Thursday, August 28, 2008

my least favorite wildcat.

That woman, Cristi Atkins, doesn't sound like an educated liberal to me. She sounds like a racist Republican who only supported Hillary 'cause she liked the idea of a woman president.

As the election looms overhead, I'm getting pretty fucking irritable when it comes to these PUMAs (which stands for Party Unity My Ass -- I'll say!). This "voting bloc" are women who were supporting Hillary as the Democratic candidate and, when she gracefully ducked out of the race, said that they would not go on to support Obama. Instead, they are sitting this election out or voting for McCain out of anger towards the Democratic party for not standing up against media sexism lobbed at Hillary.

First, I'll play devil's advocate with myself and admit that the way Hillary was treated was abysmal. (Watch this video if you need reminding. Or a good cry.) The media, the voters; the way our society dealt with the first viable female presidential candidate really shows how far we have to go with this whole sexism thing. My sister's Republican boyfriend said that critiques of Hillary's appearance were fair since she's a woman and "people make fun of the way George Bush talks all the time!" Yes, well, George Bush is an idiot, and idiots probably shouldn't be president. I happen to like political correctness most of the time but is anyone going to argue against the idea that a person of below average intelligence probably shouldn't be president? Or is that suddenly discrimination?

Similarly, the way the PUMAs are being treated is sexist in itself. Rather than a dissatisfied faction, they're being lobbed as "crazy old ladies". Witches, bitches, petty over-emotional wenches. A Slate article criticized the PUMA party by "making women look bad" by acting "crazy" and like other negative female stereotypes, but who's the one identifying these women's actions as such? (Hint: THE MEDIA.) If they were men, they would not be labeled as crazy or bitchy. Which kind of proves their point.

THAT BEING SAID. Any woman who wants to vote for McCain instead of Obama in an act of solidarity "with Hillary" is kidding themselves. In Hillary's brilliant DNC speech, she articulated the point that anyone who stood behind her should stand behind Obama from this point on. And it's true: their policies are almost identical. So these PUMAs, who are supposedly upset with the way Hillary was treated by the media, are now acting in exact opposition to Hillary's wishes. Not exactly standing behind her, are they?

I have an older woman friend who doesn't plan on voting this election for this very reason. She thinks Obama is too inexperienced and just doesn't like the guy. She wants to punish the party (as if we'd ever learn...did she forget that this country elected Bush TWICE?). As the election draws nearer, I'm getting neurotic and sending her every snippet of good anti-PUMA reasoning I can find.

Such as:

"Hillary was incredible last night. She was positive, passionate and persuasive in her support of Obama. There were so many wonderful, touching, and funny moments. I didn't just tear up during the tribute video, I sobbed (the part where Chealsea said that the next generation should move ahead, but not forget who's shoulders we're standing on…) I couldn't have been happier as a Clinton supporter at that moment.

And finally, I managed to make it through the post-MSNBC review without wanting to break my tv! They were glowing in their review of her speech & while that doesn't make up for how they treated her through the campaign, it was still very nice to hear.

Also, I'm tired of hearing about those bitter, hysterical women who can't get over Hillary's loss. Where are they? I'm not convinced they really even exist (other than the ones the media searches out just to make all Clinton supporters look crazy). I'm just so tired of hearing about it!

I mean, I was a fervent Hillary supporter (as many of you prob remember!), but I've donated to Obama's campaign, wearing a pin on my bag & planning to go campaign down in VA when I'm home this weekend and later in the month (will do what I can from NYC, but we're not exactly a swing state!) Every Hillary supporter I personally know feels the same way. The stakes are way too high & Hillary agrees!"

Note the bitter, hysterical part. Sexism in the trenches! But still, the point stands. Also:

"Well, obviously the best way to fight misogyny is to vote a misogynist into the presidency."


"Did they miss the whole speech last night? Did they miss the parts about unity, getting behind Obama, and what John McCain is going to do to this country? How selfish, egotistical, and self-centered do you have to be to ignore the voice of THE WOMAN YOU VOTED FOR!!!!"


"What message will the Democrats take away from [PUMAs] voting Republican? That they must continue moving further to the right!"


"Sweet Jeebus, I hate the media. Notice that every single talking head picked up Bill Krystol's (repig editor of the Weekly Standard) talking point of how Hillary didn't "really" endorse Barack because she didn't specifically call him 'Commander-in-chief.'

She only said that your children and grandchildren's futures depend on voting for Barack. *sarcasm*

It's a no-win situation that the Democrats are in, damned if we do damned if we don't. Attack McCain and we're vicious unpatriotic assholes, try to actually talk about policy and we're boring, try to talk the future and we're a bunch of pussies for not attacking McCain. It's endless, if Hillary had been the nominee we would be hearing about Whitewater, how the Clinton's killed Vince Foster, Bill's other women, how the Obama people are not going to vote for Clinton.

If Obama had picked Hillary right now we would have been hearing how he was soooo weak that he had to have Clinton, how the rabid right is all geared up to vote against Hillary, how Hillary is the perfect example of the status quo and Barack sold out his message of change, IT'S NO WIN.

The media stands to lose BILLIONS if Obama gets to appoint the next FCC chair. 5 companies own our entire media, do you honestly believe that they want someone regulating their little monopolies?

It's not Obama vs McCain, it's Obama vs the media."

I think my biggest problem with the PUMA group is their narcissism. From an article on

Gloria Allred, the celebrity women's rights lawyer from Los Angeles and a Clinton delegate, told the crowd at the end of the march, "We will honor the voters who elected us." She then rattled off the names of women's rights leaders emblazoned on a scarf she wore around her neck: Harriet Tubman, Golda Meir, Abigail Adams, Susan B. Anthony.

Quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, she said, "Women are like tea bags; they never know how strong they are until they're in hot water."

But later, Allred fiercely insisted that women who supported Clinton must vote for Obama in November because, at the very least, of abortion rights. Obama supports abortion rights, while McCain favors overturning Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, and working to eventually end abortions. "We have to educate these women who are disappointed Hillary didn't win," Allred said. "We have to help them to understand what's at stake. We can't have McCain appointing two Supreme Court vacancies."

Not all the women in the crowd were buying this argument. Many were older women who remember an America where abortion rights were not guaranteed - but are also at an age when those rights may not be as relevant to their lives.

"I'm not pregnant," said Jeannie Stratton, 51, from Washington who said she plans to vote for McCain to protest how the Democratic Party treated Clinton.

Oh, okay. Since YOU can't get pregnant anymore, giving this election away to make a point is clearly the better option. Fuck all those young women out there who might not be so lucky.

Also, not to sound like MEL GIBSON (in Conspiracy Theory, not in his regular anti-semitic everyday life!), but there's reason to believe that these women are just Republican plants. One of the founders of Clinton4McCain has donated to the Dole and Bush campaigns in the past. The same goes for PUMA. One of its founders is a long-term McCain supporter, having donated to his 2000 campaign, yet mysteriously never to Clinton.

Honestly, to me this is more believable than one logically making the switch from Hillary Clinton, pro-choice, pro-gender equality and pro-universal healthcare, to John McCain, anti-choice, anti-equal pay for women, pro-war, pro-big business, and pro-not-knowing-how many-houses-you-own-while-calling-the-other-guy-an-elitist.

This is the latest e-mail I sent to my friend, which basically "sums" up my thoughts (in many, many words):

Sorry, I didn't mean to bombard you with e-mails, but I've been thinking about this election a lot and I'm getting pretty fired up about it from reading all my lady blogs. I comprehend the rationale behind "sitting this election out" (though NEVER voting for McCain instead of Obama), but I still can't UNDERSTAND or get behind it because I find it to come from a very...privileged place.

This was a comment on Jezebel today which I think you can agree with (except the McCain part):

"I wanted to address the issue of voting for McCain because it doesn't make sense to many of you, and I can only speak for myself. I don't like McCain, but I will vote for him in protest of the Democratic party for not running a woman at all because it is my revolt against them. I know that McCain's policies are worse for women, but that is the sacrifice that I am willing to make. Sometimes, things have to get worse before they get better. If I can survive Bush for 8 years, I can survive McCain. I want the democratic party to realize that they are nothing without the woman's vote and not just roll over and be happy with what they give us and continue to treat women like second class citizens."

The key word in this above paragraph being "I". "I can survive this." The PUMAs are being lobbed as narcissists because the way they are looking at this election makes them sound like narcissists. "Throwing" this election doesn't mean much to them, the symbolism outweighs any effects electing McCain will have on them. Because they aren't the ones who are going to be badly affected by McCains policies. But why can't they think of others who will be?

These PUMAs are coming from a position of privilege where, despite having to deal with terrible sexism their whole lives (for that, I have the utmost regret, as well as respect for overcoming it), they won't be affected personally should Roe v. Wade be overturned, extremely conservative Supreme Court justices be elected, or whatever. They are not of childbearing age and reproductive rights aren't at the top of their agenda. They should be. Because women will always be second class citizens if they do not have full bodily autonomy. The reason reproductive rights is my "single issue" is because it is so fundamental. These PUMAs don't seem to think of who their actions will affect. Not the Democrats. Not the Republicans. What is ironic is that the ones that will suffer most are the ones they're supposedly trying to fight for: women. Those women who come from a poor background and can't afford to skirt abortion laws by traveling out of state/country, who need equal access to contraception and abortion services, and who want equal pay as well. These are the ones who are going to be hit the hardest by McCain being president, not the Democratic party.

I told my dad about the whole PUMA thing and that they were trying to make a point. He said, "But at what cost?" My dad is not the nicest man personally, but, as a fellow bleeding hearted liberal, his ideas about politics and human rights are very considerate. He doesn't have a personal stake in women's reproductive rights, or gay rights, or any of that, but his morality is such that he values personal freedom as a concept so much that he takes defending these issues to heart.

You don't have a daughter, but you can surely sympathize with young women my age. In Hillary's DNC speech, she talked about how the policies of the past have affected our mothers and daughters and that we should choose someone with our children (or future children) in mind. Protesting this election seems so short-sighted to me because it ignores the mess it will create for future generations. It's not going to help the Democratic party. It's going to divide it further and render any Democratic leadership impossible. Our country is backwards enough and splintering the party is going to make things so much worse. By ignoring the fact that their actions will hurt others in need, these PUMAs, though they say they have a greater purpose, are acting rather selfish. In fact, they're acting like Republicans.


{any unattributed quotes are from Jezebel}


Anonymous said...

Rock on woman!!

Pasifik said...

great job allison!