Can we all get along?

Dateline: Mon 19 May 2008

In Oregon, Barack Obama urged his supporters to be nice to Hillary people. Then the junior senator from Illinois drew a crowd of 75,000 to hear him speak at an outdoor event in Portland.

His magnanimous request is easy to take to heart. Some of my best friends are Hillary people, and yes, most (but not all) are women. Annie, Barb, Pat, Madelyn, Ellen and Roxanne all voted for Hillary and feel strongly about her as a candidate and a person. "She is right on the issues," said Annie, early on. Madelyn, looking rather melancholy one night, explained to me, "Some of us feel very protective towards Hillary." "I didn't just vote for her because she's a woman," said Pat. "I voted for her experience."

Roxanne gave me the best explanation, talking about the emotional appeal of Bill Clinton's election. (I believe that most of us vote based on an emotional response rather than the hard cold wonky issues).

Rox recalled watching the couple dance at the inauguration, to the Fleetwood Mac music, and thinking that what she witnessed was new, unprecedented, and represented her generation; after all, Bill is only 10 years older than she. Hillary, she said, "didn't have that adoring Stepford gaze and they seemed to be equals in their relationship."

At the same time, she admired Hillary for trying to crack health care -- the effort was "heroic," Rox said -- for calling the "vast right-wing conspiracy" what it was and for earning money in the stock market.

OK, you get the drift. Overall impression: as the writer Erica Jong said in a nasty column yesterday, "we are going with the angel we don't know (Obama) vs. the devil we do (Hillary)." And this is coming from a woman who also loves Hillary, but unfortunately, has a bitchy witchy tongue about all things Obama. But that's just Erica. Let her and NARAL screech.

Obama is correct, and as usual, he has taken the high road. Time for Dems to put it all aside. Hillary has had her run and is still loping along, which takes incredible guts and fortitude and a sense of self-worth and an uncanny ability to compartmentalie in her head (to not see the big picture, but to focus on this or that) -- no doubt all traits are present, and they have served her well. Give her credit for what she tried to do, applaud her success and grit and, as much as possible, overlook the negativity. Time to go forward as one party. Time to talk.

How hard is that?


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