I’m Going to Vote for Ford, but I’m Not Thrilled

I was looking forward to voting for Ford, because his family is so corrupt that it moves beyond offensive clear into awe-inspiring.

But recent events have made me less enthusiastic.

First, I hate all the “I love Jesus” shit.  Please, Harold, we live in a predominantly Christian country.  Though some Christians are just sure that their culture is under assault from all sides, I’d point out that, as of at least yesterday, you could buy Christmas decorations at Target.  Two months, one-sixth of the year, the whole culture is devoted to the birth of Jesus.  Of course you love Jesus.  That’s not a reason to vote for someone; that’s a reason to go to church with them.

Plus, I don’t give a shit if you sleep with every single women in Tennessee, but once you start yammering on about how much you love Jesus, then I do think you’re putting your own morality up for discussion.  No where in the Bible does Jesus say, “If you love me, sweet talk your way into the pants of my sheep.”  Just saying.

Second, you let stand the impression that you’re a lawyer, and yet, you continually vote for legislation that makes me think that you must have nodded and cheered when Bush announced that the Constitution is “just a goddamned piece of paper!”  If a “lawyer” cannot understand the importance of the Constitution to a country based on said Constitution, it makes me question whether he’s fit to lead.

Third, I don’t want to reward this bullshit line of thinking that the answer to all the Democrats’ woes is to move farther right.  And yet, if I vote for you and you win, I’m sure it will be seen as a victory for the “all we have to do is act like Republicans, but more clueless” school of Democratic strategy.

I am voting for you, though, and here’s why.  Because I look at the Patriot Act and its ilk, and the neverending war in Iraq, and the scary encroachments on our civil rights, and I feel like we’re at a fork in the road.  We can choose to go one way and continue the struggle to be the free and self-governing people our forefathers hoped we could be.  Or we can become a people under constant surveillance, who see nothing wrong with a country that would send 2,800 of our own people to their deaths in Iraq but can’t send troops to New Orleans to save any of the 1,500 folks who died there; that accepts that, even though none of the reasons we went to war in Iraq have proven to be true, criticism of the war is somehow tantamount to treason; and that thinks that the best way to be ‘free’ is to wall us in and suspend habeas corpus.

I suspect you’re fine with that path.  But I’m hoping beyond hope that the rest of the Democrats might at least attempt to block the way.

I have very little faith in that happening.  We would rather be safe than free–that seems obvious to me.  But I hope just the same.  It’s probably foolish to hope.  But I hope for gridlock.  I think that electing Harold Ford Jr. helps to insure that gridlock will happen. 

Thus, Ford has my vote.

I assume that he’ll be a shitty senator.  But better one shitty senator than the continued unchecked abuse of the concept of “America” by this shitty administration. 

In a Perfect World, I Would Have Original Ideas

It’s funny.  While I was walking the dog, I was thinking of a recent blow-up in the feminist blogdom, which there’s no point in rehashing here, because if you followed it, you followed it and if you didn’t, it would take me all day to explain how we got from the initial thing (“girl with tits ruins feminism by standing near Clinton”) to the mess where it ends up (“Men do not get to tell women about their experiences.”).  But I was thinking hard about where it ended up, with some folks calling for the people perceived to have power–men, white folks, straights, etc.– to just shut the fuck up.

Well, no, it was more than that.  Because, lord knows, there comes a point in a lot of conversations where a girl can feel like she’s got to shout “Fuck you.  I’m trying to talk.  Shut up and listen.” But this was more about how men don’t have the right to tell women what should or shouldn’t bother women, and so on.

That’s what got me thinking of Angelou’s “change vs. exchange” thing.  Do we really want things to be different or do we just want to be the ones with free reign to hurt whomever we want?

I know we talked about this before, a long time ago, about how certain types of feminism rely heavily on the notion that women are more moral than men, which, of course, is no different than how non-feminists often view women.  Viewing women as more moral than men, even if you want to use that argument to get women something more than they have*, doesn’t actually change the underlying framework that belief rests on.

Plus, the problem with continuing in our current vein is two-fold.  One, what more can we do until men pull their heads out of their asses?  Do you really think there is a man in this country who hasn’t heard that beating up their loved ones is wrong?  That raping women is wrong?  That paying your male workers more than your female workers is bullshit?  Our message has saturated the culture.  If the next hurdle of change is going to come, it’s going to come because men finally say, “God, we’re fucked up and when I see fucked-up-ness that hurts others, I need to call dudes on that bullshit.”

And they are.

But what are we going to do?  Each adopt a man and follow him around making sure he behaves in a way properly feminist?  Analyze his every move making sure it’s properly women-friendly and correcting him when he doesn’t?

Because, again, that approach seems to rely heavily on a framework already in place–the one where we find a guy who’s almost right and mommy him into proper behavior.

I think some of us would like that.  It’s comforting to think that there’s nothing wrong with me; that it’s all those fucked up folks out there.  Because, often times, it is fucked up stuff out there we can’t do anything about.

But we’re not more moral than the rest of the world.  We’re just people like people are.

As Belledame222 puts it:

And what’s there, what the authors of this play have seen and put before us: that “we,” we women, are, at the end of the day, only human, no more, no less. That while there is indeed a system of institutionalized sexism that affects us in particular ways, it does not say anything about our inherent nature, or even what we’re each of us individually capable of right now.

We could be murderers.

We could be rapists.

We could be child molesters.

We could start wars.

We could be torturers, and thoroughly enjoy ourselves doing it.

We could commit matricide, parricide, infanticide.

Same as anybody else.

And sometimes–not nearly as often as men, statistically, perhaps, but sometimes–we do, we do do those things.

All of that and more.

Exactly.  Exactly.  We are not more moral just because we’ve been shit on.  We’re just some people who’ve been shit on.

We can’t run around policing the people who do us wrong**, both because it’s not practical and because we’re not the mommies.  We’ve got to let go of that framework and find some other way of relating to each other.

And again, this is why I come back to finding some internal measure of what works.  I suggest pleasure, because people can learn to experience pleasure in themselves and their ordinary lives.  It doesn’t require buying things or hacking things up or pleasing others.  It requires only coming to believe that I, just as I am, am enough.

I don’t know what would come of every person in America believing that–that they are enough; that they deserve happiness and pleasurable experiences.  I’m not a prophet and I still sit around on the big green couch feeling like shit about myself because I’m so fat and ugly no one will ever love me.  But I hate feeling that way and I hate feeling like I have to change in order to be worthy of happiness.

I have to believe that a worldview that promotes the worth of each person as she is right now is a worthwhile revolutionary endeavor.  Not because I’m pretty, not because I’m more moral, not because I don’t do the terrible things men do, but just because I am. 

That delights me.  That feels good, really good.  And it feels like a strong foundation to build something on.

I don’t know what that something will be, and, really, I don’t give a shit.  I don’t want to dictate the specific shape of the future, I just want to make sure there’s room for me in it.




*It used to be that the most moral and pure women–white, middle and upper class Christian women–were kept at home in order to protect them from the taint of the world.  Now, it’s often argued that because we’re so much more moral and pure than men, we should of course, be running things in order to fix them.

**Which I hope y’all see is a different claim than running around demanding that the people who’ve done us wrong give us justice.  Of course, I’m all about that.***

***But, you know, I wonder if the whole policing business isn’t a way to keep women from demanding real justice.  I’m going to have to think on this some, but policing seems like busywork, a way to make a woman feel like she’s doing something and yet, it keeps her from being effective.  I don’t even know if I’m articulating this well, but something’s there…

It Might Be Time to Shut the Upstairs Windows

This morning I almost wet the bed.  It was not my fault; it’s just that the Butcher and I both still have our bedroom windows cracked a tiny bit which meant that it was an icebox upstairs, which meant that the dog was pressed up against me on one side and the cats were pressed up against me on the other.  And even though I tried, in my best scratchy morning voice, to demand they move, they weren’t having it.

Also, it may be time to start wearing pants when I walk the dog.

Yep, I guess autumn’s finally here.