June 12, 2008

Not your sweeties

I've been getting a lot of email regarding my decision to leave the Democratic Party. Many old-timers completely understand my move. Most of the newcomers or low-activity Dems do not. Pocochina sums it up well in her post-primary post. She brings it all up: Classism, sexism, religion, racism, race-baiting, the netroots, DNC complicity, and on and on. It is so comprehensive that I dare not chop it up. Just go read it all.

Her ending says exactly what many of us are feeling:

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?

I’ve left versions of the following comment on a couple of journals/blogs over the last couple of days:

What hurts the most is that I really thought I might have a chance to vote for someone in whom I really believed, and now no matter what I do I will be compromising more than ever. There is no choice that does not reward hatred of myself and those that I love. A write-in for Clinton or McKinney will be held against Clinton; a vote for McCain sanctions the Republican war machine, and a vote for Obama sanctions the (new ?) Democratic misogyny machine.

I was thinking of myself, and my own disappointment, and while I still think that’s legitimate, I am willing to say that I missed the broader context. 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.

If he really is such a unifier, surely we don’t need to be threatened. Surely he will come through, with his famous ability to reach out, and let us know that it’s our party too. Surely it will happen. At least, I hope - though I confess I am not holding my breath.

14 comments:

Marco said...

Why do you care what "male non-feminist Obama supporters" think? I could care less about non-feminists and their viewpoints. I am a feminist Obama supporter, and proud of it. There are many like us, and you shouldn't let the worst of Obama's supporters define the candidate.

carissa said...

That's the difference between us then. I do care about their viewpoints, not to bend myself to their will, but to keep the dialogue open and maybe, just maybe, make a dent.

lakelobos said...

Marco, I fail to understand your statement. It sounds like "I am for civil rights, but I am supporting a candidate who is against them."

It's not an easy cover of Obama supporters and Obama is pure. He himself had more than enough sexists remarks and had never objected to sexism from his supporters.

mystic4hillpuma said...

I actually don't let Obama's supporters define their candidate. It's up to the candidate to define himself. The worst (as you call them, Marco) of his supporters act the way they do because the form their candidate has given to himself and his campaign gives them free rein to behave accordingly.

Your candidate's disdain for me - white, female, over-50, Jewish - is palpable. I, and millions like me, have been thrown under that famous Obama bus. And now we're being told to pick ourselves up and come home to daddy. We're threatened that, if we don't, we'll lose what's left of Roe v Wade. We'll lose the right to control our own bodies. Only Obama can save us (after he's beaten us up).

Isn't it giving up control of my life if I allow your candidate to set such a bullying, sexist, misogynist tone that gives his supporters tacit approval to threaten me without fighting back in any way I can?

And so, after 35+ years, I've left the Democratic Party. After 35+ years of never even considering ever voting Republican, I will be voting for John McCain. Don't bother threatening me, or bullying me, or terrorizing me. Don't bring me flowers and candy and make nice, either.

It's done. Over. The "change" you believe in is too far a step backwards to suit me.

Marco said...

"The worst (as you call them, Marco) of his supporters act the way they do because the form their candidate has given to himself and his campaign gives them free rein to behave accordingly."

I believe the same thing about the worst of Clinton supporters. Every candidate has his bad supporters. When canvassing for Obama, I met several Clinton supporters who insisted that he was a crypto-Muslim, and were spreading that around. Put yourself in my shoes for a second -- when Clinton was asked if Obama was Muslim and said "Not as far as I know," can you imagine how offensive that felt for a supporter like me who had encountered this nonsense firsthand? Or when watching a video like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CnJ6UuIJb4, and yet seeing how Clinton praised her victories in W. Virginia and Kentucky w/o recognizing that over %20 admitted openly that were voting against Obama for his race. I'm not making these points to say that Clinton is a racist, but to say that in the heat of the primary, it's very easy to see your opponent's actions in the worst possible light. I believe that I probably interpreted Clinton's actions in worst possible light to see racism, and I think the same about the way you interpreted Obama's actions to see sexism.

"Your candidate's disdain for me - white, female, over-50, Jewish - is palpable. I, and millions like me, have been thrown under that famous Obama bus. And now we're being told to pick ourselves up and come home to daddy."

When Melissa Etheridge told Hillary at the LOGO forum that the Clinton presidency threw gays under the bus in the 90's, that had real meaning, steeped in policy. I'm not sure I get your statement that you've been thrown under a bus -- how? And I've never told you to "come home to daddy" or anything like that, but your former candidate has.

"After 35+ years of never even considering ever voting Republican, I will be voting for John McCain. Don't bother threatening me, or bullying me, or terrorizing me."

Why would I threaten or terrorize you? I'm a youngish Obama supporter, and I've only voted in two prior presidential elections, in both of which I voted 3rd party, because of policy issues. I understand not voting Democratic if that's what you believe in. What I don't understand is voting for a Republican who is exactly the opposite of the positions you support: yes, choice is one of them, but so is universal health care, the environment, the budget, and the war. I'm sure it pains Clinton every day to hear that some of her supporters are thinking of voting for her antithesis. I say, go ahead and vote 3rd party, if you must, but if you are really going to vote for McCain, then I don't think it's worth fighting for your vote, as you've shown that you're an irrational voter who votes against your own interests -- I am optimistic enough to think that irrationality such as yours is rare, and Obama's bump in the polls bear me out. I will fight to bring over every rational voter I can for Obama, but if that person is more interested in making a statement than changing the world, I will give up quickly.

Here is a joke McCain told once:
"'Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?' McCain said at a GOP fund-raiser in Washington. "Because Janet Reno is her father."

http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/7/5/00548.shtml

That's not a McCain surrogate, nor a supporter, but McCain. Have fun voting for him.

Horselover Fat said...

The problem with these "racism" accusations is that Obama supporters have a very broad way of defining "racism." For example, I have seen it deemed "racism" to point out Obama has a very thin resume with virtually no accomplishments he can point to; because, obviously, "thin resume" is just code for "AA." Basically, you just cannot criticize Obama in any way with triggering squawks of racism.

So, Marco, just stuff it, totally stuff it, with your garbage about racism. The bogus racism accusations that originated in the Obama campaign are, indeed, one of the many reasons I can't even consider voting for him.

mystic4hillpuma said...

Marco,

In response to your statement: ”When Clinton was asked if Obama was Muslim and said "Not as far as I know," can you imagine how offensive that felt for a supporter like me who had encountered this nonsense firsthand?” Please read the following article by Eric Boehlert at Media Matters for the entire conversation. http://mediamatters.org/columns/200803110002

Regarding your statement, ”over %20 admitted openly that were voting against Obama for his race.” I certainly am not disagreeing there are racists out there who are not willing to vote for a bi-racial candidate. Much was made of that during this primary race. Of much less concern by, and focus of, the media was the number of people who would not vote for Senator Clinton because of her gender. And I can find little evidence that Clinton blamed any of her losses on the gender issue, while the Obama campaign did, in fact, blame racism for a number of his losses.

”I'm not sure I get your statement that you've been thrown under a bus...” I’ll quote Donna Brazile here (and please don’t try to tell me she’s not an Obama surrogate, I’m not stupid!), “. . . you're looking at the old coalition. A new Democratic coalition is younger. It is more urban, as well as suburban, and we don't have to just rely on white blue-collar voters and Hispanics. And yes, my candidate (she’s not “former” until after the convention, thank you very much) is asking her supporters to support Obama. She’s loyal to the party, you see. But I don’t have to follow her lead. And I’m hearing a lot of calls for me to come home - Pelosi, Reid, Dean, et al are making quite a deal of UNITY.

”if you are really going to vote for McCain, then I don't think it's worth fighting for your vote, as you've shown that you're an irrational voter who votes against your own interests” You don’t know me at all, so your assumption that I’m irrational is ridiculous. I have a choice to make, and that choice is whether I want to see Obama in the White House or McCain. You’ve voted in 2 elections. I’ve voted in many, many more. And in most of those elections, I’ve had to make a choice for the lesser of two evils. My vote for a 3rd party candidate is a wasted vote, let’s be realistic. So, I have to rationally decide who I want in the White House for 4 years. You toss out at me the environment, the budget, the war, health care, women’s rights. I’ve not seen any evidence that Obama reflects my interests in any of those areas. He supported Cheney’s energy bill. He’s never had to balance a budget in his career. He’s voted to fund the war each and every time, in 2004 he stated that his and Bush’s stance on the war was the same, and in an interview he said that he never promised to bring the troops home. While in the Illinois State Legislature, he voted “present” on many bills pertaining to women’s rights.

McCain told an unacceptable and sexist joke. I don’t approve of that.

Obama, in an attempt to excuse his poor performance at the Philadelphia debate, brushing off his shoulders, gives his supporters a little Jay Z action: “If you feelin' like a pimp ... go and brush your shoulders off. ... Get that dirt off your shoulder. I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one”.

And please don’t talk to me about “changing the world”. I was marching in protests against the Vietnam War, working for the Democratic Party, fighting for civil rights and women’s rights, likely before you were born. I know what changing the world looks like. Barack Obama is not about the kind of change I can believe in.

Marco said...

I make an attempt to say that in the heat of the primary, both sides overinterpreted charges of racism and sexism, and I get slammed anyway. Here are the facts: Hillary Clinton is not a racist, and Barack Obama is not a sexist. But both campaigns engaged in heavy political gambits that could be -- fairly -- interpreted as both. Bill Clinton's Jesse Jackson's comment is a big one, and the first one that really struck me. And you have your examples on the Obama side. But you brought up some actual issues, so thankfully we can get to serious business, rather than playing the "he implied this, she implied that" game.

"My vote for a 3rd party candidate is a wasted vote, let’s be realistic."

I don't believe in this. If a 3rd party gets a minimum amount of votes (maybe 5%?), it gets more funding and recognition on state ballots. 3rd parties are not about to win the presidency, but they can be important in moving the national dialogue.

"You toss out at me the environment, the budget, the war, health care, women’s rights. I’ve not seen any evidence that Obama reflects my interests in any of those areas."

Then perhaps you haven't done your homework yet. Please spend some time reading the policy white papers on Obama's web site, they are fantastic and refreshing. But let's look at your complaints.

"He supported Cheney’s energy bill."

I'm with you on this one. But if you want to talk about voting records, how can you choose to support McCain, who voted 95% with Bush in the past session? Compare their voting records on some important issues, and you'll see some other major distinctions:

http://themiddleclass.org/legislator/john-mccain-468
http://themiddleclass.org/legislator/barack-obama-511

I could probably spend all day on the bad bills McCain voted for and the good ones he voted against. You have to cherry pick to do the same for Obama.

"He’s never had to balance a budget in his career."

No, but neither has McCain. By the way, the McCain's personally have over $100,000 in credit card debt, and have supported Bush's tax policies fully, and he intends to continue them: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_06/013899.php
You can see Obama's differences on that same graph. His campaign was run with financial efficiency as well. And Obama has always voted against Bush's tax structure. Obama might lose on this when compared to Bill Clinton, but not when compared to John McCain.

"He’s voted to fund the war each and every time..."

This is true, and is also true for Hillary Clinton. But his 2003 Iraq speech wasn't just amazing for being against the war, it was amazing for predicting the bad things that would happen if we entered the war. I.e., this man is smart, and has judgment. The fact is, voting against the war's funding would have been counterproductive. So yes, Obama is no Kucinich, but neither is Clinton. And at least Obama wants to bring the troops home -- McCain wants to establish 50 permanent bases in Iraq and continue our occupation. Again, Obama isn't ideal, but he's better than John "bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" McCain.

"While in the Illinois State Legislature, he voted “present” on many bills pertaining to women’s rights."

I've already debunked this on this blog. I reprint it here:

The "present" stuff is a red herring. A quote from Planned Parenthood Chicago:

"When Obama was an Illinois state senator he worked with Planned Parenthood to develop a strategy combating a series of extreme anti-choice measures designed to paint pro-choice legislators into a corner. Obama and numerous other state senators voted “present” on these bills in order to protest the politicization of the health and safety of Illinois women. Illinois is one of the few states that allows legislators to voice their objections to legislation through a “present” vote. These “present” votes are counted in the official roll call of the bill, and they DO affect the outcome. For all intents and purposes, they are a vote against the bill. As a matter of fact, Senator Obama wanted to vote “no” on these bills. But, he stood with his colleagues in protest against the anti-choice extremists who controlled the Illinois Senate at the time." [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-trombley/setting-the-record-straig_b_85187.html]

In your next comment, go ahead and refute my points above. But then I'd like you to do this: tell me why -- specifically -- McCain will be a better leader for America than Obama. In other words, I'd like to see you defend your chosen candidate.

Marco said...

I wanted to comment on this too:

"I was marching in protests against the Vietnam War, working for the Democratic Party, fighting for civil rights and women’s rights, likely before you were born. I know what changing the world looks like."

And I marched with thousands of people in 2003 against the Iraq war, only to be crestfallen when people like Edwards and Clinton decided to give George W. Bush the benefit of the doubt. Obama, unfortunately, was not put to the test on a vote, but he was out there protesting, too. It always seemed to me that the thousands of people I marched with understood the president's character better than our Democratic representatives.

I was also in Cambridge, MA on the day that the first legal gay marriage in the history of the United States took place, and fought hard in support of it. I may be younger than you, but I know what change looks like. And it doesn't resemble John McCain in the slightest.

By the way, have you read this article about McCain's first wife yet? It's a fun one:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1024927/The-wife-John-McCain-callously-left-behind.html

mystic4hillpuma said...

Marco,

Neither John McCain nor Barack Obama are my chosen candidates. My chosen candidate is Hillary Clinton. There is little about either McCain or Obama that I can defend or support. This is why I’ve stated that my vote will be for the lesser of two evils.

I have no illusions about who John McCain is or what he stands for. I have no illusions about what he may or may not do as President. He’s been around a long time, and there’s little about him we don’t all know. I know very little about Barack Obama. He’s not been in the public awareness for very long, and the reports of his past seem to shift and change with each new day. Between McCain and Obama, I am reminded continually of that saying, ”Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”

I commend your loyalty and passion to your candidate, Marco. I commend your willingness to engage with those who disagree with you. I commend your desire to see positive change in this country. Perhaps it is my age, or my life experiences, or both, that instills in me a need to go much deeper than just the words I’ve heard your candidate speak.

There is an old Assyrian proverb, “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.” Since there is so little that is known of Obama, I have to look at some of his associations to get a better idea of who he is. I urge you to look at his friends and mentors: William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn; Rashid Khalidi; Reverends Jeremiah Wright, Otis Moss and James Meeks; Minister Louis Farrakhan; Father Michael Pfleger; Antoin “Tony” Rezko, to name just a few.

I’ve been told repeatedly that Obama is about “change”. I’ve yet to hear what form that change will take. I do know that Obama has engaged in old-style politics that have no semblance to positive change. Do a little research: Alice Palmer, Gha-is Askia, Todd Stroger, Richard Daley, Michigan, Florida.

Dig deeper into your candidate, Marco. You’re living in a world of illusion.

Marco said...

"I know very little about Barack Obama. He’s not been in the public awareness for very long, and the reports of his past seem to shift and change with each new day."

Can you cite specifics here -- what about his past is shifting?

"I know very little about Barack Obama."

I have a recommendation, and it may seem initially off-putting, but this is a national election we are talking about: read Obama's books. Take them with a grain of salt, read them critically, check sources, etc., but give him a chance and read about his past from the horse's mouth.

"I urge you to look at his friends and mentors: William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn; Rashid Khalidi; Reverends Jeremiah Wright, Otis Moss and James Meeks; Minister Louis Farrakhan; Father Michael Pfleger; Antoin “Tony” Rezko, to name just a few."

C'mon. Some of these are fair, and I don't know them all, but let's choose two: Ayers and Pfleger. Why is Ayers his friend and/or mentor? The guy is a neighbor and held a fundraiser once for Obama, 10 years ago. Yet you cherry pick him as a friend/mentor. Pfleger was a freaking guest priest at his church -- how is that in any way a friend and mentor? And Farrakhan? C'mon, he is not a friend nor a mentor of Obama. Do you really want to play these mudslinging games? I am tempted to start naming the sketchy friends of the Clintons', but I am not interested in this game. Nothing in Obama's words and actions indicate that he's under the political influence of the names you mention above. And once again, I counter that McCain's friends and mentors are even more troubling, many of them being the people that put our country in its current predicament in the last 7 years -- and he has 100% shown that he's under their political influence.

"I’ve been told repeatedly that Obama is about “change”. I’ve yet to hear what form that change will take."

Read his books. Give him a chance.

carissa said...

You two done yet? Last one out, turn out the lights.

Marco said...

Sorry, Carissa. It's just so hard to see someone who was a Democrat for 35 years want to vote against what I consider an amazing candidate, based on the very same kind of character assassination that gave us a second Bush term.

mystic4hillpuma said...

Lights out! This old girl is too tired to play any more. Thanks for your indulgence!