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.
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