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It's Not About Hating Hillary

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It's about believing in Barack.

When it comes to forgetting that, I'm as guilty as they come. Guilty of twisting myself into something more "anti-Hillary" than "pro-Obama." Guilty of letting righteous indignation cloud the big picture. Most of all -- I'm guilty of forgetting what drew me to the "skinny kid with a funny name" in the first place.

The past Sunday reminded me.

Like most of the world, I became aware of Barack Obama through "the speech." I remember feeling so excited that night -- feeling the first faint glimmer of hope that we might actually claw our way out of the partisan sinkhole we'd fallen into (and remain in). It was the same excitement I'd felt when I stuck a Clinton/Gore pin on my backpack in '92 -- before I was old enough to vote (funny how things change, huh?).

Yes, he was inspiring, but there was nothing "Messianic" about him -- he was just offering good old-fashioned common sense. A reminder that the same stars and stripes fly on the front porches of Louisville and Los Angeles. That when a building falls in New York City, tears fall in Birmingham. That we're all in this together, and woe is the American who forgets it.

Four years later, I'd forgotten it. After supporting Hillary early on (call it pragmatism, call it brand loyalty), things, well... changed. I became disenfranchised. Disappointed. Disgusted. Hillary's implosion of inevitability became my must-rant topic at social gatherings. I was so angry that I started writing about how angry I was. It got so bad that every time I saw Hillary's face on the view screen of Wolf Blitzer's starship, I had the urge to spear my TV with a curtain rod.

But as the inimitable Powers Boothe once said to C. Thomas Howell in Red Dawn, "all that hate's gonna burn you up, kid."

Powers was right. I'd grown so incensed that I'd forgotten that feeling. That excitement. That hopefulness that we could tip the political scales -- even just a little -- from lesser evils to greater goods. Over the weekend, as I worked on a draft of another anti-Hillary rant ("Cinco de Lie-O," and it'll never see the light of day) I was overcome with exhaustion. I just didn't want to write about her anymore. I was tired of being "against." I wanted to be "for." All that hate was burning me up.

That was my state of mind when I sat down to watch Barack on Sunday's Meet the Press. In that hour, I remembered why I like the skinny kid with a funny name.

I watched him admit mistakes. Speak candidly about his campaign's troubles and stand his ground on the gas tax gimmick. I watched him speak about Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan without resorting to rhetoric, and defend his patriotism without attacking his detractors. He was poised, positive, and dare I say -- presidential.

I remembered that I believe in Barack.

This is not me singing "kumbaya" around the campfire. My opinion of Hillary isn't likely to change, and I'll continue to criticize her until she finally lets go of that snow globe and mutters "Rosebud." (I will, however, try and criticize her with a touch less vitriol -- but no promises).

And in the unlikely event that she secures the nomination? I'll blog from the mountaintops to get her elected. I won't feel good about it, because I don't believe in Hillary. But I won't cut off my nose to spite my country.

I believe in Barack. Maybe you don't.

But I don't hate you for it.