Bi-Partisan, Non-Partisan: Why the Meanings of Words Matter to Women Going Forward

What Do You Mean?

What Do You Mean?

After a (somewhat deserved) comment from a TNA member on my last post, I’ve been thinking a lot about the words “non-partisan.” What do they really mean, going forward?

As for me, I am unabashedly liberal. I think that’s pretty clear. However, I can agree with conservatives, moderates, Republicans, evangelicals or whatever labels you want to come up with on the full enfranchisement of women in our society. This means ratifying the ERA, and all the things that come with it: full representation in government, being paid like 100% of a person, and the end of institutionalized misogyny.

I am constantly amazed by how easily a woman is dismissed by men as either a bimbo, or a hag, no matter how great her accomplishments or contributions. I see this in all areas of life, whether it be in the political arena with Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, my own experience interacting with men, or the way women like Rihanna are treated in the press. The fact that one out of three women experience physical or sexual abuse (or both) in their lifetimes should be a part of every story about this unfortunate young woman; yet far too often, the angle I see in the press is more along the lines of “the bitch deserved it.”

Until sexist, misogynist memes and laws no longer exist in America, we women must come together regardless of political affiliation, and keep speaking out and acting as one.

And yet.

Being non-partisan does not mean you cannot criticize Republicans. Unfortunately, however, I’m seeing a lot of this idea percolating through sites in the feminist and activist blogosphere. I’m being told to move on, forget George Bush, stop saying “bad” things about him. Yea, even unto the things we are all supposed to agree on, like female representation in Bush’s Cabinet. I’m sorry, folks, but pretending Bush didn’t do anything wrong is not non-partisan. That is partisan towards Republicans. Eight years of Bush have done a lot of damage to womens’ rights. People are entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.

I am extremely concerned that Republicans are trying to do to the words “non-partisan” what they did to the words “bi-partisan.” As we know, “bi-partisan” means Democrats come over to the Republicans’ side. It never means that Republicans come to the Democrats’ side, although you would think that would be the case. Why is that? Because the Republicans have a great PR machine. They’ve built it over the decades, and it’s extremely effective. Thus, David Broder and his noxious ilk try to bash Barack Obama over the head for not being Republican enough, but never bash Republicans for not being Democratic enough. (The entire thing is ludicrous, since I don’t see a whole lot of difference between the parties at this point, but whatever.)

Why do I care about these things? Well, because when you control the meanings of words, you control the discussion. The Republicans know this, and because of their masterful ability to control the discussion, it is their ideas and their spin that get promulgated throughout the corporate media.

Remember how Hillary said that when Obama used the word “crisis” when referring to Social Security, it was right-wing propaganda? It was true, and it is exactly why the media hates her so much – she is as good at framing as most Republicans are. It’s also why, according to exit polls, she would have beaten John McCain by a much larger margin than Barack Obama did. Madame Secretary is able to skillfully control the discussion and frame her ideas in a very appealing way.

On the other hand, the corporate media loved Barack Obama, because he is so willing to adopt those same ideas and spin. (His self-promotion as the second coming of Ronald Reagan sure didn’t hurt, either.) But you will notice that now that he is starting to act somewhat like a Democrat, at least with regard to the latest budget, he is getting slammed by the media for not acting “bi-partisan” enough. Funny how that never happens to Republicans, eh?

My point with all of this is that I want us all to stay focused on what unites us, not on what divides us. I am going to criticize ANYONE, from any party, that does not believe in or support full equality for women.

Now that’s non-partisan.

Originally posted in slightly altered form at The New Agenda


6 responses to “Bi-Partisan, Non-Partisan: Why the Meanings of Words Matter to Women Going Forward

  1. You – Go – Girl”!!

  2. You and I corresponded much on the ERA, among other things. I have been thinking and writing about the notion that our republic is essentially a rights-based society. John Adams said it best, that we must have a government that stands on the rule of law, not the rule men.

    All of us are endowed with the same unalienable rights, be we men or women (obviously there is a sizable portion of our society that doesn’t get that…yet). That being the case, I keep coming back to the fact that it is ridiculous, and almost laughable, that an amendment to the Constitution needs to be ratified in order to grant 51% of the nation that which they were born with; the right to be treated equally under the law, and their right to life, liberty, and the the pursuit of happiness.

    The need for an ERA speaks to societal irrationality.

    The treatment of Sarah Palin by the media and BO’s campaign has awakened Republican feminists, and presented an opportunity to create a broad spectrum of support for the ERA. But more and more people seem to be turning their efforts to figuring out how to resist the new boss.

  3. sister of ye

    Sixteen years ago we had a “forget about it” moment in politics. Reagan/Bush I were out of office, so Dems and the Village were telling everyone – no need to go after the perps of Iran/Contra, no need to figure out all the illegalities that took place, it’s over and we have a new day.

    We know how that worked out, don’t we? Within 2 years the Republicans had taken Congress, and with Dems’ enabling and sometimes active connivance worked to undercut Bill Clinton’s liberal policies at every opportunity.

    In 2000 Bush II “won” the election, and all those Iran/Contra perps and other sleazebags were brought back into government. Encouraged at getting away the last time, they proceeded to even more outrageously f*ck up the country’s welfare and steal the Treasury blind.

    I won’t join those who appreciatively cite Limbaugh and Gingrich when they criticize Obama, because their reasons for doing it are vastly different than mine, and I don’t want any confusion that I buy into their agenda, which is to screw me and others like me even worse than Obama if they can.

  4. Even the words liberal and conservative have lost any meaning today.

    How can you be a liberal and do what the “liberals” did to our Democracy last year, or take part in the tearing down of two women using sexism?

    How can you call yourself a conservative and not have protested the enormous amount of government spending the Bush administration took part in?

    It’s all about sides now. If Obama were to tell his followers that we really need to invade Pakistan, they would go along with it. They probably wouldn’t volunteer for the army, but I’m sure they’d get carpal-tunnel syndrome blogging about how brave their dear leader is.

  5. garychapelhill

    What I hate is the excuse that Obama does things just to “trick” the republicans into thinking he’s reaching out to them. As if being a lying con man was a respectable way to go about serving the people of this country. btw, yahoo news had an excellent slide show up yesterday of all the pics of hillary in the mid east and her arrival in Brussels. I couldn’t find the whole thing (I’ll look harder later), but I did find one. I think this shot is glamorous…take a look

  6. Aren’t most people liberal on some things and conservative on others.
    I want people to be free and to be able to make choices. I also want people who make criminal choices that hurt others to be punished. example murder, robbery and crimes against humanity.
    Todays potical parties really do not represent the people of America and do not work in the people’s best interest. Be they liberal or conservative.