Worse than Straight-Up Racism

Bint Alshamsa has a post up about the whole white feminists voting for McCain thing.  In it she says:

To me, it means that what they are really interested in, what’s most important to them, is having someone WHITE as President. Oh sure, they’d prefer to have a white woman than to have a white man but they are completely willing to toss aside all of those issues like reproductive justice and LGBT rights if that’s what they need to do to make sure that a white person is representing them.

And I’ve been giving this some thought.  Because to me, it seems like there’s something worse than straight-up racism going on here.  It’s not that they want to make sure a white person is representing them.  That would suck, but it would be what it was–straight-up racism, the kind that’s easy enough to point to and say “Yep, that’s some racist shit right there.”

But from my perspective, sitting here in the white people’s camp, it seems like something more evil and more rotting to our shared goals (‘our’ being the pool of potential Democratic voters or people who advocate for human rights for everyone or whatever.  I want, just for a second, to draw a circle that includes me and Bint Alshamsa in it.). 

I don’t think these women are straight-up racist. 

No, hear me out, just for a second.

I think these women, in general, believe in all the goals we believe in–equality for everyone, women’s reproductive rights, etc. etc. etc.  I have seen them work towards those goals.

I might disagree with them about how to achieve them or even what priority to give to their achievement, but I don’t doubt that they hold those same goals.

And that, to me, makes what they’re doing worse than straight-up racism.

Straight-up racism is “I won’t vote for Obama because he is black and I will use any excuse–my anger at Clinton’s loss, whatever–to keep from having to do that.”  But what they’re doing is more like “I am so pissed that Clinton is not the candidate that I will lash out at you in the most painful way I can think of.  I will hurt you as deep as I can.  And I will use whatever weapons I have in my arsenal to do it, even if it means I have to dust off all this old racist (and sexist) stuff, the very stuff I’ve been advocating all of us put away, to do it.”

It’s an approach that clearly benefits from and uses straight-up racism as a strategy.

But to me, it’s worse because it salts the earth between us.  It’s a reminder, no, something more than a reminder, a lesson that, if white people don’t get our own way, we will use whatever we have at our disposal to hurt you.

There simply cannot be a feminist movement, or feminist movements, or women working together towards women’s rights, there cannot be a “together” that includes white women if we’re willing to use the tactics of philosophies (like white supremacy) we don’t believe in in order to get our way. 

In order to have social justice movements that include white people, we have to be who we say we are.  And if we say that we are not racist, we cannot knowingly use racism to punish others just because we’re pissed.

When people who are very different come together to work towards common goals, the only way it works is if everyone feels assured that everyone’s heart is in the right place, that, even when there are misunderstandings, they are that, just misunderstandings. 

We are already in a place where most women feel suspicious of the amount of “misunderstandings” that seem to have white women at their center.

And now, what these white feminists who are throwing their support behind John McCain are doing is saying “Well, really, sometimes we’re not having a ‘misunderstanding.’ Sometimes we’re doing it on purpose.”

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m trying to make a distinction without a difference.  Maybe there really isn’t much of a line betweeen straight-up racism and using racism as a tactic for achieving your own ends.

But to me, here’s why I see it as being worse.  If they were just straight-up racist, then you could know.  You could make a list and it would say “Well, Patricia Buchanan and Jill O’Reilley and Tammy Carlson and so on, those women are racist. Whew, stay clear of them.”

But what they, these women who have worked side-by-side with you for decades to achieve many common goals, have done is make every single white woman suspect.  They have shown that, at any minute, women you thought you could count, maybe not among your allies, but at least not among your enemies, will not hesitate to use the most putrid bullshit they can against you*.

And how can you have women like that working with you?

This, my friends, will be the end of feminism for our generation, I believe.  Oh, sure, yes, in twenty years, the fourth-wavers will pick it up and dust it off and see something useful and beautiful that we’ve squandered and make something of it. 

I have no doubt of that.

But, to use a religious term for just a second, the frith among our communities has been broken, intentionally, it seems to me.  And we can’t go back from that.

We can only hope that there’s some way forward.

——–

*I could write a whole other post, too, about the ways in which these white feminist McCain switchers use language and tropes designed to degrade the women who disagree with them in the kinds of sexualized ways we’ve supposedly been battling for generations–how quick they are to whip out the “whore” shit when it suits them–but I trust you can see that for yourselves.

60 thoughts on “Worse than Straight-Up Racism

  1. Yes. I feel that the whole thing is deliberately hurtful specifically to those with less power/resources, the non-white, the non-middle class, the still-fertile – it’s saying, “Look, I’m almost aged out of the whole abortion and getting a job thing, so screw you and the rest of your issues. They don’t affect *me.*” And that is precisely one reason why many people are distrustful of traditional white feminism, and have been for years – this must seem like a demonstration of truthagainst all those insistences that “we’re all women.”

    I have to disagree about “the end of feminism for our generation” – if only because I’m hopeful and because most of those who are packing up their toys to go home are not, I believe, part of my generation in the first place.

  2. I don’t think Bint Alshamsa has it right that these women are racist, but I think it would be the conclusion that one could draw if they used the same logic I’ve been hearing be thrown around by these women since Obama cinched the nomination.

    All I’ve heard is how Democrats apparently don’t give a shit about women since they didn’t nominate Clinton (here I thought we were supposed to be voting on issues, not genitals, who knew?). Following that logic, anybody who didn’t vote for Obama doesn’t give a shit about black people. Now i don’t buy that for a second, but these women need to understand that if they hold themselves to the same standard on Obama that they are holding others to on Clinton, they are in effect declaring themselves to be racists.

    If the know that they themselves are not racist, perhaps it ought to be a clue to them about the motives of Obama supporters as well.

  3. I would remind you that it is both sides who can use this weapon of busting out slurs.

    Google Rhandi Rhodes + big fucking whore

    And as you watch that clip, notice the cheers.

    Stuff like that may have helped galvanized the Clinton supporters in the first place to contemplate swtiching over to the dark side. (BTW: it’s nice over here.)

  4. After your post the other day, I started thinking about the racial implications on both sides of this — how would it be perceived if it were the other way around and black people deserted the party because their candidate didn’t get the nomination?

    Regarding Oprah supporting a presidential candidate, I’ve seen it bandied about that the only reason she threw her hat in the ring this time was perhaps because he’s an African American – otherwise, I’ve not seen that put out there. Would the black community be up in arms if Oprah wrote on her own blog that she was now supporting McCain because Obama was out?

    I get it, that most people align themselves with people who hold their interests and have walked in their shoes, but I don’t get the whole taking a football and going home by members of a group who have made it their life’s work for a certain cause. That cheapens their resolve for me. What would the conversation be like if all the “first wavers” of the civil rights movement abandoned their cause just because Obama wasn’t the candidate? How would the generations that have benefitted from their marchings, having dogs called out on them, and jail time by the people on the front lines (1950s-60s) perceive the abandonment by those who came before?

    This might be off on a tangent, but I’ve been knocking that around in my brain for a few days, and just had to throw that out there…

  5. The whole situation just smacks of your typical rebellious toddler behavior. Doing the opposite of what mom and dad want because she didn’t get her way.

  6. Let America be America Again

    Let America be America again.
    Let it be the dream it used to be.
    Let it be the pioneer on the plain
    Seeking a home where he himself is free.

    (America never was America to me.)

    Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–
    Let it be that great strong land of love
    Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
    That any man be crushed by one above.

    (It never was America to me.)

    O, let my land be a land where Liberty
    Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
    But opportunity is real, and life is free,
    Equality is in the air we breathe.

    (There’s never been equality for me,
    Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

    Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
    And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

    I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
    I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
    I am the red man driven from the land,
    I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
    And finding only the same old stupid plan
    Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

    I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
    Tangled in that ancient endless chain
    Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
    Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
    Of work the men! Of take the pay!
    Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

    I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
    I am the worker sold to the machine.
    I am the Negro, servant to you all.
    I am the people, humble, hungry, mean–
    Hungry yet today despite the dream.
    Beaten yet today–O, Pioneers!
    I am the man who never got ahead,
    The poorest worker bartered through the years.

    Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
    In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
    Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
    That even yet its mighty daring sings
    In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
    That’s made America the land it has become.
    O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
    In search of what I meant to be my home–
    For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
    And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
    And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
    To build a “homeland of the free.”

    The free?

    Who said the free? Not me?
    Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
    The millions shot down when we strike?
    The millions who have nothing for our pay?
    For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
    And all the songs we’ve sung
    And all the hopes we’ve held
    And all the flags we’ve hung,
    The millions who have nothing for our pay–
    Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

    O, let America be America again–
    The land that never has been yet–
    And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
    The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
    Who made America,
    Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
    Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
    Must bring back our mighty dream again.

    Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
    The steel of freedom does not stain.
    From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
    We must take back our land again,
    America!

    O, yes,
    I say it plain,
    America never was America to me,
    And yet I swear this oath–
    America will be!

    Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
    The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
    We, the people, must redeem
    The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
    The mountains and the endless plain–
    All, all the stretch of these great green states–
    And make America again!

    Langston Hughes

  7. But what they, these women who have worked side-by-side with you for decades to achieve many common goals, have done is make every single white woman suspect. They have shown that, at any minute, women you thought you could count, maybe not among your allies, but at least not among your enemies, will not hesitate to use the most putrid bullshit they can against you*.

    Yes, ma’am. Precisely. And that is what has broken my heart. For the women who struggled to bring our country to the point where a female is a viable presidential candidate to subsequently turn on their sisters with the words they did is utterly stunning — and utterly unforgivable. This is not what our great-grandmothers, grandmothers, great aunts and mothers marched for, worked for, fought for, voted for. To tell women with whom you disagree politically to “wipe off your mouths and pull up your panties” is sexism in its most brutal form, and the fact that it’s coming from women who undoubtedly were told that by men when they stood up and expressed opinions that differentiated them from doormats is no less than complete betrayal.

    If you’re mad at the outcome of the primaries, fine. Express yourself. Go to the Obama campaign en masse and say, “You will not get our votes until you adopt the following platform planks that Sen. Clinton proposed. Period.” The bloc is clearly of such magnitude that the impact would be swift and effective — and used in a positive way.

    But to so horribly curse and demean the sisters who simply disagree with you politically is, as you noted, “the end of feminism for our generation, I believe.” Feminists can no longer be taken seriously, thanks to this behavior, and the ones who showed such behavior have indeed created a breach that cannot be healed.

  8. Pingback: People Who Use Race As A Weapon Are Not Racist? : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  9. I hope it’s clear that I’m not hoping for an end to feminism. I’m just upset because this is a severe blow and it’s coming from within.

    And yes, Grandfille, exactly. Exactly.

  10. Yeesh. It might be even worse than I thought. Maybe the problem isn’t that too many Democratic politicians are too much like Republican politicians. Maybe the problem is that too many of the voters are too much alike.

  11. I hope it’s clear that I’m not hoping for an end to feminism. I’m just upset because this is a severe blow and it’s coming from within.

    See that’s the way I feel, only from the other side. (See Lee’s comments above)

    I feel that this racism charge is just another slur (as is the charge that it’s only older white women who feel this way because they don’t need to worry about reproductive rights anymore) That’s not me and that’s not it at all. Back in January I would have been happy to vote for Obama or indeed any of the realistic contenders but he and his camp have actually thrown my vote away. I see the way that Hillary Clinton has been treated as the way I could be treated if I get too ambitious or uppity (and I’m not a quarter as talented or energetic as she).

    I’m not daft enough to go and vote for McCain and my vote could be won back. But Obama just let the shit slide down on Hillary Clinton and by inference all women and took advantage of the situation – and aided and abetted it to my eyes.

    Well, I’d be a fool to reward that kind of behavior without some contrition and a change I can actually believe in.

  12. But Vol Abroad, then I’m not talking about you. What in the world would be wrong with deciding that Obama isn’t the best candidate to represent your interests and voting for someone who does? There aren’t just two choices and one could vote Green or Libertarian or whatever. It’s the explicit rejection of Obama for McCain by white feminists when there’s nothing in McCain’s record that would objectively make him in the least bit attractive to white progressive feminists that’s my concern.

    The other thing is, and maybe this just makes me an ass, but I don’t know what Obama is supposed to do about the magnitude of sexism shown by folks on the left who supported him. I mean, it was and is a cess pool of nasty crap some places, as if the mere presence of Clinton on the ticket gave seemingly normal folks the excuse to let their worst impulses run loose.

    But I don’t blame Clinton at all for the yucky racist stuff that’s come out of some of her supporters’ mouths and I don’t hold Obama responsible for the yucky sexist stuff going on among his supporters. I mean, the whole country is racist and sexist. Of course that crap’s going to be present. We’re just supposed to try to be better than that, I think.

  13. No – it is about me. Because I’m choosing not to vote for Obama – and I understand that this will give support for McCain – a candidate who I suspect is deranged and does NOT support my interests. I do this because I feel that Obama’s behavior from flipping off Hillary to the “periodically she feels down” and encouraging a climate and culture of sexism. He was saying “Hey guys, it’s ok to pick on women in order to win.”

    Yes, I felt it was very sad and wrong when some Clinton supporters seemed to be making their choice against Obama based on race. And obviously I felt it was wrong when some Obama supporters seemed to be making their choice based on race and gender, too.

    At the beginning of the race, it’s like you said – I simply preferred Hillary Clinton (mostly because she’s the most wonkish of the candidates and I like wonks) And while I didn’t agree, I certainly didn’t think it was wrong for other folks to prefer Edwards or Obama or any of the other candidates (I myself had been an Edwards supporter last time around).

    But to cast aspersions of racism on all (most?) die-hard Clinton supporters is still playing the nasty game instead of really listening to our concerns and moving toward unity. And the concern is this – is it OK for women to be treated like crap, the iron-my-shirt, the misogyny and the hostility toward Clinton as a standard bearer for ambitious, capable women. Not only that, but the assumption and arrogance throughout the race that women and other Hillary supporters could be whipped back into line to vote for the Democratic candidate.

    I understand that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are meeting soon to talk about unity. I know what she’ll say…she supports the party – she’s actually a team player. I await to see what HE says – I wait to see if he’s listening and responding. My vote, and the votes of millions like me still has to be won. Insulting us by saying we’re refusing to vote for the non-white candidate isn’t wooing us over.

  14. “I do this because I feel that Obama’s behavior from flipping off Hillary to the ‘periodically she feels down”'”

    Huh. What. The Shakespeare’s Sister stuff has got you lot flustered. There’s no greater sign of the blind loyalty to a facist cause than to automatically believe the worst of the “other” when logic and reason would say otherwise.

    If the Democrats for McCain crap continues after Sen. Clinton endorses Sen. Obama officially, we will really know what the mindset of these types are. The person for whom they claim they will sit on a live grenade is calling for unity, for fucks sake. Chill out, for the sake of Roe and to stand against the proposed “alliance” that would set up 50 permanent military bases in Iraq, for universal health care and to stand against Every Child Whose Parent Cannot Afford a Hoity-toity Private School Will Be Left Behind. YET, you lot are waiting for Obama to genuflect. What is it you expect him to say, “Iz sho am sorry I won, here, here’s de nomination you wanted for your birthday?” geddafuggouddaheah.

    Also, “whipped back into line” is an interesting choice of words.

  15. One thing that troubles me about the whole “Obama didn’t end sexism during his campaign” comments is that I didn’t see Clinton falling over herself to defend Obama wrt his race, his patriotism, his religion and church. I’m curious as to why it falls only to the man in this race to do the defending. Likewise, I don’t personally buy the interpretation of “periodically,” but if Clinton were the nominee, I’d vote for her instead of focusing on that “as far as I know” comment about Obama’s religion.

  16. Except that he didn’t flip her off.

    http://culturekitchen.com/liza/blog/fear_of_a_black_planet_the_i_hate_that_negro_becau

    It’s clear, even from the angle that everyone shows, that there are two fingers, and from the other angle, it’s obvious there are two fingers AND he scratches his face like that all the time.

    I mean, dear god, how can we get anywhere if everything either one of them does is taken as evidence that one is a petulant child and the other is a castrating bitch?

    I mean, what’s he supposed to say in response to that that doesn’t sound patronizing? “I’m sorry you couldn’t see my second finger?” “I’m sorry I had an itch.”

    I mean, I hate those non-apology apologies where a person is all like “I’m sorry if you got upset,” but I don’t see any other kind of apology he could offer. He literally is not doing the thing he’s accused of doing. I mean, the man has long fingers. Should he cut off the middle ones to avoid confusion in the future?

    See, this is what I’m talking about. When neither side can believe that the other is operating with at least a smidge of good will, there is no way forward.

    And, it seems to me that, right now, many Clinton supporters don’t believe that Obama is operating with good will towards them. What’s he going to say to overcome that?

    I mean, y’all believe it’s serious enough that you would throw your vote in with McCain. That, to me, says that it’s so serious for you that there probably isn’t going to be a satisfactory solution.

  17. encouraging a climate and culture of sexism.

    This is worrisome to me. See I’ve always felt I was on the same side as feminists. I fully support full equality for women in every way shape or form, but now I’m hearing from Clinton supporters that the very fact I have a penis means, I’m “encouraging a climate and culture of sexism.” That’s not fair.

    But to cast aspersions of racism on all (most?) die-hard Clinton supporters is still playing the nasty game instead of really listening to our concerns and moving toward unity

    One might as easily say “But to cast asperations of sexism on all (most?) die-hard Obama supporters is still playing the nasty game instead of listening to our concerns and moving toward unity.” That’s the thing, I don’t understand how one can claim that anybody who prefers Obama to Clinton is automatically sexist (even women, and even feminists!), but get offended if an identical standard is applied to them. How is that not hypocrisy?

    What I’m STILL trying to figure out is why Obama is the equivalent of Satan himself to Clinton supporter. Vol Abroad has given the most detailed reasons and they amount to nothing more that “He had an itch on his face” and “He said some innocuous comment that unintentionally pushed some buttons, and I suspect he apologized for it if it was made known to him.” To me, I just can’t get upset about either of those things.

  18. I blogged about this issue this week. I think that WOC expect betrayal from white feminists. I think that this only comes as a surprise to the very few white feminists that are actually anti-racist in their approach. The history of betrayal by the feminist moves stretches to its very beginning so for people of color it comes down to business as usual.

  19. Renee, I agree. When I see statements like, “you can’t trust white feminists” from a woman of color, I don’t think, “but not all of us are bad!” — I hear a statement of all-too-repeated history. Expecting such trust to be actively earned rather than given as a default seems the only reasonable approach to me.

  20. I’m continually blown away by the anti-feminist rhetoric I’m seeing all over the place being used to argue why people should vote for Obama no matter what.

    The overwhelming majority of it is identical to the rhetoric used to coerce battered women to remain with their batterers. I don’t think you can get any more anti-feminist than that.

    “Quitting because you didn’t get your way is childish — stay and work on our shared goals,” is a perfect example. The Holy Union of the Party/Marriage is placed above the actual goals it is supposed to represent but too often doesn’t.

    Feminists everywhere, women and men, are quietly noticing the same thing — the language of argument for Obama no matter what is more and more the language of argument for submission to domestic abuse, and they’re not about to forget it.

  21. In case there’s any rhetorical confusion, in the previous comment “feminists everywhere” means “there exist feminists everywhere who”, not “all feminists everywhere”.

  22. “Quitting because you didn’t get your way is childish — stay and work on our shared goals,” is a perfect example. The Holy Union of the Party/Marriage is placed above the actual goals it is supposed to represent but too often doesn’t.

    You can’t see the difference between quitting because you didn’t get your way and quitting because you’re being harmed?!?!?! I think you’re being incredibly disrespectful to battered women here by equating their outright abuse with simply not getting their every desire.

    Yes, Clinton lost, but nobody has been able to tell me why Obama is so dangerous, other than the fact he has a penis, despite my constant asking. If Obama doesn’t support your actual goals, it’s one thing, but as far as I can tell (and as far as anyone will tell me) that’s not what’s going on here. NOBODY thus far has said why Obama’s policies would be such a disaster for feminism.

  23. I’m afraid I’m with Dolphin. Equating what’s gone on in this election with abused women does seem to make light of what abused women go through. And, like I said, if you don’t want to vote for Obama, well, that’s your business. But for feminists to vote for McCain?

    Let’s just grant the whole “language of abuse” paradigm just for a second. It seems to me then what these McCain supporting feminists are doing is saying “Well, I’m trading in my kind of lousy spouse for a dude I know will punch me.” It is literally out of the frying pan into the fire.

    I think that’s why the rest of us are standing here utterly baffled. It’s one thing to give up a dude because being with him is no good for you. It’s quite another thing to give up a dude who’s no good for you in order to run off with a dude who is exponentially worse.

    BUT, to come back around to this whole domestic violence metaphor. I don’t like it. Yes, it is true that no one should stay with a spouse who treats them like shit for any reason. But we’re not marrying Obama (or McCain). And, to me, arguing from a domestic metaphor is troubling, from a feminist perspective.

    My sphere is not only the domestic. That’s no longer the only way in which I encounter men. And I don’t have to interpret my every interaction with men through the lens of domesticity, because that’s no longer my sphere.

    So, yes, if our only sphere is the domestic, and yes, if our encounters with men happen mostly in the domestic, then, yes, framing Obama as a husband, who may or may not be abusive and judging him on whether he would make a good political spouse for America makes sense.

    And, considering him in that way, it may seem as if our only choice is to reject him for being too similar to an abusive husband (with the caveat that McCain would be worse by far).

    But why would we ever, ever accept that the proper framework for women to view the world in is the domestic?

    I deal with asshole men all the fucking time. I have to. I can’t refuse to deal with them. I have to find a way to make it work. Why?

    Because it’s a requirement of my job.

    There are even assholes I like to work with because they get the shit I need done done.

    Would I marry them? No. Would I tolerate a lover that treated me like that? No.

    But I don’t know them in my domestic life. I know them in my professional life.

    And I am deeply suspicious of being asked to view any man who doesn’t share a house with me as if he is using the tropes of a domestic abuser.

    My realm is not relegated to the domestic. And I kind of bristle at the idea that that’s how I should be judging my political candidates, as if my view should be limited to what kind of husband he would be.

    That’s not the only role men in my life can play.

  24. And, I would point out that it is exactly the feminists who are now for McCain who made it possible for women like me to view ourselves as something other than solely domestic animals.

    Which also makes this whole thing baffling. We are only doing what you made possible. How is that not a cause for joy?

  25. I didn’t equate what’s going on here with abused women, but I apologize to anyone who got their hair stood on end by thinking so.

    I did say the rhetoric being used to insist people stay in relationships they don’t want is the same, and since it is, I won’t apologize for that.

    Let’s just grant the whole “language of abuse” paradigm just for a second. It seems to me then what these McCain supporting feminists are doing is saying “Well, I’m trading in my kind of lousy spouse for a dude I know will punch me.” It is literally out of the frying pan into the fire.

    No, it’s saying, “I don’t buy the argument that I have to take what one guy dishes out because ‘others are worse’. I can choose not to play the marriage/demparty game at all.” This is the same thing I said on another thread — people hit their limit on what they can stand in major party politics and opt out all the time. The only thing different here is that there’s a bunch of them at once. The fact that what “opting out” looks like for different people is all over the place is nothing new. When you choose not to play what what all of society is trying to insist is the only game in town, it’s hard to get started in any kind of ideal manner.

  26. “But why would we ever, ever accept that the proper framework for women to view the world in is the domestic?”

    Good question — why would anyone propose that? It makes no sense to me either.

  27. “It’s quite another thing to give up a dude who’s no good for you in order to run off with a dude who is exponentially worse.”

    Why is it ok for you to decide what’s good for these other people?

    That’s at the core of what I don’t get in all these arguments. I see people doing their level best to pick the least ugly of a set of ugly options, and others coming down on them for it. I don’t get it.

  28. Because, helen, Like Dolphin, I’m trying desperately to see what makes Obama such an ugly option. It was the Democratic Party that brought Paid Family Leave, and a whole host of other family friendly legislation. To hurt the Party without laying out precisely the reasons, looks like a tantrum.

  29. Mack, I’m not understanding what you’re asking — you don’t understand someone else’s choices, so that means you get to make them for them?

    I also don’t understand the mystery about objections to Obama — there’s a lot of stuff out there written on the topic. I get that you don’t agree with them, but it’s not like the information isn’t out there if you want it.

  30. Well, both Dolphin and i are at least engaged in this election, and fairly competant readers, and I am telling you that neither of us can find a credible argument. Sure, I’ve read the”Manchurian candidate” argument…stupid and baseless. I’ve read the “too inexperienced” argument…I don’t agree, but that hardly seems reason enough to be revolted. I’ve read the “Rev Wright” argument, which seems to be grasping at straws.

    I’m tellin you, even The Church Secretary, someone I admire greatly, hasn’t really explained his revulsion of Obama the man, or the candidate, beyond calling him a Corporate approved candidate. Hell, they are ALL corporate approved.

  31. I’m with Mack and Dolphin. I’ve read a lot from Clinton supporters who hate Obama or accuse him of being sexist, but none of them give any specifics about why (other than the “sweetie” thing). Aside from Clinton mandating healthcare and Obama saying “it’s available to whoever wants it,” I don’t see any significant difference between Clinton and Obama’s views on matters that a president can actually influence (defense, taxes, etc.). I could be missing something. I’ve also read some concern about the type of judges Obama might appoint. But I see no evidence that an Obama-appointed judge would be substantially ideologically different than a Clinton-appointed judge.

    I’m not speaking in favor of either candidate; people can vote for whomever they think will best address their concerns, even if I don’t understand their reasoning. But I’m baffled that so many Clinton supporters don’t see Obama as a viable option. And I have yet to read anything that explains this phenomenon in a way that makes sense to me.

  32. I also don’t understand the mystery about objections to Obama — there’s a lot of stuff out there written on the topic. I get that you don’t agree with them, but it’s not like the information isn’t out there if you want it.

    I don’t get the sense that people here and elsewhere are overlooking reasons to object to Obama’s nomination. I don’t know of anyone, here or elsewhere, who says that Obama’s campaign was absolutely pure and clean or that his supporters are perfect feminist, antiracist angels. It’s pretty clear that the conversation in this thread is about why white feminists are objecting to Obama’s nomination and then threatening to actively support McCain instead, even when it’s clear that McCain would not serve in the interests of women or minorities or really anyone other than old white dudes like himself.

    I see people doing their level best to pick the least ugly of a set of ugly options, and others coming down on them for it. I don’t get it.

    So other people’s choices and (lack of discernible) reasons for those choices are now protected from critique? Because it might hurt those people’s fee-fees? That seems a little strange to me.

  33. LOL, no, I don’t give a rat’s ass about hurting people’s feelings re their political opinions.

    But I don’t understand how reasonable people can employ the rhetoric they do on this one, such as, “I’ve decided your choice is bad for you, so you’re wrong,” and even better, “I’ve decided your choice is bad for you, so therefore you must be of evil intent and I’ll start making stuff up about what that evil intent might be.”

    That plus trying to claim the moral high ground at the same time gets me wondering if you have a high fever or if you’re a Repub troll falsely posting under the names of reasonable people.

    In the end, I just don’t get what’s so hard to grasp — when people think there are no good choices and are at loose ends about what to do, but want to do something to try for change, their choices will be all over the place. It’s nothing new. It’s not surprising. It’s not evil, nor irrational, nor any of that. It’s just people doing the best they can in an imperfect world. If you don’t want chaos and people voting in ways you don’t get, a democracy is never going to make you happy.

  34. Ok, cool, so then you get it. Everybody votes according to their own ranking of priorities and their own analysis of the candidates/parties. If someone’s vote looks senseless on the surface, it just means you haven’t yet figured out what order they’re ranking their priorities in or how their analysis of the candidates/parties is different from yours. As you said you know.

    As I said on the other thread, attempting to reduce someone’s voting choices to “you must tell me what’s so evil about Obama (and so different from Clinton) or you must vote for Obama” doesn’t make any sense. There are more people in this race. There are a hell of a lot more issues in this race than Clinton vs. Obama.

    If what a person most cares about is the Democratic Party and what that is *supposed* to stand for but doesn’t, I could easily see how some of this last year’s shenanigans in that party would simply be too much to swallow. And I could easily see such people trying to band together to send a message to that party in the loudest way they know how, by voting for McCain — if both major party candidates are walking disasters and neither is acceptable, why not use your vote to try to at least accomplish *something* constructive by getting across to your party of choice that it really does need a major overhaul?

    As I said on the other thread, it’s not the way I’m going myself, but I don’t have such an exclusive corner on how to achieve the most good that I could tell them they’re wrong. They might actually do more good in the long run than I will with my vote.

  35. “Why is it ok for you to decide what’s good for these other people?”

    I, for one, am not trying to decide what’s good for other people. Although, on an abstract level, voting for 1 candidate over another is, in effect, doing just that.

    The problem that I see here is not that it’s simply differences of opinion about policies, etc. I can respectfully disagree about that. I can even heatedly yet respectfully disagree. But that’s not what’s at work here.

    The HRC supporters who are now supporting McCain aren’t doing it bec. they agree w/ him & his policies. They’re doing it to deliberately punish & hurt *everyone* bec. HRC didn’t get the nomination. That is just flat out wrong & really pisses me off.

    Just read the comments @ sites like TGW, No Quarter, etc. You have people saying: I’m past having children, so Roe doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. BFD if it gets overturned. Let the young, ungrateful, snot-nosed brats who voted for Obama fight to get it back. [I’m paraphrasing comments I’ve read at TGW & NQ]. Or this little gem from the other day on TGW: ” Sharon, gfy and quit boring us with your damned scare tactics. YAWN.
    A. Bridezilla Obamagroupies are on their OWN
    B. GET WITH the 21st century…all anyone has to do is take emergency birth control, so coat hangers are completely a thing of the past
    C. McCain and the dem congress aren’t gonna overturn the archaic Roe v Wade anything so give it a fucking rest
    D. SCREW ALL SHITS who reward vote stealing and hijacking elections. GFYAD.”

    I dunno. Call me crazy. But I fail to see *anything* remotely progressive or feminist in supporting a candidate (who is the antithesis of everything you supposedly stand for ) simply as a form of pay-back for your candidate of choice not getting the nomination.

  36. I guess, it’s just hard for me to fathom. Yes, I supported BHO. But if HRC had won the nomination, I would’ve voted for her w/o hesitation. And I would be saying the same thing about the BHO supporters who vowed to support McCain instead (yeah, I have no problem admitting that some of his supporters are assholes too).

    I’m also not discounting the mysogyny in the media directed against HRC. However, I forget where I read it, but as someone pointed out the media also helped to keep HRC in the race (mysogyny or no). If the situation had been reversed, if BHO had suffered 11 straight losses, if his campaign was deep in debt, if his staff was in turmoil, the media woulda written him off & his campaign woulda been finished months ago.

    I guess, my basic position is that neither of them are perfect (they’re politicians fer f***s sake), but they’re both infinitely superior to the alternative.

  37. LOL. Did you even read my last comment?

    If a particular voter says they are voting out of vengeful payback, then they are. If that specific voter hasn’t, then they probably aren’t, but out of doing the best they can in an imperfect situation, as we all are.

    I’ve already explained twice now how a previously Democratic voter could vote for McCain this time around because that’s the best thing they can think of to do for the wildly dysfunctional Democratic party. It’s not a good choice, but in a situation where there are no good choices, at least it’s trying. If you want to disingenuously go on saying that you don’t get how it can be anything but evil/nasty/vengefulness, that’s nice and all, have a good time with that. It won’t change what’s really going on.

  38. Regarding my own vote, for some months now I’ve been trying to gear myself up to hold my nose and vote for whichever of the two rotten stinkers the Democratic party chose. I didn’t like either of them, so it wasn’t easy. It was the party as a whole that was just barely good enough that I might vote for whichever one they chose.

    After the Michigan shenanigans, the party is no longer just barely good enough for me to do that. No way in hell would I vote for their candidate whoever it was. The only way that could change before the next election would be if they coughed up a candidate I actually wanted, not one I’d have to grit my teeth to vote for, but I don’t see that as remotely likely.

  39. Yes I did.

    Yes, I can understand that people think it’s the best thing to do in order to fix what they perceive as a dysfunctional party. Here’s my problem w/ that (I where I was kinda going w/ my posts . . . sorry, sometimes I have problems clearly articulating what is going on in my head). Personally, I don’t like hurting people. Anyone. Ever. Even if it’s inadvertent. To do something to deliberately hurt someone else is one of the greatest sins in my book. So, while their actions are an attempt to strike back at & hurt the Democratic party, by supporting McCain, they are actually hurting people. Real people & not simply an abstraction like the Democratic party.

    Does that make more sense?

  40. And I could easily see such people trying to band together to send a message to that party in the loudest way they know how, by voting for McCain

    i can see how that would indeed send a message to the Democratic party. the message it would send reads, “we want you to swing even further to the right, you guys aren’t enough like the Republicans for our liking!”.

    i think what’s confusing some people here is just why these particular protest voters would want to send that particular message.

  41. “LOL, I’ve already explained this to you (morons) twice.”

    You’re reaching, and it looks desperate. Trying to justify a tantrum by saying, “well, the toddler has assessed the situation and feels that the only way he can achieve his goals is to throw himself on the floor and scream bloody murder.”

  42. If someone’s vote looks senseless on the surface, it just means you haven’t yet figured out what order they’re ranking their priorities

    Agreed, so then wouldn’t therefore make sense to ask?? That’s what I’ve been doing!!

    attempting to reduce someone’s voting choices to “you must tell me what’s so evil about Obama (and so different from Clinton) or you must vote for Obama” doesn’t make any sense.

    First of all, I have neither the power nor the desire to decide how another MUST vote, however, the whole reason most of us read and write blogs is to learn about other viewpoints and share our own. Therefore, when someone I’m might well otherwise respect, says the candidate who I am planning on voting for is evil/sexist/unworthy, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to ask why, and in fact it would be irresponsible NOT to.

    I’m not out to get people to change their votes (per se), I’m out to understand why they are voting the way they are, and if they don’t have any reasons for their decisions, then that says more about them and me. And if they do but refuse to share them, then that further begs the question of why they don’t want anyone to know.

    In the end, everybody can vote however they choose, but I don’t see where honest discussion is unreasonable or in anyway subversive to democracy and in fact I doubt if democracy can survive without it.

  43. I also don’t understand the mystery about objections to Obama — there’s a lot of stuff out there written on the topic.

    And for the record, it’s been my experience (on pretty much any topic) that when somebody gives a non-answer like “isn’t it obvious” or “just ask anyone” it’s because they don’t, themselves, know the answer to the question. If this information is so incredibly widely available, then surely it wouldn’t take but a moment of your time to just list a couple of points from what you seem to think is common knowledge. And if that’s too much work, perhaps you could offer a link or two to the more eloquent examples of this broadly disseminated information.

    “It’s so obvious that I can’t tell you” doesn’t cut it.

  44. I also don’t understand the mystery about objections to Obama — there’s a lot of stuff out there written on the topic.

    I meant to add that it’s been my experience that (on any topic), when someone gives a non-answer in the vein of “Isn’t it obvious?” or “Just ask anyone.” it’s invariably because they don’t know the answer themselves. If the information is as widely disseminated as you state, then it should be beyond easy to simply cull off a few of the most pertinent points. And if that is too much work, certainly you could post a link or two to just a few of the more eloquent examples among the “lot of stuff out there.” No?

  45. “I meant to add that it’s been my experience that (on any topic), when someone gives a non-answer in the vein of “Isn’t it obvious?” or “Just ask anyone.” it’s invariably because they don’t know the answer themselves.”

    Uh, hello, I’ve been saying for some time now I’m not the person to answer what you were asking for a while there — you were wanting someone who thinks Clinton and Obama are vastly different to explain what those differences are. I’ve been telling you I don’t know because they look similar (though not identical) to me. Of course I don’t know the answer — that’s what I’ve been telling you.

  46. Mack, if you’ve got nothing but strawmen to offer, all your arguments start to sound like projection. I know you’re better than that, so I’ll buy you a virtual beer, or a real one if you want to drive 1000 miles.

  47. Of course I don’t know the answer — that’s what I’ve been telling you.

    Well I appreciate you acknowledging that you don’t know, but that’s not what you’ve been telling me. As a matter of a fact, my most recent reiteration of the question as in response to your suggestion that you “didn’t understand the mystery” of it. Clearly you do, if it’s a mystery to you as well ;-)

  48. LOL, you’re conflating my answers to different questions. If you’re doing that elsewhere, no wonder you can’t get sorted out what you want to know. Your strawmen can’t be helping you either.

    I don’t understand why it would be a mystery why a lot of people object to any of the major candidates — there’s reams of material out there on what’s wrong with each of them. “But I don’t get it and I want YOU to explain it to me,” sounds lazy or disingenuous at best, like someone wanting to know if the sun is out, but refusing to look out the window they’re right next to.

  49. Alright Helen,

    The thing is, I’m not out to get you. I’m asking honest questions. I’ve set up NO strawmen whatsoever (note that you throw out the accusation, but fail to back it up. What argument specifically was a strawman? That omission makes it impossible to clarify where you misunderstood me, if you indeed thought something I said was an inaccurate representation of what you have said here). If I’ve misread you, you’re free to clarify. I don’t think that’s the case. I think I’ve inadvertantly backed you into a corner and since you don’t know how to get out of the hole you’ve dug for yourself, you’re reacting by getting rude and disrespectful. It’s not lazy or disingenuous to ask you to explain your viewpoint, that’s actually supposed to be the way discussion works. I’ve been polite and respectful of you. If you can’t bring yourself to do the same, then I’m not interested. If rudeness is your way of discussing things, then more power to you, but I’ve long decided that was not the kind of discussion I am interested in. So thanks for the discussion as it were, but I’m going to bow out and stick to chatting with folks who can be respectful of others.

  50. Erm, I’m utterly failing to see this vast difference in politeness in you addressing me versus me addressing you.

    Regarding a couple of your questions:

    when someone gives a non-answer in the vein of “Isn’t it obvious?” or “Just ask anyone.” are strawmen — I never said those or things that meant the same thing.

    It’s not lazy or disingenuous to ask you to explain your viewpoint,

    For most of the time I’ve been responding to you, you haven’t been asking me to explain my viewpoint, you’ve been asking me to explain OTHER PEOPLE’s viewpoints. I’ve been declining in cases where I know there are mind-bending reams of material out there already from people who have the viewpoints you want explained, in which case it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for me to try to answer for them. Where there aren’t, and I have an idea about what could be an answer, I’ve been answering with what I think is likely to be going on.

    I have no idea why you’ve been so insistent for so long that I explain views I don’t hold. That one is a mystery to me.

  51. I never said those or things that meant the same thing.

    “I guess if you want to know more about what people think the differences are between Clinton and Obama, it’s probably worth taking a surf through the blogsphere — I’ve seen a lot on that topic for some time now.” -Helen, on June 5th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    “I also don’t understand the mystery about objections to Obama — there’s a lot of stuff out there written on the topic.” -Helen, on June 7th, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    “I’ve been declining in cases where I know there are mind-bending reams of material out there already from people who have the viewpoints you want explained” -Helen, on June 8th, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Someone has been posting under your name then. You may want to look into that.

    I have no idea why you’ve been so insistent for so long that I explain views I don’t hold.

    I’ve been asking you to explain the viewpoint that you have been promoting. Whether or not you hold the view is immaterial to me for the purposes of this discussion. If you are planning to promote views which you do not hold, it would be better if you researched the view before you start. Whether you hold a view or not, if you intend to argue in favor of it you should educate yourself on it well enough to at least be able to answer the most basic of questions on it.

  52. Erm, I haven’t been promoting anything, just explaining what I initially said I would explain — how I could see reasonable people who previously would have voted for Clinton might now vote for McCain. If anything, I’ve been promoting NOT voting for McCain, since I keep saying I wouldn’t choose to vote for him myself.

    None of those quotes of mine you just listed say, “Isn’t it obvious?” or “Just ask anyone,” or anything equivalent.

  53. None of those quotes of mine you just listed say, “Isn’t it obvious?” or “Just ask anyone,” or anything equivalent.

    That’s how it came off, and I can’t think of any other interpretation. If you’re claiming to have seen “a lot” of “mind-bending reams of material” but refuse to mention even one sentence of it, it sounds an awful lot like “just ask anybody.”

    Anyways, I think we’ve gone about as far as we can. It’s been illuminating (in one sense).

  54. If you’re claiming to have seen “a lot” of “mind-bending reams of material” but refuse to mention even one sentence of it, it sounds an awful lot like “just ask anybody.”

    Huh. To me it sounds like, “Why insist on a secondary source when primary sources are readily available?”

  55. Looking back over this thread, I think El Gato hit the crux of it:

    Personally, I don’t like hurting people. Anyone. Ever. Even if it’s inadvertent. To do something to deliberately hurt someone else is one of the greatest sins in my book.

    This is the overwhelming reason, in my opinion, not to vote for McCain and/or the Republican party.

    I also think it’s the overwhelming reason not to vote for Obama and/or the Democratic party.

    Both have a truly ugly history of playing along with hurting real people for their own gain.

    So people who’ve gotten to that stage in their thinking are going to be scrabbling all over the place for what to do next, and it’s going to be some pretty mad chaos while they figure it out. This is as old as democracy. I’m all for arguing the merits of the options with as much vigor as possible, but this business of assigning specious reasons to real struggle over who to vote for just because someone doesn’t agree with you (if you were for Clinton and now are for McCain you MUST be racist) is so low down and dirty that I just don’t get why even go there. Good heavens there’s more than enough truly, grimly, ugly dirt on McCain that there’s no point in making stuff up if you want to argue that McCain is a bad choice.

    In the end, most of the people I’ve seen on both sides of this argument are operating from the same core concern — real people are callously being ignored and hurt, and there has got to be some way out, somewhere, and we need to try to find it.

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