(Note to self: I am too old to do shots of Southern Comfort with PUMAs in New York. Owwwww, my head!)
I understand the nature of the historic moment that many of my friends and family are celebrating. It is indeed a powerful statement about America, that we have finally elected an African-American man to the office of the Presidency. I want to shout out to my stepmother, who worked so hard on Obama’s campaign in Virginia. Knowing her belief and energy, I am quite sure that the massive turnout in her county was largely due to her efforts.
But as a woman, I have nothing to celebrate today; because Barack Obama chose to have his moment at the expense of another historic moment. And he used every nasty, misogynistic, Republican trick in his toolbox to do it.
I desperately hope that I am wrong about what kind of President Barack Obama will be. Based on the evidence of the past 21 months, however, I am not optimistic today.
Yet…there is still PUMA.
According to an MSNObama exit poll I saw last night (which would be a low figure, as they do not and cannot poll everyone), 14% of Hillary Clinton’s 18 million primary voters did not vote for Obama. That’s about 2.7 million PUMAs.
Think about that. We started on June 1, 2008, with no money and no central organization; a true grassroots movement; and we are, at the LEAST, 2.7 million strong.
We could not swing this election due to the astonishing turnout Obama managed to inspire, but that does not mean we are not here and ready to continue our efforts to promote fairness, social justice and gender equity in American politics. And I also hope that we can stop the demonization of each other and realize that our agreements can be stronger than our disagreements – if we choose to let them be so.
Today, I believe that my main focus will be promoting women to positions of leadership, aka the 30% Solution. I look forward to working on that with The New Agenda. But I also hope to continue to promote accountability for the Democratic and Republican Parties going forward. Given my new less-partisan standpoint, I am in a better position to do so personally. And if PUMA becomes a third party or simply a more powerful voting bloc, I will be thrilled to join that effort as well.
But for now, PUMAs, rest and recover. We have a lot of work to do, and I want you to know, I’m still here, I’m not a Republican operative, and I’m not going anywhere.