Saturday, February 16, 2008

letter to the superdelegates, part two

It's a phenomenon, all right. Me, Tina Rowley, née Tina Kunz, The High Priestess of Sitting On One's Ass...I tried to sit down and watch the news this afternoon, but my conscience catapulted me out of my seat and I made some phone calls to Wisconsin and Hawaii. Thought I had done what I needed to do to shut my conscience up a minute and went back to try and watch some more news. Again, my ass rose magically off the chair as though the chair repelled it, and I went and composed another letter to the superdelegates. Damn it, I just had more to say.

I wish I could promise you that I wouldn't be writing another one. BUT I JUST DON'T KNOW. Whenever I hear an argument against Barack Obama that my mind leaps to refute, I'm compelled to take it outside, as it were. I'm a big proponent of having one-sided arguments in my shower - I do that all the time - but I'm...yeah. Takin' it to the streets. (At least to the streets of my blog and to Obama's website.)

I'm including the link for you in case you want to compose your own message for the superdelegates.

Here's what I said this time.


Hello again, superdelegates:

My name is Tina Rowley, and I'm a 38-year-old writer, actor and [blah blah blah]. I wrote a letter to you recently explaining why I am supporting Barack Obama and asking that you cast your vote for him.

I needed to write to you again because as I sat with what I had written and sent to you, I realized that I had left out too much. I wrote about Barack Obama's eloquence and unmanufacturable authenticity; his longstanding, unassailable position on Iraq; how he has inspired me out of relative apathy not just to actively support his campaign but to figure out how I can permanently be of service to my community. Finally, I wrote about how positively I felt Barack Obama's presence in the White House would affect the perception of America and Americans on the world stage.

But I left out the most important thing.
I have a son, Finn. He's almost two years old, and as you can imagine, he's the light of my life. He's hilarious and generous and extremely excited to be here. My love and concern for him burn at the center of my chest, and I constantly think about the world he's so enthusiastically a part of.

On the Republican side, we have a candidate who wants us to stay in Iraq indefinitely. A hundred years? A thousand years? It's all right by him.

Well, it's not all right by me. I'm a mother. When I think of all of the American soldiers who have died, and their parents and loved ones and the overwhelming grief they have to be experiencing, my heart wants to run right out of my chest and hide under a rock. It rebels. It's hard to keep the pain of other people vivid in our minds. It's too...well, painful.

Then I think of all the Iraqis who have died, in even greater numbers, and the grieving Iraqi mothers and fathers and children. It's harder yet to stay with it, to stay with the image. These people didn't deserve any of this. They did nothing to us. It's horrible to contemplate, and it should be horrible to contemplate, and it must be contemplated.

Everyone who has died is as beloved by someone as your most beloved is loved by you, and their loss is as grievous as the worst one you have ever faced or ever will. But you know this already.

This - can you believe it? - brings me to the question of electability.

All the polling I've seen recently tells me that Barack Obama has a much greater chance of beating John McCain than Senator Clinton has. It's not only the polls that tell me that, it's my instinct. And it's not only my instinct that tells me that, it's all of the people I heard at my caucus a week ago. There were independents there speaking passionately for Barack Obama. There was a young Republican standing outside with an Obama sign, energetically calling on us to join him in his support as we filed inside. He couldn't caucus with us, as a Republican, but there he was anyway.

I probably don't need to tell you that there weren't any Republicans outside holding Clinton signs. And no independents spoke up on her behalf in our caucus room. Our precinct went to Barack Obama 64-20.

That Senator Clinton is a polarizing figure in our country isn't new information, I know. But I hope that piece of information never loses its power for you. As Democrats, we don't want to see the Republican base mobilized against a common enemy. And who can doubt that it would happen?

What happens, then, to all of the other seats in Congress that are up for grabs? Do we keep our hold in the House and Senate? It's not a vast majority we have in there to begin with. My fear is that we not only fail to make gains, but that we lose the balance of power...

...and have President McCain sworn in on January 20th, humming "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" all the way up the Capitol Steps. (Iran...where the people are just as real as the people in Iraq and just as real as the American soldiers and civilians who are currently targets of violence and will only become more so if McCain is running our foreign policy.)

I believe that if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, we stand a grave chance of this coming to pass. I do not believe she can beat John McCain.

I firmly believe that Barack Obama can.

There's too much at stake in this election. I haven't even touched on global warming. I envision a McCain administration that's dragged by the conservative interests to which it's beholden away from the decisive action we need to take to save our planet from impending crisis. The old joke "If you believe that, I've got some waterfront property in Arizona I'd like to sell you" suddenly becomes a lot less funny.

I want Finn to become aware of his surroundings in a world where people talk to each other reasonably despite their differences. I don't want conservatives and liberals demonizing each other anymore. We're too creative for that. I'm guilty, too. I'd like a way out. I want our world leaders to talk to each other, and not play ego-driven games with foreign policy where the stakes are life and death.

Barack Obama is brilliant, substantive, inspiring and he's setting people on fire. I'm seeing media coverage of his popularity that's spinning this as a bad thing, which is incredible to me. Don't we want a candidate that pulls people out of passivity? That seems like a no-brainer to me. If people are excited about Obama to the point where they're freaking other people out, I would suggest that it's a natural reaction to the despair they've felt under this disastrous Bush administration. Someone's come along who looks like he can start turning the ship of state around. That doesn't make him some kind of false Messiah. And it says worlds about where we are in our national consciousness that a candidate who can inspire and uplift and mobilize an electorate is spun as some kind of impossible unicorn, and his followers a bunch of starry-eyed fantasists. I can't speak for Senator Obama's other supporters, but I definitely find that notion insulting. The heart in my chest doesn't cancel out the head on my shoulders. That Obama supporters tend to be a well-educated bunch puts the lie to this notion of a typical supporter running purely on feeling. Educated people tend to to stay educated on the issues, and if they're leaning towards Barack Obama, it's worth noting.

But if someone wants to support Barack Obama because their heart tells them to, that is fine by me. This country has been seriously divided and wounded by the current administration and by the hopelessness and apathy it's generated. Obama is strong on policy, but he also doesn't ignore our deeper systemic problems. When he paints the picture of an empathy deficit, something unglues in my chest and I want to cheer. Somebody's finally talking about it.

There we go. I think I've finally gotten it all out. I suppose if I haven't, I'll come to you with more of my thoughts. I appreciate your taking the time to listen.

And I once again urge you to cast your crucial vote for Barack Obama.

Many thanks,
Tina Rowley
You know what I forgot to do? I forgot to remind them that Finn isn't just an anecdote. He's a real little guy with a body and little heartbeat. I fuckin' mean what I said about him. Damn. Well, I'm not going back now with that piece of information. I can't gild the lily with that, however important it is to me. Hell's bells. Oh, well.


girlysmack said...

Tine Rowley for President '12

girlysmack said...

Um, shit. There's a typo in your name and I already ordered all of the bumperstickers and pins and shit...

YogaLia said...

Oh my gosh, how beautiful. I'm reading The Audacity of Hope right now, and the title keeps looping around in my head like a beautiful little song. You've got it girl: The Audacity of Hope. You are totally audacious.