(Note: Fixed my blogroll. Woooohoooo! And I added a couple of informational resources to my PUMA Activism page as well. Enjoy!)
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this historic election, it’s that, to paraphrase George Orwell’s famous quote from Animal Farm, “All people are created equal, but some people are more equal than others.”
We found out that Hillary’s historic candidacy was not nearly as important as Obama’s historic candidacy. We found that it was all right to browbeat women into voting for Obama by threatening to take away their reproductive rights; that it was all right to perpetrate outright election fraud during the primaries; that it was all right to call any woman who dared to oppose this symbolic candidate a racist; to call her too old or too young, too smart or too stupid, too unattractive or too attractive; and just to make the salt in the wounds sting a little more, that it was all right and expected for women themselves to gleefully participate in their own humiliation.
So, congratulations, ObamaNation. The wimminz have been thrown under the bus in order to make way for the currently-favored group of disenfranchised second-class citizens, African-Americans. Um, yay?
But this type of vindictive, nasty, zero-sum approach was not just for those with scary ladyparts. Oh no, Obama voters in California had to prove they’re more important than the LGBT community as well. They had to vote “yes” on Proposition 8, which (for now) has stripped the newly-bestowed rights of same-sex couples to marry in that state. And true to form, they are blaming the victims for their own actions.
The developing meme coming from Obamanation is that gay people got what they deserved when prop 8 was passed in CA, primarily due to overwhelming support from African American supporters who also supported Obama. They are saying that if only we had done our part to help the AA community, or reached out to them, maybe they would have stood with us. That is a lie.
Yes, yes, of course. It’s all the fault of teh gayz! And it’s the fault of teh wimminz, I suppose, because no woman ever participated in the Civil Rights Movement. Golly gee whiz, if only we Vaginal Americans had reached out to the AA community…For gawd’s sake, how can anyone take this self-serving bullshit seriously?
The sad fact is that when the rights of one second-class group are promoted to the detriment of others, there is no reason to celebrate. I look at Barack Obama, and I see a person who cynically and cruelly used misogyny and homophobia to gain the most powerful office in the world. I see a person who has not been judged by the content of his character, but by the color of his skin. Indeed, the media is now admitting that Obama’s character is shrouded in mystery, and all across America, former friends and family are divided from each other by accusations of racism because they voted – or didn’t vote – for Barack Obama. I thought The One was supposed to be so unifying. How is this state of affairs called progress?
Many of us who are not part of the elite in our society have long believed that voting for a particular party would advance our rights. It is clear to me now that this strategy does not work; indeed, if I were an African-American, I would not be so sure that the election of Barack Obama will do me any good at all, since he has no record of mobilizing the community to do anything except…vote for Barack Obama.
Thus, in the future, I would like to see PUMAs become a strong voting bloc that is courted by all political parties.
How do we do this? Well, we can learn from the conservative wing of the Republican Party, which has already become such a voting bloc. After 28 years of activism, the Party cannot win without them. This year, rumor has it that conservatives are the Republican group which stayed home on Election Day, making McCain’s popular vote count several million short of Bush’s count in 2004. This may or may not be true. According to exit polls, conservatives gave 5% more of their votes to Obama than they did to John Kerry, and although they comprised the same percentage of the electorate, there were a great deal fewer of them this year – approximately 19,600,000 in 2008, vs. 21,100,000 in 2004. (Again, this is all based on exit polls. I have no idea of how else to estimate these numbers, but if anyone else does, please let me know!)
What the conservatives do to advance causes we disagree with, we PUMAs can do to advance causes we agree with. We can organize and choose candidates from any Party to make our voices heard. And if candidates want our votes, they will have to pander to us.
Whatever we ultimately decide is the way forward, we have a tremendous amount of positive and principled energy in our group. It would be a terrible waste to let it all go just because we couldn’t swing the election this time. Let’s be patient and committed, like the conservatives, and eventually, we will overcome – not just symbolically, but actually, with liberty and justice for all.
Here are some great links to get you going: