I'm encountering something disturbing on social media. I'm not sure if you're seeing the same thing, but since you're reading this in the Portland Mercury, I'm going to assume you are. What I'm encountering is my fellow liberals tearing each other apart like naan in a Colonial British restaurant in a gentrifying neighborhood over which Democratic presidential candidate they favor.
Hillary supporters trash Bernie supporters over their pie-in-the-sky ideals, they call them "bros," they accuse them of only supporting Bernie because they don't want to see a woman in the White House. The Bernie fans fire back, calling Hillary a monster, and/or a shrill shill for corporate interests. They call her a continuation of the dynastic nature of politics in America over the last thirty years.
There's probably some truth to all of this, to be honest. All these critiques have some truth in them, even if they're just warped hyperbolic aggrandizements of much smaller problems, long shadows that obscure the truth as much as they reveal. (Some are actual valid concerns, by the way, I'm not saying they aren't.)
One thing I've been seeing lately, though, bums my shit out in a major way. I've been seeing a lot of people wet-burping about women who are voting for Hillary Clinton simply because she's a woman. They're saying these women are not voting for the candidate who represents them best—rather, they just want to see a woman in the White House.
When I first witnessed this critique getting passed around, I have to admit, it seemed pretty reasonable. The stakes of a presidential election are too high to say, "Now it's a girl's turn" unless she's the right candidate. Even if it makes a nice story. Even if it makes people feel better about their own lives.
Then, I thought about it for a second—even if there are women voting for Hillary just because she's a woman, I have to say, I totally get it. I totally fucking get it. If there was a fat dude who was into wearing Jordans, I would be there for that candidate.
Can you imagine the beauty? Seeing yourself represented like that on a national stage? At least Hillary is qualified—my guy wouldn't even have to be qualified. He could announce that he's planning on staffing his cabinet with Rasheed Wallace and the Dungeon Family, and he'd still have my vote. He could go on Meet the Press and talk about how he doesn't blame the Blazers for picking Oden over Durant (even though with hindsight the choice seems so clear), and the question could have been about China—and I would still vote for him.
I would vote for him because I feel like he'd understand me, and even though Bernie is fly as fuck, and Obama has been (by my ruberics) a great President, they still couldn't understand me the way Fat Dude in Jordans could. At least I've had dude Presidents before. At least there've been fat Presidents before. At least Obama had opinions about basketball and he definitely knows who Outkast are. Women haven't even had a woman, so if they want to vote for Hillary 'cus it'd be nice to have a woman in the White House? Maybe shut-the-fuck-up about it and let them make that choice for themselves.