Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday afternoon political blogging

Before I disappear into the delightful world of my friend Jhayne in Vancouver. Trust me, it's unlike the rest of Vancouver. You lose track of time, days, everything. I'm so glad school is over. Summer of knitting, trying to squeak by on SSI-D (I have enough yarn to last a lifetime so I'm good with that and a few odd jobs-mowing a lawn for 2 weeks possibly more depending on their vacation, weeding which is in jeopardy b/c they are having money problems too and selling plasma, wheeeeeeeeeee! I'm gonna try and use my ticket to work from SSA, but employers aren't really keen on someone who has a lot of health related issues that may or may not be able to come into work regularly. Awesome. Any ideas?)

Anyhow, back to some thoughts that were brought up by pocochina's post highlighted below.

Highlights from pocochina at Hillary1000's Post Primary Thoughts

I’m pissed at the classism of this campaign. It’s not even that the Democratic Party is taking the working class for granted any more - no, according to Donna Brazile, we don’t want the working class any more. Sending out Harry & Louise flyers, ignoring the rural poor, giving up on true universal health care. A party that turns its back on the sick and the poor is a party that does not deserve power. We’ve been saying that about Republicans for years. We have met that enemy, and it is now ourselves.


I’m pissed at the blatant misogyny of coverage of the campaign. I’m pissed at people who should know better - who acknowledge other people’s sexism, who can cast an accusing finger at the entire horrible media, but can then turn around, utterly free of irony, and utter, “but he just inspires me,” or some other sufficiently vague, comforting reason to not check one’s own sexism. You know, it feels a bit ridiculous now, with my highly partisan perspective on the campaign, but I did a lot of soul searching to make sure that I wasn’t just voting based on whiteness or femaleness, and I did it relatively frequently - though less so as the campaign went on and only one candidate acted as if she actually wanted my votes. The bottom line was that I trusted her views on government (we have it, so let’s use it, and do so in a way that helps as many people as possible, and then next time let’s do better) more than his (hope!(TM) change!(C)); that her health care plan was better; that while his reproductive rights record was more than satisfactory, hers showed nuance and leadership. And those, in the bottom line, are the reasons I went for Senator Clinton. I am deeply fortunate to have access to the pro-Obama voices of POC who forced me to take that look into myself.


I’m pissed at Barack Obama for his misogyny. I can understand - though I do not condone - why he did not apologize for his own fuckups on that score. But he had not one, not two, but three clear opportunities to distance himself from the hate speech of others, and he did not. He could have taken a moment - just a fraction of a breath - in his many condemnations of Rev. Wright - whom he could no more disown than the black community, until of course he did just that - to say “by the way, the personal attacks on my opponent are not worthy of my church, my party, or my country.” He did not. He could have said the same when distancing himself from Father Phlegler. He did not. He was careful to condemn so-called divisive rhetoric which did nothing but tell the truth about the drug war, allegedly un-American comments which would (and, of course, still will, for there is no escaping the Republican Attack Machine) make him look bad, and he could not be bothered to condemn hate speech against a colleague. He could have said the same when he issued his departure from his church and he did not.

Were an observer from Mars to judge the man by his public statements in these moments of crisis, that Martian observer would be quite rational to conclude that his need to see Senator Clinton abused means more to him than his faith. I expect that from Republicans. I expected better from Democrats. I no longer can.


I’m pissed at feminists who decided their feminism didn’t extend to That Bitch. I want to be clear, I’m not talking about feminists who, in good faith, decided that they wanted to support Obama, Edwards, Dodd, or whoever else. I am the first to state openly that reasonable people could have come to different decisions on that. I’m talking about feminists who, usually incisive and merciless in their rejection of expected gender roles, uncritically accept the Nasty Harpy narrative about Senator Clinton. I expect feminists to be able to step back and say, “well, knowing what I know about how I, and everyone around me, and in particular the chattering heads paid to tell me what to think about this campaign, have been conditioned in my expectations of female behavior, I am going to be critical of how I process this election.” For a lot of feminists (Edwards and Obama supporters as much as Clinton supporters) that happened; for a lot of them, it didn’t. I saw one feminist blogger say of Clinton’s suspension speech only, “Best speech of her political career.” The best speech of a thirty five year career of one of the most brilliant women in modern public life just so happens to be her concession? We’d be unbelievably suspicious of such an assessment about any other woman’s career - but it was Hillary, so it’s okay. It’s nauseating from a babbling jowl show - it is heartbreaking from a feminist. And the wheel turns, and a woman’s career is at its apex when she submits to a man.

They have drawn race as black and white. This is patently ridiculous. I’m not linking to anyone who makes the claim that - essentially - white women are the only ones who liked HRC, we should just stop whining and suck it up, POC are thrilled about Obama and we are just entitled bitches. It is true that Black Americans overwhelmingly - though far from universally - preferred Obama. But this erases the huge numbers of brown women - Asian-American, Hispanic-American, in huge numbers, at least where the pollsters bothered - and men as well, who knew that they are not invisible to her. Those claims are out there, though. I’m thrilled for African-Americans who see themselves in Senator Obama. But I do not ever condone the erasure of anyone because they are inconvenient to a political agenda. I have been proud to call these women ally and sometimes, presumptively, friend. I’ve talked before about my frustration with this erasure, but with Clinton supporters - neither all white nor all male - so offended by this campaign they have decided the Democratic Party is no longer their home, the erasure has reached fever pitch. I do not begrudge Obama supporters their excitement. I do not understand the need to begrudge us our grief.

I think that non-feminist Obama supporters, and particularly male non-feminist Obama supporters, have this idea that we are just irrationally angry, our feelings are hurt and we should get over it or we’re just silly, don’t we know how bad McCain is, maybe they’ll just tell us one more time. The choice not to support Obama is a long-run rational choice. Right now, there is a party that hates women all the time, and a party that used to humor us, but hates us when it is convenient. It is our job to never, ever let it be convenient again, or there will be no one in government advocating for our rights.

We are not your sweeties, who just need candy and flowers to come around.

We are not your bitches, that is not a leash in your hand. Our bodily integrity is not a choke chain you may use to threaten us. If you think it is, you are no better than the Republicans. And yes, the “But! But! But!” Roe stick is just that - a threat. Politically involved women know exactly where we stand on Roe, and we know the Democrats haven’t been all that bothered to even look like they’re trying to protect it, these last seven years. We know what an anti-choice Supreme Court looks like, because we read Gonzales v. Carhart and our hearts broke in fear for ourselves and our sisters and nieces and daughters.

When you tell us that we’d better get in line and vote for Obama, OR ELSE ROE, you are holding our own bodies hostage against us, as if they were yours to take. You are actively, proudly, literally threatening us with our lives. Is that the change we should believe in?


The party’s eagerness to push her out, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY (particularly in the case of Representative Cohen) was in reaction to this very feeling. They have come to rely on women not expecting any better. They have grown dependent on the Bush Administration’s vile abuse of women, so that their burden of accountability to us is lighter. They were terrified of rank-and-file Dems realizing that there is better out there. And there is, and she still lost, and with her she brought down the pretenses of the party. The bullying we’re all getting now is an unapologetic part of that - baby, you need me, nobody else will love you.

I've seen all of these and can not agree more with her here. The part I bolded about feminists, well, I've been in too many fights about what is and isn't sexist in this campaign that by all accounts would seem sexist happening to anyone else or being done by anyone else. The sweetie comment, not sexist apparently. Told to me by Obama supporters on a feminist board. To be fair, there were Obama supporters who were also saying that it was indeed very sexist and fucked up, but they were ignored by the Obama supporters who were too busy attacking me for calling sexism sexism since it was seen as an attack on their candidate. Well, yes. He was being sexist and I said something. If you have a problem with that you should get him to work on seeing women as people, not "sweeties." Same goes for the "Periodically, when she's feeling down, she launches into attacks." comment. Being a radical feminist I'm used to being told that I'm taking things "too far" or being told I'm "overreacting" or some such bullshit. But this campaign season I am now being told that about everyday sexist abuses that even my own FATHER has spoken out against in our conversations, and he is, for the most part, the opposite of progressive thought. When FOX news (which my dad watches), O'Reilly, and my dad are calling sexism sexism and feminists are calling it overreacting something is supremely wrong in the world.

Of course maybe they'll change their tune now that the misogyny will be aimed at Michelle Obama. As Red Queen asked Did you think it wouldn't happen to you and your candidate?. I may no longer get the NYTimes for free everyday since school is out, but I, along with RQ and the Hillary1000 bloggers will continue to blog against sexism, EVEN sexism against Michelle Obama, because guess what? We're outraged at SEXISM, not just because we support the other candidate. (Waits for people's heads to explode.)

The thing that brought the most joy and most misery and anxiety into my life this season has been the simultaneous rise in consciousness about sexism and the rise in denial about it from people who already called themselves feminists. The second part had me in highly anxious states for long periods of time because I just couldn't understand how people could brush away something so obvious. Forget the stuff coming from Obama, but praising Olbermann, the man who wanted a super-d and Hillary to go into a room together and only HE comes out. The man that gets all foamy mouthed and wild eyed whenever he goes on his WWTSBQ (Why Won't the Stupid Bitch Quit) rants. Praising the network news stations my FATHER became so disgusted with that he stopped watching because of the sexist things that they said about Hillary. I know that even my friends cannot really understand how insane this is to me as I don't really talk about my strict Catholic Republican parents, but MY FATHER WAS TURNED OFF BY THE MSM's SEXISM. MY OWN FATHER!!!! But not a lot of 'feminists.' As pocochina said, it's ok because it was directed towards that woman. But any comment directed at a woman simply because she is woman is directed at ALL WOMEN and the thrashing that Hillary got as a woman was a thrashing of all of us.

If you need to be reminded of the MSM's sexism this season, take a peek at the Women's Media Center video:

Or one of the many videos at Come a Long Way


Greenconsciousness said...

So now you know that not everyone who self labels as a feminist is a feminist and you will look harder at their so called feminism and ask if what they say unifies or divides women's political power.

Now we will look to see if they can unite with ALL women for women's equality and freedom or only with the women the left boys approve of.

So much of what left women have demanded of feminists is pure crap - I am glad their male identification has been exposed so we who are really for ALL women can recognize each other and get out of their BS identity divisions.