Prior to 2008, I had never given more than $25 to any political candidate. After the Iowa caucuses, when every pundit figuratively strung Hillary up by her “unpleasant ankles,” a dear friend called to ask, “Is our girl in trouble?” My husband and I sent our first $100 to Senator Hillary Clinton and never looked back. We had all but maxed out by June 3rd. If I had it to do over again, I would do the same thing. Only sooner. And louder.
I hate to remind myself of these events, and in so doing, remind you. Yet the infuriating behavior I witnessed by big media and the DNC – and Hillary’s determination to march on in spite of it – changed my life. I became someone else; stronger somehow, more informed, more confident of my beliefs. I drew a line in the sand. For the first time, I said, “You may not cross.”
For a lifelong people pleaser like me, that was something. Growing up in an environment where I never knew if I was going to get kissed or slapped, my survival skills became quite sharp. I prided myself on my ability to take the temperature of any room. Noting the slightest change in someone’s inflection, if trouble was brewing, the chameleon would quickly change her colors to blend in.
Suddenly, I turned into a determined campaign grunt, making GOTV calls around the country. With plenty of facts and figures comparing Hillary and Barack at my disposal, I shared them …well, practically vomited them at anyone who would listen. The message had to be heard. Every so often, I would hear myself, aghast. Who is this?
I had never blogged either but this strange new world invited me. The few websites that supported the more sensible, smarter candidate offered welcome respite from the endless frat boy mantra of frigid-bitch-ball-buster-killer that permeated the airwaves. The first time I dared to do more than lurk, I thought the world would come to an end. Who cares what silly blather I have to offer? I remember the first person who made me feel welcome at Taylor Marsh – back when Taylor Marsh had some sense. Her name was Sisterdo. Damn! She was dedicated. AND SHE LOVED TO BLOG IN CAPITAL LETTERS. I know that is improper etiquette but her passion matched my own and made me feel safe.
Armed with our list of media contacts and every piece of vital information on Obama that we could find, we were on the horn, on the net, sending emails galore…Why weren’t they listening?
Damn! I was naïve.
When I first started writing for NoQuarter, under my blogger’s alias, it seemed like the most important job in the world. We are getting the truth out there! Surely, someone is reading this. The commenters had a sense of urgency I had not seen anywhere. Another blogger offered us a link to a little known story about Senator Obama’s latest campaign fiction and proceeded to YELL at us on paper – GET THE NEW NEWS UP!!!
The amazing “Ginger” screamed back…”GIVE THEM TIME TO TYPE IT OUT!!”
Anyone who had ever worked as a secretary for some demanding boob with no concept of time could relate.
Our efforts and Hillary’s wins notwithstanding, by April I saw the writing on the wall – and what the DNC phonies had planned. It didn’t matter. I was proud to fight for someone so courageous and prepared. The players needed to be called to account. Media sycophants who had decided the race in advance were not going to get away with telling me to sit down and shut up, or to “get over it.”
It must have displeased them that I had a wonderful experience back in May, 2008, protesting sexism on a street corner in front of NBC. I hadn’t protested anything since I was barely out of junior high, protesting the war, or marching on the city to keep them from closing my school. There must have been eighty of us standing in Burbank that afternoon, holding our signs, chanting loud and proud. Women, men, black, white, Asian, Latina, gay, straight, Democrats, Indies, some Republicans and one Russian lady whose party affiliation I did not know, all chanting for Hillary, chanting to stop the misogynist trash being spewed on that station daily.
There was a ten year-old boy who brought his own mini-bullhorn shouting “What has Hillary ever done to you? Put a woman in the White House!” Everyone marching there knew the reason they showed up. They could give you ten reasons. Sophie B. Hawkins made up a song for us to sing on her bullhorn. “DAMN. I wish you were my President.” I think I overheard one lady say she was born the year before women got the right to vote. She had a cane, but she stood holding her sign, leaning against a tree for balance and support.
We raised our signs above our heads in the hot sun getting appreciative honks from passing cars. I wanted to ask everyone standing on the firing line: “How did you get here today? What made you leave your meeting early, get off of work, or leave your home to stand out here at 3000W. Alameda at 3 o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon?” I learned many new names and promised myself I wouldn’t forget them.
To find strangers in agreement, together in a common cause for a few hours, who straggled over from their lives and locations to make a beautiful noise fed me in a way few things could. The day was more rewarding because I had to drag myself kicking and screaming to get there.
The year that broke my heart was also a year of rebirth. Big media and the DNC cabal made a colossal blunder, not only in their choice of candidate, but in exhibiting grievous disrespect to many in the Democratic base who had been carrying their water for years. What I witnessed forever changed my outlook socially and politically. The genie can never be put back in the bottle. As ABC News’ Michael Malone shared in 2008:
“I’ve spent 30 years in every part of journalism, from beat reporter to magazine editor. And my oldest son, following in the family business, so to speak, earned his first national byline before he earned his driver’s license….[W]hen I say I’m deeply ashamed right now to be called a “journalist,” you can imagine just how deep that cuts into my soul.”
As a result of such sycophantic, sexist, biased coverage, a new generation of watchdogs has been created and some, like me, came from unlikely corners. Had da boyz and complicit females made even a pretense at civility or fairness, perhaps I would still be drinking their kool-aid to this day.
I am pleased to see how many more on both sides have finally figured out that the fix is in.
Memo to Matthews, Olbermann, Williams, Fineman, Brazile, Alter, Russert, Mitchell, Dowd, Robinson, Borger and, well, you know the names as well as I do… telling me I was worthless and ignorant was not a good move. They could not expect I would return for more, yet NBC President Phil Griffin was quite sure of himself when he said “There’s nowhere else to go.”
Ratings tell a different story. The karmic police have paid a visit to many, apparently. We daily feel the buyer’s remorse of the culprits; which does nothing to exonerate them for shaming those with the wisdom to look behind the green curtain.
Awakenings are painful. Mine was. But I wonder if the elitists who treated intelligent people like ignorant sheep have yet had theirs? Protective of their paychecks, do they continue to take their marching orders from their corporate masters beyond all reason? Perhaps they are just doubling down in their continued defense of an unsuccessful administration, too proud to admit they have made a mistake. Or do they still inhabit a protected bubble, clueless as to why the hoi polloi are tuning them out? They curse the activists and holdouts, yet we are their creation.
The gift of finding my voice has been cold comfort when compared with the gift I was hoping for…yet I have the deepest appreciation for the hard work of talented and powerful writers like our hostess here. Uppity has long offered support and encouragement, not to mention making me laugh out loud more times than I can count. I thank her, and everyone I’ve met since that night in January who has encouraged me to speak up. I had previously spent a lifetime doing the opposite.
I also have Hillary to thank. She stood up. I stood up, too. As I watch her in action daily, unapologetic as ever, it reminds me I was right to support her in the first place.
I look forward to sharing more with you all…