I think part of my relative disinterest in blogging and the primary at this point is that now the intra-party knives are out in force, and I hate to see it. Go read the comments here for one example, but obviously this stuff is everywhere, and obviously if Hillary Clinton had run the superior campaign to date, it would be Obama backers (of which I count myself) lashing out as their candidate was thumped again and again. It's how things work, it's a normal human reaction, but I do hate to see it.
Last night a dear friend I went to high school with and have stayed close to for all these many years sent me a link to this pro-Clinton article, which I read thoroughly and which made feel more sad than anything else. I wrote back to her, gently, that I found the text inspiring and empowering, and that I had proudly cast my ballot for Barack Obama. That I'm a poet, and that I get fussy when people attack the notion that good ideas artfully phrased will change the world, and that I've been thrilled for a year by the caliber and quality of the Democratic candidates and that both would make fine presidents.
I watched clips of Obama's speech from last night, and was struck by the kind of transformation he wants to catalyze. He said it clearly: this isn't about policy papers or positions. He wants to recreate the way we as Americans view ourselves. He doesn't just want to change America, he wants to change Americans.
How does one do that except by providing a vision that can inspire the many to dream larger dreams than they dreamed before? How can you ask people to make themselves and their communities better if you don't put a brighter picture into their minds? If you don't tell them that they have the power to change the world? If you don't urge them to do so?
Years ago, I attended massage school and worked as a massage therapist for about four years until the last recession obliterated my client base. A client told me once that I earned my money with massage, but people hired me for the inspiration I provided in the conversations we'd have around the session. This stuff is important. It's the difference between technical proficiency in an endeavor and creating a lasting experience that continues to offer something to someone long after you walk out the door.
The knives are out in the Democratic Party and many, many people are attacking the very things which resonate most strongly with me: the ability to inspire and the ability to be inspired. I don't like it, I'm not comfortable with it, and I'll probably keep my head down for a while so I can keep my heart wide open. I will make arguments, but I have no desire to argue. The nominee will be decided in coming weeks or months. I'll vote for the nominee.
But make no mistake: of the three candidates standing at this point, only one can transform our core notions of who we are in a democracy and what we collectively represent as this thing called America. I don't know whether he'll win the nomination, but given the choice, I'll vote for that kind of transformation every time. It isn't an attack on Hillary Clinton, it's just my fundamental desire for today to contain more humanity, more humility, more service, more dreams, and more hope than yesterday did. And for tomorrow to hold even more than today.