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.