"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,"... ...Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."
Senator Hillary Clinton, May 8, 2009: USA Today Interview
I have started and restarted this post several times. I didn't know where or how to begin. I find myself saddened, appalled, and angered with this statement made by an individual whom I believed, less than a year ago, was a champion for and of the causes and issues that are important to me as an American - as an African-American. I believed, less than a year ago, that this Senator from New York, did not "knowingly" have a racist bone in her body. I believed that she was a true humanitarian not only fit but, certainly more than capable, to be the Leader of the Free World. I believed that, like her husband, she truly"felt my pain".
Defined by her critics as abrasive, I translated as straightforward. Defined as aggressive, I translated as assertive. Defined as arrogant, I translated as confident. Defined as manipulative, I translated as decisive. Yes, a year ago, I looked forward to supporting "Gentle Lady from New York" as the Democratic nominee for President. And how very proud I was when watching her during the first Nevada debate as she rejected the absurd notion that her opponents were "not after her" because she was a woman but rather because she was ahead. Classic Hillary...You Go Girl!
And then, the veil was lifted... Then came Iowa!
After Obama's win in Iowa, Team Clinton began a campaign, although subtle, to discredit and minimize his impressive and mobilizing win. We began to hear words and phrases that could only be categorized as racial epitaphs and codes to discerning ears. We heard Bill call Barack's stance on Iraq and his candidacy a fairy tale. And let us not forget Clinton's "reminder" that "even" Jesse Jackson won South Carolina. We saw Hillary chastise Barack as if he were a child on mainstream media at the exact time she pleaded for the support of African-Americans at the "State of the Black Union" otherwise known as the Tavis Supports Hillary and You Should, Too Show. We saw Team Clinton jump on, and in my opinion, mastermind the Wright and Ayers Controversies. We heard one of her top supporters relegate Obama's success to the fact that he is an African-American male and not because of his ability or capability. And now we hear Hillary characterizing Obama as elite because he is an educated Black man who has the "audacity", support, platform, and money to become President of the United States!
Her words today tell me as a hard working, college education, middle class, professional African American woman, that I am no more than an expendable pawn in her quest for the nomination and Presidency. Her words today tell me that my role in her political process is likened to a trophy "for display purposes only". Her words today tell me that Senator Hillary Clinton's so-called commitment to human and civil rights has served only as rhetoric to help fill her pockets and political aspirations.
Yet, we are asked by Clinton and the Democratic Party not take these words personally. The most loyal constituency of the Democratic Party has been demoralized, disenfranchised, belittled, marginalized, and minimized. Thanks to Hillary, no longer is education beyond a high school diploma or a GED a viable path to inclusiveness and respectability. No longer - thanks to Senator Clinton - does the ability to think, synthesize information, ask questions, and demand answers the recommended and appropriate process to employ when selecting a presidential candidate.
Why did she do it? As her husband said after the "cigar scandal", he did it "because he could". And so did Hillary. Hillary Clinton considers herself accountable to no one; and no one - not the Democratic Party - not the Democratic National Committee - not the Democratic Superdelegates dare tell her otherwise. Her actions and her words are merely a reflection of how the Party, Committee, and Superdelegates - disguised as our leaders - view the importance of over 20% of its base. They fear no list of demands and no threats of retaliation or exodus - and therefore, our vote and support is taken for granted. We give them no reason to do otherwise - no reason to be accountable - no reason to be held accountable.
The Democratic Leadership has likened African-Americans to the used-woman Norman Connors sang about back in the day: Once I've been there, I can always go back again.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner('s Place) ain't got nothing more to say. ~~SjP