For Your Consideration

Tim Wise–“If it were gender solidarity you sought, you would by definition join with your black and brown sisters come November, and do what you know good and well they are going to do, in overwhelming numbers, which is vote for Barack Obama. But no. You are threatening to vote not like other women–you know, the ones who aren’t white like you and most of your friends–but rather, like white men! Needless to say it is high irony, bordering on the outright farcical, to believe that electorally bonding with white men, so as to elect McCain, is a rational strategy for promoting feminism and challenging patriarchy. You are not thinking and acting as women, but as white people. So here’s the first question: What the hell is that about?”

And

Kai posts a list of all the women who have ever run for President.

21 thoughts on “For Your Consideration

  1. I think you ought to give the Clinton supporters a two week grieving period before piling on.

    Losing sucks.

    Give some time for the sting to subside.

    Of course they thought a woman could be president, so they kinda have it coming.

  2. I’m a bit mystified at this entire debacle, frankly. I was under the (obviously mistaken) impression that we were attempting to elect a person based on his or her ability to serve as the leader of the Executive Branch of one of the most influential nation-states in the current geopolitical climate.

    I had no idea we were supposed to be making statements about our various splinter groups’ points of view.

    Frankly, this was the mistake the Republicans made, which has cost them many of us who now identify as Libertarian. By hinging the entire race for governmental power on the rhetoric of legalised abortion, the Republican Party became the pro-life party, to the exclusion of all other interests.

    But now as I watch from the sidelines the infighting in the Democratic Party I have the same sense of sadness. Because the talk isn’t generally about who is going to do what the Democrats aligned themselves together to do. The talk is more like a ridiculous game of Capture The Flag being played by interest groups who have formed around the most basic of human characteristics that largely cannot be helped.

    I’m not at all a Democrat. The ideals of that party are often the diametric opposite of what I believe in politically. Yet I have great respect for those who fight for their ideals with integrity. It’s part of America.

    I have no respect for this “we wanted a woman just because she’s a woman” business. It’s the equivalent of voting for a guy because he looks good on TV.

  3. Frederick Douglass ran for VP in 1872, almost making possible the FOX News version of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, almost.

  4. I’ve been thinking about this as a 2-party problem lately, especially watching the odd conversation between Helen and others on a previous thread, and given the Church Secretary’s regular comments. I don’t have things worked out enough to comment, but here goes anyhow.

    I get the sense that many of these “angry white feminists” are very frustrated with the two-party system. They are also probably not regular participants in national politics, focusing more regularly on local activism. So they don’t think that any third party is a viable one, won’t throw their hats in those rings, but expect from the Dems some sort of radicality that is just never been the case. It seems that even worse, they don’t know the history of any third party – and hence the number of women (white and non-white) who have run. It is partly that lack of historical knowledge that leads people to doubt the viability of third parties. I guess that lack of knowledge translates to lack of participation which does mean failure for those parties. So we’re stuck again with only two choices, which don’t look all that different from certain perspectives. I don’t agree that these differences don’t make a difference. However, the differences many feminists want are greater than either Reps or Dems will give us.

    Anyhow … May women seemed to expect something new from the Dems, and the nation, merely because HRC was a viable candidate, nay a frontrunner. While many of us think those expectations were not warranted, having that confirmed is difficult to deal with. They don’t have another way out when they see only two choices, and so they have limited possible protest responses.

    That’s not a defense. I think Tim Wise wrote well. But I do think that list of women candidates points feminists to a larger, and much more difficult, conversation about when to sacrifice certain commitments to support the Dems because the two-party system is the law of the land, and when to opt out for the sake of our commitments but risk electing a Republican instead. (And what we can expect from a mainstream minority candidate.) If only these so-called feminists were having THAT conversation (which is what Helen seems to want to have) instead of THIS one based on pain and anger.

  5. Who are these angry white women everyone keeps talking about? I haven’t heard one woman, in person or on the web, suggest that she’d vote McCain over Obama.
    That was a rhetorical question, mind you. I do not wish to be pointed toward these women, if they exist. They’re not allies. I’d prefer to keep hanging out with the right people, who (if they were Clinton supporters) are sad at her loss, angry about the sexism that foamed up around her campaign and wasn’t quite tamped down, and excited about the prospect of having a new president who is more likely to protect our (everyone’s, almost) rights instead of chipping away at them.

    Anyway. Look at all the parties on that list! How awesome! I wish there were so many choices today.

    I’m not sure, but I think of the women on that list, Carol Mosely Braun (2004) was the first black woman to run for president.

  6. I haven’t heard one woman, in person or on the web, suggest that she’d vote McCain over Obama.

    So I guess you missed this blog on Thursday or Friday when egalia did her bit for the Screw You, DNC game.

  7. I’m not sure of the race of every woman on the list, but Charlene Mitchell (1968) was the first African-American woman to run. Shirley Chisholm (1972) was probably the one who got the closest and about whose candidacy the most research has been made public – there are some good books and documentaries out there.

  8. Lenora Fulani, also an African-American, was the first woman & the first person of color to make it on the ballot in all 50 states, in her first run in 1988.

  9. That’s an interesting article. Not sure if I agree, 100%, but interesting. Oh, and Freakyweasel, what you you mean we actually thought I woman could be president? Of course she could have, and she would have been 100 times better than the current bozo.

    I don’t consider myself a Democrat but decided back in 2006 that I’d vote for the (D) nominee this year no matter who he/she was (I voted for Obama in my primary). I’m furious about the war, about the new unitary executive, signing statements, illegal wiretapping, and on and on. I think our 2-party system sucks, but that’s what we’ve got and we need to face reality and do what we can this year to ensure we don’t get another republican in the driver’s seat for the next 4 years.

    And oh yes, there are indeed some women who are so pissed about HRC’s loss that they’re now trying to convince people to vote for McCain. They’ve taken leave of their senses as far as I can tell and are latching onto their anger and emotion instead of thinking logically. Grieving is fine and should continue for as long as they need it. But trying to convince people to vote for the party that is about as anti-feminist as you can get makes absolutely no sense to me. The funny thing is, the feminists I’ve talked to who say they’re going to vote for McCain have a really convoluted way of looking at this situation. First, they blame the media for HRC’s loss due to all the sexist commentary. So the media is the devil and never say anything that’s right (I can’t argue too much with that)! But… the reasons they give for hating Obama with such gusto are that… the media has found suspicious links in his past and has shown clips of his crazy pastor on TV… so I guess when the media talks about HRC they’re the devil, when they talk about Obama they’re saints and everything they say is 100% accurate. It’s a truly odd phenomenon.

  10. My first election was 1972. Shirley Chisholm was amazing, in a totally good way. The stuff you can say when you know you don’t have a chance in hell of winning

    But I had no idea that Gracie Allen ever ran for president.

  11. “”If it were gender solidarity you sought, you would by definition join with your black and brown sisters come November and do what you know good and well they are going to do, in overwhelming numbers, which is vote for Barack Obama.”

    I know he means well, but peer pressure is a silly-sounding argument. I’m with the sisters who’ll be off voting for McKinney and welcoming any solidarity that arrives where we are.

    nm, I loved the Gracie Allen factoid too — did you catch the name of her party?

  12. The name of Gracie’s party was the Surprise Party (because everyone likes a good surprise party and she stood for truth in advertising.)

    Her book “How to Run for President” is available on-line.

  13. > I think our 2-party system sucks, but that’s what we’ve got…

    After having lived in Europe, I think I prefer the 2-party system. These other governments have many parties, and then they have to form “coalitions” to establish a majority. So if you’re a member of the “Feminist Party”, and I’m a member of the “Green Party”, let’s we each score 8% of the vote. Our parties will then be courted by hopeful coalition-formers. The largest parties (with probably 30+% of the vote) will go shopping among us dregs. They will say, “Hey Greens, you can dictate environmental legislation (as long as it doesn’t interfere with industry). Hey Feminists, you can have legalized abortion, and 6-days mandatory, paid, maternity leave. Hey Anti-Druggies (the Antidroga Party is one of the 30+ ‘real’ Italian parties), you can have mandatory life in prison for simple possession. Everything else will be decided by us.” And that is how the large, but less-than-majority, parties form a coalition. What you end up with what might be a government/platform that you couldn’t get 5% of the voters to actually vote for.

    With the 2-party system, each party has to establish a platform that can win the support of 51% of the voters. You aren’t going to vote Feminist Party, and then wake up four days after the election to find out that your votes helped establish a ChildLabor-Feminist-MoralMajority-Green-NRA-Nazi coalition government. The ability to say “No” to the abhorrent is more important to me, than the ability to say “Yes” to the preferable. Make the politicians do their wheeling and dealing before you go to the polls; it keeps them (slightly) in check.

  14. re: indifferent children and the 2 party system.

    Call me crazy (or pragmatic), but environmental policy, legalized abortion, and 6-days mandatory, paid, maternity leave all sound pretty good to me. A lot more than one tends to get with dems or repugs.

  15. > Call me crazy (or pragmatic), but environmental policy, legalized abortion, and 6-days mandatory, paid, maternity leave all sound pretty good to me.

    Legalized abortion is important, but the MoralMajority Party will outlaw all books but the King James Bible and the Left Behind series. And there’ll be quite an internal debate when the Greens try to tell the Nazi’s that the particulate-matter and CO2 output of their “ovens” require special scrubbers on the smokestacks.

  16. I don’t care how many parties we have; I just want real and substantive campaign finance reform. I’m tired of government of the moneyed special interests, by the moneyed special interests, for the moneyed special interests.

  17. I currently live in Europe and have for most of my life. The banning of books seems to happen very little, much less than in the US, religious fanatics are so weak they become moderate, and the social welfare state is fantastic, along with our low(er) energy dependence and awesome food. What’s not to love with multi-party systems? Seriously, come over here and try it out.

    Any argument along the lines of “but Americans aren’t ready for democracy” will be laughed at, hard. That’s what the rest of the world has been hearing about brown people, yellow people, short people, funny-speaking people and women.

  18. What’s not to love with multi-party systems

    My concern is that with the introduction of many different parties, eventually you will have an ever shrinking percentage of the population in control. Right now, its White Males. That might just be changing. But with so many splinter groups, the one that is funded the best will likely win.

    If you think about it, the Democratic Party is a sort of multi-party Party.

  19. > If you think about it, the Democratic Party is a sort of multi-party Party.

    Aside from a few Dixiecrats who didn’t get the memo to defect, I would say that the Dems are more cohesive than the GOPs. The differences between Dems are mostly matters of priority. Those most concerned about racial issues still believe in gender equality, labor rights, the environment, etc. Dems most intently focused on gender equality still believe in racial equality, labor rights, the environment, etc. All around the Dem spectrum, most people support the same issues as most other Dems, just with different priorities (gay rights being something of an exception to this rule, for some).

    The GOP has at least three mutually antagonistic sub-parties: Conservatives (think Goldwater), Neocons, and Theocons. The (Real True) Conservatives believe in separation of church and state, keeping the government out of your bedroom, etc. These competing groups have formed an internal coalition, because they know that none of them, individually, have the votes to rule.

  20. I don’t care how many parties we have; I just want real and substantive campaign finance reform. I’m tired of government of the moneyed special interests, by the moneyed special interests, for the moneyed special interests.

    Ohhhh, yeah.

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