Category Archives: accountability

It won’t be your idea of change, but you should still vote for it.

Here’s another one that’s been stewing around for months. I hope it was worth the wait, though it may still be the equivalent of bathtub wine in terms of sophistication of thinking.

While I will be voting for Obama in the upcoming election, I’m not in the league of his acolytes. I’m choosing him because I think he is smarter – on the whole and politically – and that he will make better decisions, better appointments and better policies than any of his opponents, an admittedly low bar. In truth, I think he’s more likely to make good judgments and take actions that are constructive on their own merits. And because as a scholar of the good-old-boy school of politics, he’ll get things through without having to change DC, the very last task he’d take on once in office.

What? Isn’t Obama all about change? Isn’t that the mantra of millions of hopeful voters? Well, mantra, tagline, slogan, servicemark, it’s marketing. A close read of his rewarding, well-written books not only brings the reader through the narrative the senator has chosen to create, it also reveals more about his traditional positioning and why no one should be surprised that politically, there’ll be no new blisters on his hands, given his adeptness at hardball.

The conversation I’ve had with his supporters who feel that personal connection, that sense of promise for overwhelming change, has minor deflationary impact, but resonates with most of the feminists I know. It goes something like this:

“Y’know, I hear all about this change thing, but I have to say, after reading his memoirs and interviews – the majority of which lament the somewhat sainted father who left behind 4 women’s children and barely made time or resources for him and his mother, and noting the deliberate choices he has made in his own life – I think he longs for a traditional patriarchical model – of women in perpetual service. One where man exists to serve god, or country, or at the very least his own personal ambitions, justified in whatever way he chooses. And that woman exists to serve man. Is that change? To me, not so much.”

The feminist women who may be voting for him but who aren’t suffering from tinges of fanaticism – or sadly, the ones who still haven’t let go of the mundane misogyny of the primary race and thus claim to be staying home – nod knowingly.

(I didn’t have to support Hillary to know there was something truly ridiculous afoot with coverage. All I needed were eyes and ears. I think it’s interesting that Obama never said a peep about it – in fact, kept staffers on who made some of the most ridiculously sexist and personal accusations, while letting go of people who said unfortunate but not sexist things and yet who could contribute real leadership and intelligence to his campaign. Oh, until he reported that his grandmother told him she thought the coverage and treatment of HRC was unfair and obviously sexist, and that her remarks made him think there may have been something to it. Was it light dawning on marblehead? Nah. Hardball. Why waste cycles condemning the first and last acceptable public discrimination?)

The dudes are speechless, then try to tell me I must be secretly awed by his oratory.

“Oh, no, no secret that I admire him and his gift with language – especially in contrast to the last four years of unintentional Orwellian malapropism. But I’m 41, and I’ve heard enough smooth talking in my life to appreciate and enjoy it for what it is.” They’re left stuttering. I assure them I know how to vote, but I’m well aware of what I’m getting, and it isn’t change, unless you compare it to the criminal operations of the last 7.5 years. Which is welcome.

Why is it that Dems have to fall in love – blinders and all? Is it any better than the blinders one must live with as a Republican in order to fall in line? One doesn’t have to fall in love to make the best choice for office. Just make an informed choice. And given the freakish behaviour and position of Grampa this week in light of the Russian invasion of Georgia, you have all the information you need. Having an administration that is not warhappy and doesn’t break the law is the next necessary stage for our citizens and for those of the world. Vote with your brain, not your brain in love. Vote Obama.

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Filed under 2008 elections, accountability, ambition, Feminism, feminist, Politics

all politics is becoming glocal

I’ve lived in this timezone for 6 years – voted in as many elections, paid property taxes, learned where to (and not to) eat – and I haven’t yet felt like a real resident. Culture clash and remote employment play an equal role in my disconnectedness, but it wasn’t until a recent political action that I realized how strange it can be as a netizen first, resident second.

It’s political season again, and our despicable US Congress Rep is being challenged by a principled opponent – but the first place she (and other hopefuls in other districts) are going is out of the district. It makes me think that all politics is now glocal – a challenger goes to a global to get the money she needs in order to prove herself to the locals. So, if you’d like to help me get a good rep in Congress, consider giving to Darcy, and tell her you learned about her at my kitchen table.

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Filed under 2008 elections, accountability, activism, glocal, Politics, strategic communication, the big picture, US Congress, Voting, WA, WA-08, women, women's rights

on online anonymity and its price

I’ve been thinking about the issue of anonymity as I wade more frequently into the comments tributaries that grow from the various rivers of the blogosphere. Anonymity provides an essential shield for people in a world where stalking and retribution are commonplace and not effectively curtailed.

Unlike many free speech absolutists, though, I’m not comfortable when enabling  criminal behaviour (threats of sexualized violence, assault and battery, and murder) is the price for protecting the vulnerable. Some big rivers in the blogosphere carry some particularly noxious pollution on strong currents, saying that the targets of these threats, largely women, need to get tough enough skin. And take it. Perhaps the reason women bleed when struck is another weak skin issue.

I don’t propose to have an answer to the anonymity issue. I do know that condoning threats and actions of violence, especially sexualized violence, is not an acceptable compromise. Joan Walsh does a better job than I of putting anger, frustration and exhaustion over this issue into words, though the comments devolve into chest-beating defensive blather.

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Filed under accountability, ambivalence, anonymity, Blogging, disconnect, Feminism, men, misogyny, protection, sexual harrassment, stalking, surveillance, violence, violence against women

misogyny and the powers of the purses

Has anyone else struggled to hear what’s going on in the world today with the 24/7, largely-missing-the-point coverage of old sexist racist pig Don Imus milking another 500,000 viewers thanks to his latest remarks? This has been his schtick for years – I can confirm at least 10, based on hearing his WFAN show. I couldn’t believe the guy had a job when I heard him in ’96 for the first time, but apparently there was then and still is a huge audience for sexist racist talk.

I see this as an issue of misogyny, with a special though not exclusive focus on a hatred of women of color. The women on the team and the coach have come forward and said they see this as primarily an attack on women. I couldn’t agree more.

Student-athletes have special burdens, and young women who come to learn and play have serious challenges. Title 9 gets them a program, but it doesn’t undo the learned sexism most of us have picked up along the way. (I say this as a former manager of “Athletic Tutoral Services” at my alma mater.)

But serious green can impart a perverse “legitimacy” – the longevity and audience loyalty brings in a reliable revenue stream. Even the composed 20 yo captain of the Rutgers women’s b-ball team has a handle on this. In paraphrase, she said, As long as Imus makes ratings and money, who can argue with him, or the people who come to his show?

We can.

I think the penalty should also be levelled at the networks who carry his program and the guests who agree to be on his show, who are implicit in their endorsement of his views and behaviour.

Let’s get a list of the pols and media people who beg to be on his show, particularly on their book tours, and tell them we’re not interested in buying their books. That we’re not going to purchase the goods or services of the advertisers to their programs.

Let’s make it clear that while we support free speech, we also support accountability and consequences. I wonder how “ok” public misogyny will be if it doesn’t make anyone any richer.

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Filed under accountability, activism, anger, athletics, boycott, connections, consequences, courage, diversity, dominance, exploitation, Feminism, gender representation, greed, greedy greedy greedy, honesty, language, media literacy, misogyny, Politics, privilege, racism, sexism, women