Yes, I expect those words to get a lot of negative attention but hear me out. Feminists have used that term for years when it applies to men. Society is set up to reward men simply for having a Y chromosome. They don’t have to do anything special. They just take it for granted that they will rise to the top, paths will be cleared, obstacles removed. Isn’t that what the whole Angry White Male, Rush Limbaugh phenomenon is all about? Men resenting the fact that now they have to compete with women and “feminazis”? Their slice of the pie just got smaller. Suddenly, their future prospects are not so rosy. But let’s not fool ourselves. There is still a huge affirmative action program out there for men and far fewer breaks for women in the workplace and society at large. He can get profit from and get away with far more things than she can.
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: if it weren’t for the fact that Barack Obama is the token male in this primary race, it is hard to see how he and Hillary Clinton would be sharing the same stage. Her CV is much thicker than his and her command of the qualifications for what it takes to be president far exceeds his. Their debate performances highlight how unevenly they are matched. Her presentation is detailed and fluid; his is sketchy, long winded and unfocussed. At the end of this long campaign season, she has seemingly boundless energy and is all but unflappable; he is showing fatigue and calls professional women “sweetie”. Yet, here they are, together. She is forced to share a stage with a male who is competing for the same position and it is a wonder to the rest of us how he ever got this far.
And this is where the Affirmative Action part comes in. Because the bar has been lowered for Obama. As a consequence (or perhaps by intent) of the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC Barack Obama only has to reach 2025 delegates to snag the nomination. But Hillary Clinton has to reach 2209. Yep, let that sink in for a second. Despite all of the big and swing states she has earned, despite the fact that she’s still winning strong, the path to *her* nomination depends on Michigan and Florida while these two requirements have been conveniently waived for Barack Obama. With the “all or nothing” narrative of the “pledged delegate count trumps all”, none of her delegates count without all 50 states; all of his count with 48.
Now, the Obama supporters and Donna Brazile can scream about RULZ until the cows come home but this is the naked truth that the whole country can see- he is being given a 2.3 million voter break. It’s like a test score that we have lowered just for him. Not only does he not have to win any crucial states but he can get away with fewer of them and it has been this way the entire primary season where his campaign has been able to use this inequity to its advantage, conditioning the public to believe that she is behind him.
Enough is enough. Let’s call it what it is and let the DNC know that you will be watching on May 31 when the Rules and Bylaws Committee meets. Are they going to set the Obama Affirmative Action Program in stone and carry out one of the most flagrant abuses in power since the US Supreme Court ruled on Bush v. Gore? Or are they going to honor the wishes of 2.3 million voters and make the nomination a merit based system? One decision gives the better candidate a fighting chance, the other signals to society at large that this kind of behavior is ok and women are acceptable targets. What’s it going to be?
The whole world is watching.
One more thing: I served 3 years on my local school board before I resigned (too many committments). One thing I learned about politicians is that no matter how dug in their heels are, they are vulnerable to public pressure. The more noise you make, the more likely they are to yield. The problem is that this hs to be done face to face where they can see the anger and frustration. If they are out of earshot, it doesn’t work. You have to patiently and persistently get in their faces and make them listen and there is power in numbers. I can’t tell you hpw many times I saw the board start the evening with a perfectly good plan, like charging $18/month for courtesy bussing and after a couple hundred very vocal spoiled yuppie parrents have spoken, see them cave completely so that bussing is free for everyone with no distance standards. We just have to figure out a way of doing it. Email might work, phone calls might be better, in-person argumentation is best.
One more thing thing: So last night Dukakis endorsed Obama, eh? That makes Kennedy, Kerry, Edwards, Dukakis, Carter. See a pattern here? It starts with an “L”.
This song goes out to all of the tough women who aren’t backing down: