projections that prohibited any type of momentum to be gained. I watched as ABC was chastised and ostracized for attempting to highlight the bias by showcasing the other side. I watched in shock as Clinton found she could only get fair coverage from Fox News. Expert media studies have already shown substantiated bias and I am sure we will see more studies to come.

Media bias aside, what I am most emotional about is the underlying precept here. Senator Obama's lack of ability to reach across the party and ask for the support of Hillary Clinton's voters "is only serving to deepen the conviction in my soul." She was absolutely correct in insinuating that he is an elitist? Will this be how he governs?

What the "new leader" of the Democratic Party does not understand is "backlash". I suggest he read Susan Faludi's book. I suggest he take a closer look at his demographics. I suggest that he and his "no comment" staff find some way to make amends. I suggest that he begin to honor those (all) who have come before him. Otherwise Donna Brazile and Oprah can have their new party!! I for one will be watching Ellen and singing "We are a gentle, angry people."