In a spontaneous virtual, non-violent uprising on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, U.S. women and men single-mindedly mobilized their forces to say “no” to the decision of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to defund Planned Parenthood.
The following day, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg pledged $250,000 in matching funds to Planned Parenthood, which also received a record $3 million donations in two days. Seeing their formerly unquestioned ubiquity in women’s health care fundraising crumble, SGK’s CEO and founder, Nancy Brinker, hit the airwaves and intertubes to explain themselves. Instead, their not so flimsily veiled agenda was exposed. She posited that PP funding was shady and under congressional investigation. Oooo. It seems that one conservative, House Energy Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Florida, had launched an investigation in Congress in September 2011, and SGK’s new bylaws prohibit funding of any orgs under investigation.
On Thursday, February 2, California Rep. Loretta Sanchez alluded to SGK’s new VP Karen Handel as having a hand in this decision. Indeed, when Handel ran for Governor of Georgia, during which she was endorsed by Sara Palin, she proclaimed that if she won she would defund PP because of their abortion services. Jezebel exposed Handel’s nasty disdain in her tweet (and delete) that protesters over the SGK decision could “Cry (her) a freaking river.”
On Friday, seeing their supporters fall away, SGK did a Rick Perry “oops” impersonation and reversed their decision, saying they would make a special rule to fund PP. Meanwhile, the underbelly of SGK’s conservative agenda has been revealed to legions of donors who have run races and bought pink paraphernalia for 30 years. In late 2010, Komen also exposed their stingy side when they began to legally pursue other non-profit charities to force them to desist from using their trademarked term “for the cure” and the color pink in fundraising efforts.
The defenders of Planned Parenthood rightfully stated that women, many of whom do not have access to primary health care, use their clinics for general checkups and breast cancer screening, that they would otherwise not be able to afford.
The shallow depth that TV journalists currently swim in was also made clear, when this week Brinker claimed during multiple interviews that PP’s activities would be shown to be illegal. Reporters merely needed to ask a follow-up question of Brinker to name one or two examples in support of the accusation, but the question was not asked.
Geraldine Ferraro died today at 75 years old. We lost her way too young. What a champion she was – especially for women. She will be missed. I miss her already. Rest in peace, Geraldine, and thank you for all your hard work and service to our country.
Addendum: Here’s a NYT video interview where Geraldine talks about her life. It’s an historical rather than a controversial piece.
I published this post on May 30, 2008, comprised of the video Part 1 up top and Part 2 below, under the title of Geraldine on Greta: Tells It Like It Is:
Finally, Geraldine Ferraro is back! After being race-baited by the Obama campaign for saying that a majority of Black people were voting for him, being shamed off the air, going underground, writing articles, and fielding calls from Obamabots who published her number, she speaks for the many people who called to complain about the state of this sorry Democratic Primary process. On the May 29, 2008 10pm edition of FOX News show On The Record,Greta Van Susteren interviews Ferraro who discusses Hillary’s poor treatment by what I’m afraid have now become the usual suspects. Van Susteren seems to be one of the few talk show hosts who is giving Hillary supporters a voice. Isn’t that what Obama gets in the media every single day? Here’s the video in two parts. Enjoy, take a deep breath and cheer for the dedication, stamina, and forthrightness of one of our women leaders with the courage to stand up and tell it like it is.
Here’s former Presidential VP Candidate Ferraro’s op-ed piece in the May 30, 2008 Boston Globe.
Many feminists were disgusted this past year by the sexist, misogynistic treatment that former NY Senator Hillary Clinton received during her Presidential run, at the hands of the mainstream media, the fauxgressive blogosphere, stalwart feminist organizations, and members of her party. This time, Republicans didn’t seem to have quite as much to add, because Clinton’s own Democratic Party, we were shocked to observe, outperformed them in maltreating her.
Amy Sewell, award-winning filmmaker of the endearing 2005 documentary, Mad, Hot Ballroom, is doing her part to help elect a woman President of the United States. Her latest thought-provoking 2008 release, What’s Your Point, Honey?, is the first social justice cause film that’s being marketed on amazon.com and on iTunes, too. I’d agree with her point that:
Feminism, gender inequality, is the longest revolution and the last social justice cause to have a great need to be brought to the surface and pushed out there.
Radio Interview Explores Feminism, Gender Equality, and Path to Politics
In January, 2009, I sat down with the dynamic and articulate filmmaker to record the audio interview from which this article is drawn. In the interview, Amy and I also discuss: women’s pay equality issues, the Lilli Ledbetter Act, gender inequality awakening of Baby Boomers as compared to the MTV generation. Plus, there’s an update about the lives of the seven diverse young women in her film, and their quest to run for political and organizational office.
Click arrow to play Lady Boomer’s interview with filmmaker Amy Sewell (1:41)
The Point of What’s Your Point, Honey?
The film’s title, What’s Your Point, Honey?, was inspired by a 2007 Jim Borgman cartoon in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The cartoon depicts Hillary Clinton standing, pointer in hand, appearing to school Uncle Sam in front of a chart entitled, “Countries That Have ALREADY HAD FEMALE Heads of State.”
Here’s the list: Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Burundi, Liberia, Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, India, Germany, Serbia, Israel, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, England, Latvia, Iceland, Ireland.
And in response, a schlumpy-looking Uncle Sam asks Hillary,
What’s your point, honey?
In our interview, Sewell expands on the cartoon’s irony: The US is 71st in the world in women’s representation in government — we’re laggin’. We’re behind the -stans and Cape Verde. . . . Despite often horrible treatment in some of the countries that have had women leaders, women are proportionally better represented and lead other countries in far greater numbers.
The filmmakers set out to influence the younger generations with their film, and to create an awareness of feminism in them, because many young women “do not believe that they’re not equal.” Additionally, Sewell says that she and the film’s director, Susan Toffler, decided to reclaim the term “honey,” in order to devalue it when used by the oppressor, so to speak
Co-stars of the documentary, “What’s Your Point Honey?,” include Sewell’s twin daughters, the generation of girls “that doesn’t believe that they’re not equal.”
They made a movie for an audience that doesn’t want to hear it, Sewell asserts, because they think they’ve got it all in the bag. They see their moms going to work and just think that everything is equal—after all, mom’s working. Girls don’t really know what their moms go through at work, regarding career advancement, pay differences, harassment, and what is expected of them as compared to men.
Girls don’t grasp that women, despite feminist gains of the last forty years, are largely responsible for taking care of: the house, the kids, doctors’ appointments, day care, child care, shopping for groceries, supplies, and clothing, cooking, cleaning up, housecleaning, laundry, and more. Additionally, their moms are often caregivers for their elderly parents or in-laws. Yet, girls of today think that life is, and will be, the same for them as it is for the boys they’re growing up with.
Forget about equal pay: Sewell says that women should actually get paid MORE than men. After all, the mom does everything, and the dad “just goes to work,” as a young boy observes in the film. Yes, we’re swimming in the patriarchy, so much so that many fish don’t know it, haven’t seen it. However, girls are beginning to see sexism and inequality at home, and more women saw it in the political atmosphere of the 2008 Presidential election.
Eyes Wide Open—Lessons from Sarah
Sewell claims Sarah Palin lit a fire under many liberal women who thought, “hey if she can do it, why can’t I?” We should be running for local offices and positions that grow us into more and higher national prominence. A way to begin is to step up and get active about the projects and issues you really care about in your local community, and just go ahead and start to run things.
She enumerates three lessons women learned from Palin’s Vice Presidential run:
Women can be raising a family and become a major player, with the right support systems.
If you multiply out all the ways you run your household, you can do it on a larger scale in your community, city, state, and nation.
If Sarah can do it, why are we liberal women still on the sidelines, waiting for men or somebody to hand this to us?
The White House Project: “Beyond Gender to Agenda”
Wilson believes strongly in having a nonpartisan organization, because her philosophy is that all women bring the same basic life issues to the table, such as: child rearing, child and elder care, the wage gap, working in male-dominated fields, and, of course, who owns their bodies. The goal is to get more women into office. Women are 51 percent of the population, and 80 percent of the purchasing power. Women decide how 80 cents of every dollar in American households will be spent.
I questioned Amy: If women treat each other so poorly when running for office—as they did with Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin last year—will women be discouraged from running in the future, expecting that they might face a similar fate? Introducing the pipeline theory, she said that “it’s not about one. As long as you have only one woman running, everyone will always rip her apart.”
Sewell contends that if you have just as many women running as men, you get “beyond gender to agenda,” to quote Marie Wilson. There are many amazing, accomplished, powerful women out there; we just haven’t seen it happen in enough numbers yet, so we have to make our own way! But the environment is changing: Initially, Wilson asked women to run for office, because she knew that women needed to be asked. However, there seems to be an attitude shift in that women are beginning to step up and run. There were 100 applicants for the program in NY State, and several women who were in the film announced their plans to run for office right after completing their training.
Winners of the 2024 Project, co-sponsored by The White House Project and COSMOgirl, gather in front of The White House during the making of the documentary
The Key to Success: Fill the Pipeline with Young Candidates
As a way to keep the ball rolling and get younger generations involved, What’s Your Point, Honey? shows inequalities in their world today “wrapped around the metaphor of a woman running for President.” The filmmaker sees that girls can look up to the current women in power, like Hillary and Sarah Palin, but they don’t relate to them as they do to twenty year-olds, like those in the film.
If we build the pipeline, the more women we have wanting to come into political power, the easier it will be for all male political figures in the future to have a pool of applicants to choose from [for cabinet and other appointments.] [. . . ]
Our hope is someday that it won’t even be a question. We’ll have so many women in politics that we’ll de-genderize it.
Further, an educational pilot program is being rolled out by North Carolina Political Center for Women: the What’s Your Point, Honey? DVD and study guides will be used as part of high school programs in North Carolina. This will be followed by programs throughout the US in middle schools, high schools, and colleges, accompanied by study guides appropriate for each educational level. Amy has generously provided the Viewers’ Guide here for you to download FOR FREE, which you can use when you buy the DVD, or rent or buy the video-on-demand (VOD) download.
Women Have Power
Sewell sees little advantage in fighting with people who do not and will not ever agree fundamentally, and I agree! Women need to join together and get involved with whatever social justice causes that move them. Furthermore, WOMEN have the purchasing power. Money speaks, and we have power here. For example, ads and products that call for our attention to speak out against: Boycott! The PUMA and some of the feminist movement made a difference by boycotting MSNBC, CNN, PBS, NPR, and network television due to their commentators’ misogynistic and biased stances about then Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, and VP nominee, Sarah Palin.
The movie purposely uses a light touch to draw new people into wanting to be active, and has a carryover affect. Viewers report that they begin to notice more instances of inequality or sexism in their daily lives, whereas before they wouldn’t have seen it. I encourage everyone to see and discuss this film, especially families. Be sure to rate, comment, and see what others are saying.
This is such an enthusiastic, supportive article, you’d think I have an ulterior motive, or am receiving some kind of net gain. I hope I am and do. I believe passionately, based on my spiritual and community background, that the societal road forward, onward, and upward must be: positive, collective, supportive, have dignity—and—be ignited, and driven by and for women. We can accomplish this by expanding girls’ and young women’s horizons, education, and opportunities for governance, and yes, the Presidency. Elect a woman? . . . “It’s not about one.”
Coming up to the inauguation of the 44th President, as we’re still in the first month of 2009, thought I’d post the Top 10 Posts I’ve written, based on popularity. It’s my travelogue, so to speak, chronologically along the road of how we got HERE.
Apparently our efforts to rub salt in the wounds of the Democratic machine and MSM in 2008 are not as insignificant as our detractors have claimed (or wished) they were throughout 2008. On December 31, 2008, John Cloud of TIME Magazine named PUMA #8 of their Top Ten Buzzwords of 2008. Here’s his description, but hey, what can I say, it’s about TIME. The list is part of their Top Ten Everything of 2008.
An acronym for “party unity my ass,” this term was the rallying cry of Clinton supporters who backed her candidacy even after many party leaders called for consensus around Obama in order to ensure a unified Democratic front going into the general election. As Barrett of doubletongued.org points out, PUMAs hoped to bring the Clinton-Obama fight “to a head-to-head smackdown vote at the [Democratic] convention.” Instead, Clinton threw her support to Obama well before the convention. This word, which disproportionately described female voters, recalls TIME’s 2007 buzzword of the year: cougar, i.e., an older woman seeking younger men.
I especially like the last sentence, when PUMA is compared to hot ‘n horny older women who seek younger men. (they know me so well) Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the nomination. What kind of free publicity is that for us? Good, very good. However, isn’t the comparison the perfect illustration of what we’ve been saying all year about sexism, the supposedly liberal Dem Party, and the MSM?
Here’s the rest of the list, so you can see if you’d like to read the descriptions in their presentation. I’ll admit that I’m just getting caught up with some of the terms. For instance, Rickrolled. I didn’t get the meaning of an old Rick Astley music video in the middle of Uncle Jay’s year-end wrap up video (posted here at LBNYC.) That is, until New Year’s eve, when my 11-year-old friend, Dave, explained the whole phenomenon to me at his folks’ party, sending him into absolute hysterics. So PUMA is just under that on the list, and one of five politically-related terms.
Nuke the fridge
Hey, I think it’s great! Not bad for a movement that’s only been in operation for 6 months, all the while being discounted by the subjects of its protests.
It’s election time, so once again, just like the swallows coming home to Capistrano and geese flying South for the Winter, women’s bodies are being held hostage. It’s predictable.
One of the first signs this election cycle was when word came that Obama voted to not give life-saving measures to babies who survive late-term abortions. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Obviously, this was a vote to assuage his potential evangelical voter base. However, after Sarah Palin entered the race, those voters, knowing they now had the real deal, swung back to McCain, whom they were hesitant to support previously. Obama’s vote “No” was meant as a protest against late term abortion. So, then if life prevailed, kill it anyway? This makes no sense whatsoever.
A more recent sign of the “election-year women’s-bodies-as-hostage cycle” is today’s news that Rep. Nancy Pelosi will be given some schoolin’ on Catholic Cathechism by the San Francisco Archdiocese. It seems that the House Speaker made some controversial statements about abortion following Sarah Palin’s VP nom. Nancy was trying to show that although she’s Catholic, she’s pro-choice, so as to distinguish herself from the smarmy pro-life Palin who would have us revert to back room abortions. To Nancy, her choice about choice was as plain as day, but the Catholic Church thought otherwise: her views approached heresy. It was even suggested that perhaps Pelosi should not be offered Holy Communion if she was going to be that way. The uproar is due to Pelosi’s statement that she didn’t know when life begins, and that no one, even the Catholic Church, can know for certain.
The Church has replied: oh no you dit-‘nt. The Church has stated unequivocally that life begins at conception.
Now, I’m going to state something very, very controversial for a pro-choicer: I agree in part with the Catholic Church — life begins at conception. You know those carriers of life, the swimming little sperm and the big egg? Ever see them under a microscope, magnified, like on film? They pulse, they move, they form a zygote whose cells multiply and divide. The zygote beats with the mother’s heart, and grows into an embryo as it receives nutrients. What the heck else do you call it? Any woman who’s carried a fetus, whether it’s been born or aborted, feels the life within her. Way beyond religion, to call it anything but life defies scientific definition.
I’ve done a lot, I mean a lot, of transformational work in the process of becoming a body-centered therapist. I’ve literally experienced my parents’ emotional and psychological states leading up to my conception. Let’s just say they weren’t happy and knew as soon as they got married that they didn’t want to be together. They were among those post-war couples who “stayed together for the kids.” So my personal work, which has taken a long time, years, has been to unburden myself from that first cause of being a burden, somebody’s fault for being stuck together. Please, don’t worry. I’m fine.
So why am I delving into my past in this oh-so-revealing way? Yes, this is anecdotal, but I’ve seen it over and over again in my clients — the affect of one or both parents being unhappy during pregnancy and perinatally. Any psychologist can tell many of these stories. Although science has barely caught up, our memory, our life experience lives in our bodies. I am saying that our cells, the zygote, the fetus, are conscious.
Here comes the really controversial part: anyone who’s ever had an abortion knows that she is terminating the life of a baby. Otherwise, it would just be like having a period. Bloop and that’s it. There wouldn’t be the severe emotionally distraught feelings of fear, guilt, sadness, and trauma. Although we are determined to have that choice, who has ever had an abortion and felt happy about it? The fact of the matter is: a woman knows she is choosing to end a life AND that it is her choice.
Have you ever heard this point? No. Instead a woman is forced to either deny that she is ending a life when she has an abortion, or if she admits to herself, God, and Country that she is ending a life, then abortion must cease to be available. Isn’t that what the entire debate has been about — forever? So, Nancy Pelosi, by gosh, you did do something while in Congress! You made me come out about this topic. I say that both are true, and I stand by my right to choose, over and above all.
Of course, as we all know, if men had babies, it wouldn’t even be a discussion. Birth control and every other thing about reproduction, pregnancy, birth, and abortion would be highly studied, bought and paid for, and designed for his maximum empowerment, comfort, and control. And life would begin at birth, including for the Catholic Church, although I guess women would be running it.
Women I know, who lived on my same long-time hippy commune, where our policy was “don’t have an abortion,” are now staunchly pro-choice like me. Our solution back then was: instead, carry the baby to full-term, and if upon giving birth you still don’t want it, a family will take care of it for you. If you ever decide you want the baby or child back, you can have it. Of course, this policy created its own set of problems, but it tried to solve the “life vs. abortion, preggers but don’t want the child” conundrum.
So, yes, it’s election year, and women’s bodies are once again being held hostage. And so are our brains. We have to pretend that a sperm, egg, zygote, and fetus are dead, so we can do what we want to do with our bodies and the life we create that grows within us. Running for top office, basically, we have four pro-lifers, who say they won’t impose their views on their governance. Their churches would have them do otherwise. (Disclaimer: as a Jew, I don’t claim to know a thing about the Catholic Church or any other.)
As could be expected, during the campaign Obama once again voted present with his statement that determining when life begins “is above [his] paygrade.” Well, he was caught in a woman’s situation, because he was speaking at evangelical, Rick Warren’s forum, and didn’t want to alienate either side of his lady voter base. He actually was right: it is above his paygrade, but that doesn’t excuse his choosing ambiguity for expediency’s sake. As a Democrat, he was expected to come down on the side of pro-choice, but then how could he in that venue and not be cast out?
Pro-choice leaders, orgs, and Democrats are threatening that we run for our lives, because a woman’s right to choose will be removed from the table if the Repubs win, what with SCOTUS conservative appointees and all. Pro-life women are happy, because a woman of their own beliefs may come to national power, and life at conception might be recognized. Either way, women have to fake it once again. If we admit that we’re harboring life and abort, we’re baby-killers, murderers, plain and simple. This would make repeal of Roe v. Wade a foregone conclusion. If we divorce our brains from our bodies so as to simulate a dead zone, well then, I guess we’re alright. I don’t know about you, but doesn’t making judgments and taking control of women’s bodies remind you of how it was for us during those Salem witch-huntin’ days?
Not pretty, but in the end, who bears the responsibility, the shame, the guilt? Whose bodies and lives are at stake and held hostage because of it? You guessed it. This is a messy deal, this living thing and all.
Although a bit of a jog off the path, a few more things about the judgmental attitudes that other people make about bodies and lives not their own: We exist on living things — whether a plant or an animal. Anyone who’s ever raised an animal, or had a pet for that matter, knows they’re conscious. Many gardeners speak to their plants, and research studies show that plants respond to music and human emotion. Gardeners would agree. Whatever we eat has to die so that we may live. If we rid ourselves of pesky pests like bugs, rodents, or wildlife, we are killing. If we go to war or order others to go, we may end up taking a life or helping others to do so. Buddhists would have us not kill at all. In choosing what we eat and how we live, we are also choosing whether something or someone will live or will die.
In other words, to judge women as reckless for a choice about their own bodies denies the fact that in each moment we make life and death decisions.
September 22, 2008 — Bill Clinton is in his element this week, out and about in New York City, in his fourth year of convening world leaders, wealthy philanthropists, and citizens’ groups at the UN on behalf of his worldwide Clinton Global Initiative. He outlines what we all can do to change the world in his 2007 book, Giving.
In his first-ever appearance on The View, get fascinating insights from one-half of the power duo we could have had. Was Hillary really dying to be VP, grasping at it, as the Obamabots and MSM snootily suggested for several months? What does Bill think of her supporters who would vote for McCain? (Hint: he gets it.) Does he think there was sexism directed toward Hillary during her run? Oh, yes he does. He describes it as subconscious in our society and because of that, maybe more insidious. He also gives his take on how people should treat voters who don’t agree with one’s own views. Let’s just say that his attitude is more gentlemanly than that of the Dem nominee and his followers.
Bill gives his take on: the economic proposals currently on the table; if today’s economic woes stem from his administration’s policies; and the breaking Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley filings to reorganize from investment banks to bank holding companies. The View’s Whoopi Goldberg introduces Bill as one of her favorite people. Too bad The View hosts didn’t treat Hillary and Bill as if they mattered at all during the Democratic Primary, preferring to tout and fawn unashamedly over Barack and Michelle.
Find out what the former Pres thinks of McCain, and who he thinks will win in 2008. He seemingly gives a black and white answer, (wild guess: the Democrat), but makes some crafty modifications. He attempts to clarify why he was given a bum rap over saying Obama wasn’t ready to be POTUS. I found it all quite interesting. Et vous?
[At this posting, the video wasn’t yet available on ABC’s website, so here’s a three-part YouTube, sans commercials, which is how I can actually use it. Let’s see if it stays up. If not, will replace.]
I get that a lot from my family and friends. They know I had been working the entire year to get Hillary Clinton elected President while “raging against the machine,” and that I was going to Denver to protest. I replied,
“Ummm . . . good. . . . I, I wasn’t really at The Convention.
We were like . . . the Anti-Convention!”
Post-Denver, although still mourning for what could have been, most hardcore, grassroots Hillary supporters have moved on — in one way or another. They know, or are deciding, what they will do with their votes and/or their efforts. Will they work for one campaign or other at the top, or just support down-ticket candidates? They are mulling over whether to: vote nothing on top, vote third party, write in Hillary’s name, stay home, or cast a protest vote for John McCain. For most, that would be their first Republican vote ever, and they do not take it lightly. The only reason they would do it is to protest Barack Obama and Democratic Party leaders who subverted the democratic process and 18 million voters.
But I can’t fully move on yet. This story is roiling around inside me, unwilling to be forgotten. One week plus is old news, past prime, but I keep getting these “little messages.” Last week I ran into my neighborhood Brazilian Café and struck up a conversation with husband and wife owners, Marcello and Juliet. I’d been socked away in my “Puma Den” for the last six months, making rich stove top espressos at home on the cheap.
Marcello asked, “I heaven’t seen you for a while. Where have you bean? What have you been doing?”
I hesitated protectively, having lived undercover using my handle for so long that I had to consciously produce my real name in my head before saying it. “Actually, I’ve been doing a lot of writing most of the year, political writing. Do you know what blogs are? I have a blog and contribute to other sites and efforts.”
They continued the conversation as they scurried about their business, “Oh really, and who were you supporting for President?”
My personal self gulped inside my political self having been so underground and divided, “Actually, I was supporting Hillary Clinton, working to get her elected. I still support her and believe she would make the best President.”
They both jumped to attention and gravitated back to the counter to face me, “Really? We’re for her too!”
(See why I can’t stop?) “That’s great,” I cooed, as I came clean, telling them about my blog and links to others, our efforts prior to and during Denver, and our work to ensure a roll call, a floor vote, and a record of the truth about this election.
They pointed out to me, “It’s just like 2000, Gore and Bush!”
“Right!” I answered, “and now from our own. It seems so much worse that way. Did you know that Democrats have a weird gene that makes them eat their own?”
They laughed. We talked about the delegates. They had seen the same things that Puma and Just Say No Deal Coalition members have been uncovering, observing, highlighting, and shouting about all year long: the subversion, bullying, and undemocratic processes. They could not believe when they saw the vote halted and delegates switched. “We voted. We went in and pulled the lever. Why should we even bother?”
“I KNOW. How do they do it in Brazil?”
“We vote. It gets recorded. Somebody gets elected. That’s it.”
I didn’t really feel like going out on Thursday night, but a longtime friend was in town, and we’d made plans to go dancing. Yes, we are young-at-heart baby boomers.
Basement Bhangra in NYC is an upbeat Indian, family wedding-vibe-type club where ‘the kids’ go to flirt, find a mate, etc. They enjoy the kind of dancing they grew up with in their families of first generation Americans from Punjab. Some are trained as professional dancers and have performed in dance troupes, which is really a treat. They move rhythmically and gracefully, arms and hands extended, as they jump around, while entertaining their partner — feels tribal, subtle.
I held my head down, still deep in thought, trying to push away from the computer. I knew that I should leave, but didn’t feel much like it. I’d just gotten off of a 20-minute conference call with Hillary and some of her supporters, followed by a 2-hour commiserative rant and debrief of the call with a fellow PUMA and Just Say No Deal member.
Hillary’s Conference Call: My Notes
During the call, Hillary gave thanks to her fundraising staff in DC, NY and around the country. The support that each of us has provided to her throughout her campaign made it possible for her to show that a woman could compete in terms of the money, and as Commander In Chief. She was the first woman in history to ever win a Presidential primary.
There is a lot to be grateful for. The campaign involved a great coalition of all races, groups, economic backgrounds. What we have done is a strong part of Democratic history, and she is absolutely committed to continuing to fight for our goals and issues for Democrats and Senator Obama. Given the progress we have made in healthcare, the economy and women’s right to choose, the stakes are too high to not elect a Democrat.
She wanted all those to know who raised money, made phone calls, traveled from state to state: all the things we did really kept her going. Many of us are concerned about the attitudes about women, not just about her but about all women. She was surprised at the press’ reaction to women, said it wasn’t right. Part of why she ran was to make it better for women and girls.
Hillary said we needed to do everything we can to help Senator Obama. She wants help paying her debt so she can pay her vendors, saying she was outspent. She’s not asking us to pay her personal debt, and took it as a given that she spent it because she wanted to. She’s asking us to raise the money however we can.
There are big issues in the Fall. She understands that her campaign was a heroic effort of the finest people and bravest women. She is very hopeful that what she stood for will come to pass.
I Heard What She Said, But What Did She Mean?
I phoned my Hillary friend who was on the call, too. I was dumbfounded. We got nothin’. She gave us nothing, not even the teeny tiniest hint that she was fighting the nomination, that there were caucus improprieties, they’d be taking it to the credentials committee, that she thought she’d won, wanted to be on the first ballot in Denver, didn’t support him, or would be dropping out of the Democratic Party anytime soon to form a third party. Nada. Wasn’t there.
Of course, how could she? How could she say any of that? She couldn’t. Even after last week’s garden party “liberal” ex-supporter Superdelegate women senators met without inviting Hillary, but unveiled her programs and policies as their own. That was maddening. Even after nearly every single colleague in her Party turns their back, she continues on. Ugghhh, that’s why I’m not in politics. Couldn’t do it.
I clung to, “but she said ‘first candidate to win.’ She said ‘win’ — that means she’s acknowledging it.”
My friend knew better, “No she meant she was the first woman to ever win a Presidential primary.”
“Oh right, that she did.”
She went on, “It was canned.”
“What? No way!”
“I think it was pre-recorded.”
“Wow, I hadn’t even considered that.”
“No matter what,” says my friend, “I’m not supporting Obama. We need to take it to Denver. Nobody’s the nominee until they vote in Denver. We need to keep up the pressure. Keep petitioning superdelegates. We can’t let them get away with this. It’s not over!”
Beyond Hillary, It’s About Integrity
I went on: “Right, it’s also more than just about Hillary. It’s about the principle of treating a qualified candidate and former First Lady so disrespectfully. The MSM did it, the DNC, Obama and his supporters, women, the blogosphere. It’s about the caucus improprieties, bullying. It’s about the Democratic ‘leadership’ selecting a candidate for us.”
“There’s nothing wrong with getting progressives in office. We want that. What’s wrong with it is that they chose him, early on. That happened with moveon.org too. I was a member from their inception, participated regularly in their action and voter campaigns. They took a members vote early, perhaps in February, and Obama won. I thought, why are they making us decide now? Just like Pelosi and Reid forced the Superdelegates to choose. Now who’s side were they on? Hint: Do you remember when Pelosi came out and snidely replied to questions about a dream ticket, ‘No, I do not think that will happen'”?
“Howard Dean began working on this campaign right after he didn’t get to the White House the last time, and he’s still trying to get there. He formed an extremely organized grassroots organization, and built it from the ground up. They trained thousands of organizers at the city, county and state level, got all their people in there, and then elected Dean to DNC Chairman! Isn’t that the epitome of hubris? He created an organization so he could elect himself. Their initial intentions seemed good, but why did they make it exclusive? Why did they throw the rest of the Party under the bus? Why were Dean and DFA so averse to Hillary, slamming her in their press release after Iowa, taunting brazenly, look at who’s not inevitable anymore?”
“So if she doesn’t want to continue or want us to do so either, what do we do? I mean, besides helping with the debt, I have to get back to work. It seems to me that now is the best time ever for a third party or a new movement, with so many people seeing right through these Dem schemes. But in order to mobilize people, you need a leader, Hillary, or someone with experience in government who can do the job.”
“Perhaps we need to create a more inclusive, compassionate, responsible, and responsive organization than the current Democratic leadership. Millions of voters are angry that they were manipulated, cheated and bullied out of their candidate. They don’t know what to do or where to turn, but they’re not happy. We need to build a group from this which can be a force for shaping politics.”
Americans Are So Stupid
I went out for the evening as planned, and ended up having a lovely time. On my way home, I stepped in to a take-out place to get a bite to eat. There was an older (than me), upscale-looking white guy who was jumping around excitedly. He exclaimed, “Obama! I was so excited to see the sign on the outside, and that’s why, that’s why I came in!” He was beside himself with glee. I’d entered from the other door, and now looked up to read the storefront window-sized sign from behind, Senator Obama, Yes, We Are Ready. “Oh,” I said.
In New York City, sometimes you get a cab driver who talks in mumbled tones on his headset the entire drive. Other times, you have an engaging conversation. Pretty discouraged after the Obama old guy, I must have been a glutton for punishment, because I dove back in. Believing I’d get an Obama answer, because the driver was black, I asked him, “So what do you think about the election”? He was from Haiti:
“Acchhh, He-lah-ree. I was forr He-lah-ree. She haas the expeerience. She knows what she’s doing. She’s smart. I like her programs. That Obama, I don’t like him. Not his wife either.”
“Oh, I’m surprised.”
“Because I’m a black man?”
“Yes,” I admitted. “Well, I supported Hillary too.”
We commiserated all the way across town. In the end he said, shaking his head,
“People in the United States are soo stuu-pid sometimes. They have something, the best candidate rright in frront of them, and they don’t choose it. The US is sooo stuu-pid!“
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