Monday, March 24, 2008

The Inexcusable

I was forwarded an article today by Linda Burnham, The Tightrope and the Needle.

"Liberal feminists have every right to spend down their political capital on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hard choices have to made; political debts have to be paid. But it will not count as progress if a Clinton win is purchased at the cost of deepening the racial divide. It is inexcusable to support a candidate in the name of feminism while deploying racist argumentation, minimizing the existence and impact of racism, and denying the advantages of inhabiting the racial space called “white.” It will not be excused. Nor will it be forgotten."

Excuse me?

I believe Clinton is a better candidate.

Period. Pretty darn close between them. They have voted over 90% of the time the same way. very very little is different. I think Clinton's additional term in the Senate is important but not the end all and be all.

Period.

I like her health care plan better.

Period.

They both suck wind on LGBT rights.

Period.

I have read their positions. I have listened to the debates. I have thoughtfully considered each candidate. They both have weaknesses and strengths.

You can call me racist, and that's fine. You can call me the political machine of old and that's fine. Keep bringing it on and I'll keep shaking my head. I don't agree.

Is the only way I can embrace the struggle for racial justice is to vote for Obama? If I don't, I'm reverting "to the primacy of sexism over all other forms of discrimination and oppression. All the tendencies that got feminism tagged as a white, middle-class women's thing are, brutally, back in play."

It can't just be a difference of opinion? Honestly, I wish I had someone to vote for that had Kucinich's politics, Romney's hair, Ann Richard's humor, St. Teresa's police record...

But I don't, do I?

I could go through the entire essay, line by line and argue every point. My blood pressure would skyrocket.

Mostly? It hurts.

I am highly attuned to gender frames. I am highly attuned to homophobia, gender identity, stereotyping, class differences... I live them every day.

And I am highly attuned to race and racism.

The author refers to me- old, white woman voting for Clinton- as "blissfully (willfully?) ignorant"?

That's an insult to all the work I've done in my life, professionally and personally.

I chose a different candidate.

And now that makes me a racist?

Are some people supporting Clinton racist? Yes. And some people supporting Obama are racist, too. No one has played this campaign cleanly.

No one.

I believe deeply and strongly that we need to have a discussion on race in this country. We are in a historic moment and we are all spitting at each other and throwing blanket statements in order to elevate our candidate...

What a waste. We should be having this discussion TOGETHER rather than pointing fingers.

We are pulling apart each thread of the fabric of these campaigns- these two democratic campaigns- and scrutinizing every gesture, every word, every supporting cast member...

In the mean time? John McCain doesn't even need to fund raise. Why bother campaigning? He just has to sit back and wait for the bloodied victor from Denver to step forward.

We all have a lot of work to do. The discussion about race- and gender, and class, and homophobia- is essential to creating social change. We must come together for this discussion.

Long after this presidential race is decided, we will all have to work together because a single person in the role of president is simply NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

Are we all war lovin', Republican morons because George Bush has been our president for 8 years?

I didn't think so.

"It is inexcusable to support a candidate in the name of feminism while deploying racist argumentation, minimizing the existence and impact of racism, and denying the advantages of inhabiting the racial space called “white""

There has been so much about the political/candidate discussion that I find inexcusable. I could flip that statement right back at the author.

But I know it's not that simple. There isn't a single line to draw to get from A to B with race in this country. This is complex. There are many different things happening at once.

Mostly, though? If we blow this election because we are so busy navel gazing and pointing fingers at each other because we can't see beyond our own rhetoric?

That will not be forgotten.

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7 Comments:

Blogger m. cacioppo said...

ugh, whoever wrote that sounds like an ex of mine. you know, the kind of person who spends all of their time in academia land and none of their time in reality.

i really am sick of how if i support one candidate, i am either this or that, or doing it because of this or that.

i hadn't picked a candidate until shortly before ny voted, although i leaned towards hillary because she is the ny state senator so therefore i am more familiar with her. i resent the idea that i went with her to make some kind of feminist statement. i've had people say that to me, and i wanted to shake them. but if i were to counter them with, well what if i said obama supporters are doing it as some kind of race related statement? gasp! if i dare say that im called a racist.

christ. how are we ever going to have a dialogue in this country if people are going to have these kinds of quick ultra sensitive reactions? no one can be honest and no one can be challenged if this is going to happen.

really ridiculous.

that quote you posted reallllly irks me.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

go read the whole piece and you'll have as high blood pressure as I do right now.

actually? coming from a friend (who sent it to me)?

it hurts.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Seda said...

Right on, Sara! You are so absolutely right. Likewise, my own support for Obama doesn't negate or even reflect on my commitment to feminism. I choose him because I'm guessing that he'll be the better president, based on a wide number of things, both personality and issue-wise. That's all it is, a guess - and that's all anyone's choice is. Neither one of them was my first choice - I would've liked Kucinich, Richardson, or Gravel - but I do love that the Democratic candidate won't be a white man!

But he (or she) won't win unless we all start teaming together to beat John McCain and his Bush bunch. And that starts when we stop calling each other names.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Sue J said...

I wish I had someone to vote for that had Kucinich's politics, Romney's hair, Ann Richard's humor, St. Teresa's police record...

Excellent!

8:12 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Statements about "identity voters" belong with Timmeh and Tweety and the other babbling heads who are already foursquare behind whoever the Republicans have chosen.

But heated statements about Clinton versus Obama might easily seduce decent human beings who find themselves talking or thinking about them into playing a little part of those guys' game. I've done it myself.

I remember. One of the good things about being older than dirt. No sooner did the forces of hate overturn the Equal Rights Amendment in the States, they went straight to work on demolishing Affirmative Action.

Same guys, same agenda, but from time to time they'll read from different scripts is all.

Have you read Echidne's articles on Intersectionality?

You probably could have written them yourself. Lots of folks could. It's not like this stuff is a secret. Even I figured it out eventually.
--

Rev. Bob

2:36 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Hi, Sara,

Did you miss that delightful Michael Medved article? (sorry, Medved, no link for you)

The best thing about it was the blatantly offensive ad in the left column: "Imagine... No Liberals."

I imagined that a long time ago. That's why I'm a radical.


Drawing inspiration from something Oliver Willis said a couple of years ago, Christofascists and apologists for evil don't need to be brought into the American community while we all sing "Kumbayah."


They need to be stopped

But my favorite reason for believing we need Sen. Clinton somewhere on the ticket is that we need a wartime consigliere.

11:42 AM  
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