Tag Archives: activism

A Sunday Morning Rant

(Note: Apologies for my absence…I’ve been over at The Widdershins.)

The Blogosphere The Blogosphere

I’m still processing what I experienced on Friday night at The White House Project. It was quite exciting to be around those 100 women who are considering running for office, to hear the passion, trepidation and hope in their voices. It was also a privilege to hear the wise words of the women who have been successful (and who have failed) in the brutal world of politics. I got a good “get” from the event, too: I will have an interview with a fantastic lady,  New York State Senator Liz Krueger for you in a few weeks, as well. Teh kewl!

I’m also processing my thoughts about blogging, the Interwebs, and what they’re really good for. Seems to me, the best thing we do is opinionating, and organizing for action. We’re trying to do a little of both here at TW now, because my opinions are a little dark these days, and I’m having a really hard time trying to keep a positive attitude with all the idiocy that’s going on.

I mean, what planet was the Nobel Peace Prize Committee on? Even the Obama-supporting pundits I’m reading are having a hard time defending the complete clusterfuckiness of that award. Some, like Glenn Greenwald, are not defending it at all; others seem to be resorting to the tried-and-true tactic of skimming over the obvious ridiculousness of it all, blaming the Republicans and, in the case of the DNC, calling those who criticize the award “siding with terrorists.” (I have to admit, I find that “reporter’s” assertion that Ronald Reagan, Mr. Iran-Contra, should have gotten the award, to be quite hilarious.)

Although I sometimes can chuckle at the absurdity of things, in general, I find I have lost my sense of humor. Obama seems bound and determined to make sure that nothing benefiting the needy ever passes through Congress, all the while (successfully?) blaming the Party who is out of power and who literally can do NOTHING to prevent him from doing anything he wants to do. It is really fucking depressing, and the idea that a Republican President and Congress might be taking over again in four years hardly seems bearable, or a remotely desired outcome.

So, the last thing I want to hear right now is the smug cluckings and crowings of the Right, as Obama swiftly throws any chance of real change out the window with both hands. I’ve had to put up with those jackasses and their lying, criminal, anti-American activities for the past eight years. I don’t want to hear what they have to say, not now, not ever. I will never forgive them for Bush, for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, for the destruction of the Constitution and the economy, and most of all, for being in bed with the corporations who have ruined a far-from-perfect, but well-meaning attempt at democracy, and who have now taken over the Democratic Party leadership as well. If I have been oversensitive about that because of my red-hot hatred towards these bloviating gasbags, I do apologize.

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No More Taxation Without Representation

The Time is Now

The Time is Now

Well, my sistren and brethren, after a month of “Hope and “Change,” are you feeling sufficiently represented by your new “progressive” government?

In my case, the answer to that question is a resounding, “Hell, no!”

Legislatively, the Obama Administration has failed to impress. The Lilly Ledbetter Act finally passed, but without the Paycheck Fairness Act, it’s only good for punishing employers after they have already been paying women less based on their sex. To make a real change in the daily lives of women and their families, we needed the tougher regulations the Paycheck Fairness Act would have imposed. As for the fabled stimulus package, when the President wanted to garner Republican votes, how did he reach across the aisle? By cutting Planned Parenthood funding, which helps poor women gain access to birth control. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was furious at this betrayal, stating in an interview that cutting the funding actually increased the size of the stimulus bill by $700 million.

Pelosi on Planned Parenthood provisions of stimulus

And of course, not one Republican vote was gained by this tactic.

In the category of gender equity in his Cabinet, President Obama gets an “F.” He could not even bring himself to do any better than George W. Bush. 

That’s just sad.

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What’s Next?

What Now?

What Now?

The PUMA movement is regathering, regrouping and re-purposing. Our first goal, to put Hillary’s name in nomination at the Convention, was successful. Our second goal, to prevent Barack Obama’s corruption of the election process and cynical use of misogyny and race-bating from being rewarded at the ballot box, and to break that highest, hardest glass ceiling for women, was not. However, as turnout numbers show, there were not enough PUMAs to swing the election when the Republicans themselves did not vote for their own nominee. But you may be encouraged to know that, according to exit polls, 16% of McCain’s supporters would have voted for Hillary had she been the Democratic nominee instead of Barack Obama. Since McCain received more than 58 million votes, that’s more than 9 million potential PUMAs. 26% of them self-identified as Democrats, which is about 2.5 million Party members that would not vote for their Party’s nominee.

But what to do now? The election is over, and we all still have the same concerns about Barack Obama (who is he and what will he do as President?); the direction the country will now take (will there be a New New Deal or not?); the fairness and transparency of our election processes, both primary and general; the utter and complete failure of the Fourth Estate to present anything resembling the truth about any of the candidates; and the rampant, unrepentant misogyny (and since Prop 8 passed, the homophobia) that has been revealed to exist in American society.

How do we act on those concerns, and where do we start?

The first step is to stand up and be counted. If you are a PUMAtic blogger and want to be part of the PUMASphere, email editor@pumasphere.com to be added to the blogroll at VotePUMA.com. If you are a commenter and don’t see your favorite blog on the list, you can ask the editors to include it.

The second step is to decide where to focus your energies. I think it’s pretty clear that my primary concern is the 30% Solution and modern feminism, so that is where my activism will take me. I personally have a couple of things in the works, including a radio show and working on ways to ratify the ERA, and I am always ready to lend my support to The New Agenda and its non-partisan activities on behalf of advancing women in politics.

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Channeling Admiral Stockdale: Who Am I, and What Am I Doing Here?

You may wonder why I am suddenly writing about the economy all the time. Where are my Barack-bashing snarky posts? Has someone kidnapped me, the way so many bloggers have been kidnapped by, and assimilated into, the O-Borg?

Of course not. I’m still me, and I’m sure many snarky posts will be forthcoming. But frankly, I think the election is all but over at this point. Our next President will be John McCain, and our next Vice-President will be the glass-ceiling shattering Alaskan Governor, Sarah Palin. (Yes, she knows how much she owes to Hillary Clinton, and so do we!) I am now seeking my post-election mission, and for me, it has to do with framing.

You see, I firmly believe that Americans are mostly in agreement about the major issues in our country. Polling shows that we support a social safety net (including universal health care) and would be willing to pay for it. We are ready for a new New Deal, a radical re-claiming of the American Dream. Hillary Clinton’s incredible success in the primaries, and her consistently superior polling over John McCain (when it was still being done), shows that her FDR-style message was heard, understood and appreciated.

Yet we have been manipulated by BOTH parties into thinking that we can never come together to solve these problems. We think of political parties as if they were football teams: We root for them, think they can do no wrong, and refuse to hold them to account when they collect too many penalties. And of course, we know in our bones that the other team sucks! Boooooooo!!!!

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American Dreamers

Union and Liberty - The American Dream

Union and Liberty - The American Dream

For 230 years, Americans have been united by a simple, common dream that tomorrow will be better than today. The promise of American life, handed on through a dozen generations, rests on this basic bargain: All of us should have the opportunity to live up to our God-given potential, and the responsibility to make the most of it.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, co-author,
Saving The American Dream

What is the American Dream? Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton talk about it and write about it. (Senator Obama’s The Audacity of Hope was subtitled “Reclaiming the American Dream.”) Both candidates appear to assume that we Americans are dreaming the same dream they are.  But I believe that this primary season has shown that the American Dreamers have very different visions of what it means to be a success in America, and that those visions inform their voting habits more than race, sex or religion.

The American Nightmare: Acquisition Overwhelms Responsibility

I Want It Now, Daddy!

I Want It Now, Daddy!

I want the works / I want the whole works
Presents and prizes and sweets and surprises
Of all shapes and sizes
And now
Don’t care how / I want it now
Don’t care how / I want it now

Veruca Salt, “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Part of the American Dream has always been to acquire. We wanted the nice house, the backyard, the kids, the big cars, the promotion. We wanted to show up our neighbors by being the first to have the latest, coolest gadget – from the first TV to the first Wii. But ever since Ronald Reagan started glamorizing greed and telling us that we could buy now and pay never, our dreams of acquisition have turned into nightmares.

We refuse to admit that we have a responsibility towards our neighbors, whether it’s the ones down the street or the ones across the ocean in Old Yurp (they’re either with us, or against us). The madness of the economic and social libertarians has strangled the effectiveness of government (remember Reagan’s “nine most terrifying words?“) so that natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, are made into national tragedies. “Fuck you, I’ve got mine” has become the siren song of the conservative movement, and due to that movement’s almost total control of the corporate media, of much of America. Pardon me for saying so, but I don’t think this is what the Founding Fathers meant by “We, the people.”

The most dedicated Obama supporters are, in my opinion, mainly invested in the Acquisition portion of the American Dream. Obama is the coolest new product on the market, and they  Just. Want. Him. The Obama Rules state that it is our duty to shut up and elect him. Icons like Jesse Jackson stress his blackness as a reason to support him.  Howard Dean is proud not to be a member of “the white Party.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi appears to think he is a gift from God. Only very recently have high-profile Democrats become concerned that Obama’s shiny packaging might be concealing the candidate’s essential emptiness. Obamans don’t care how – they want him NOW!

But what kind of President would the Senator from Illinois be? That question is rarely asked by Obamans. After all, when you are in an acquisitive frenzy, you don’t often stop to think if buying that awesome Hummer is really the best idea in the long run, or if you really wouldn’t be better off with a dorky, but so much more practical, hybrid minivan. Continue reading