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      A religion is an ideology with supernatural elements. We consider it OK to criticize Marxists or capitalists or libertarians or monarchists, but we tend to shy  away from saying that a religion has bad elements. The Hindu caste system is evil. It needs to end, and it needs to end today. If The Laws of […]
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Clarification and Meeting this morning on Women’s Reproductive Rights

The comment thread from the last post evolved into a discussion on whether the Democrats are going to try to ram another historic candidate down our throats in 2016 and whether her iconic status is sufficient reason to vote for her. The answer to that is yes and maybe.  I have a couple of things to say about this, assuming that you’re interested.

1.) You should only vote for the best candidate.  That candidate, in my humble opinion, should possess a combination of characteristics based on experience, knowledge, ability to convey his or her message and another quality that Winston Churchill was said to possess.  That is, a “built in gyroscope”, or a worldview that orients the bearer regardless of circumstances.  One might call it morality or ethics or scientific method or a mix of all of these things.  This quality may have something to do with the internal vs instrumental motivations that were described in a recent NYTimes Op/Ed.  In other words, ambition and desire for external rewards make a bad president if they are not balanced by an internal drive to shape the country to one’s worldview.  You can draw your own conclusions about what that says about our current resident of the oval office.

2.) I absolutely do believe that the country needs to elect a female as president.  That is because a woman will have a worldview that is distinct from her 40 something predecessors and this worldview is going to be important to the majority of the population of this country who also happen to be women. I think women have a right to demand this. However, we have seen from the present president that that might not mean diddly-squat without those internal motivations mentioned above.  It isn’t enough to want to be number one.  You need to have a plan for doing stuff once you get there.  So, once again, being a woman, though extremely desirable to about a zillion of us, is not the most important thing ever.  She has to want to be there for a very specific reason.

Now, I realize that there are people out there who could give a flying fig about the concerns of women and find it all a big yawn.  You know who you are.  And you don’t want to get pressured to vote for a woman like you were pressured to vote for Obama.  I completely understand the desire to not get pressured.  It’s like being forced to vote for homecoming queen because a certain clique of people have decided that they are going to pick the winner for you and they have some teachable, schlocky, sentimental rationale for doing it when really it all comes down to who their friends are or money or both.  I get that.  And Obama has not really improved the lives of African Americans so you have to wonder why he gets so much support from them and why he was sold as such a great civil rights leader and cherry on the top of the civil rights movement.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof and, in my opinion, it wasn’t there.  What was there was a billion dollar Charlotte’s Web campaign.  Terrific pig, maybe, but not a terrific Martin Luther King Jr. whole hog.  Let’s not kid ourselves.

But your boredom with women candidates and their urgent concerns coupled with your insistence that a certain female candidate jump even higher bars than any other male candidate on earth has ever had to do just plain pisses me off.  And, frankly, I’m tired of hearing your lame excuses as to why you won’t vote for “that woman”.  Come to think of it, I might not vote for “that woman” either if she doesn’t turn her fricking gyroscope on soon and start making her worldview known, whether the masters of the universe like it or not.  But that’s not the point.  If it turns out that “that woman” is the absolute best candidate we have, I expect you to get behind her. Not because she is a woman but because you may not find anyone better, male or female, that is able to get close enough to the top to command the kind of money to actually, you know, run.

If you’re going to hold her to a particular vote, hold all of the candidates accountable for the same votes.  If you’re going to whine about campaign fund raising, do the same for all of the candidates.  If you’re going to expect certain levels and types of experience from her, expect it from all of the other candidates.  |female candidates| = |male candidates| Don’t single women politicians out for special expectations because that just comes off looking sexist and neanderthal and ornery and not worth any of my time to read about.  In short, stop being a jerk.

Ok, I’m done.  You get my point.  Don’t do it again.

***************************************

The Senate is holding a hearing on:

S.1696, The Women’s Health Protection Act

It starts in about 10 minutes.  Probably on C-Span.  I’ll link to it when I find it.  Could be interesting.

Update: Well, here’s the link.   Not sure when this is going to air.

Tuesday: It should be obvious but… #standwithsandra

(Note before we start: This is not a pro-Republican blog.  Friends don’t let friends vote Republican.  And we are most definitely not Reagan Democrats or conservative Democrats or birthers.  We are liberal, FDR style, Democrats in Exile who want our party to start acting like DEMOCRATS.)

It should be obvious to women that what is good for the Democratic party is not necessarily good for them.  But I think that what we are experiencing currently is a bit of the shock doctrine applied to gender politics.

The political strategy of the Democrats seems to be to let anti-woman legislature proceed without much pushback until it reaches a critical stage before they jump up and down in protest.  The outrage on our behalf seems concocted.  No, it’s more than concocted.  It’s entirely false.  Know how I know?  We still have only 17% representation in Congress.  You’d think that if women’s interests were all that important to the Democrats that they would do something about that.  Here in NJ, we have 13 (or is it 12 now?) representatives to Congress and not one of them is a woman.  Not one.  Well, you might say, maybe that’s just a recent phenomenon.  No, it is not.  We haven’t had a single woman representing us in Congress in all of the time I’ve lived here in the past 20 years.

In 2006, Linda Stender, a state congressperson, ran for my district, NJ-07, and came within 4000 votes of winning.  4000 votes in a district this dense is trivial.  It’s *tiny* here.  In 2006, the party seemed to be behind her.  When she ran again in 2008, it looked to me like the party abandoned her.  She was a pro-choice liberal Democrat.  Rahm Emannuel’s Democrats were more student body president types.  Unexciting, compliant, obedient schmoozers who tried to hide the fact that the were Democrats and carefully scrubbed all traces of reproductive rights issues from their campaign webpages.  You can almost hear the consultants telling them, “Don’t let them think you’re a liberal Democrat and for god’s sakes, get rid of the pro-choice stuff.  The secret to winning this year is to grab the not-quite-as-crazy evangelical vote.  Don’t worry about the Democrats.  They got no place to go.”

This year, the New Jersey Democratic party isn’t backing even ONE woman challenger for any Congressional districts.  There is one woman named Diane Sare who is running as a LaRouche Democrat, whatever the f^&* that is.  That’s it.  All of the rest of the candidates are men.  Are we to believe that in the entire state of NJ with over 8.8 million people, we couldn’t find at least one Democratic woman per district to challenge Republican male representatives?  Unbelievable.

Some of the districts do not yet have Democratic challengers so it could be that the party just hasn’t put the names up there yet but still, this is just a really sad state of affairs.  You might want to check your own state to see who your state Democratic party is promoting.

The representation in Congress is pathetic.  We rank 71st among nations behind Pakistan, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.  Can you believe that?  In places where you can’t walk down the street without getting harassed for not wearing your hijab and where religious courts still hold women in subjection, they have more women in elected office than here.

We have to hold the parties accountable for this sad state of affairs.  We’re not going to make any progress with the Republican party this election season but now would be a very good time to make the so-called sympathetic men in the Democratic party put their actions where their mouths are.  I call on women today to demand two things from the Democratic party immediately:

1.) That their local and state Democratic parties nominate a woman challenger for every seat currently held by a Republican for the 2012 elections.

2.) That they impose a quota on themselves, and write it into their party platform, to have no fewer than 34% women in their Congressional and party delegations, committee chairmanships and nominations for elected office, and that elected men who are not pulling their weight for Democratic party values be asked to step aside for a female challenger.

It’s the least they can do.  To do anything less makes them look like they are using the current attack on women’s rights as a political game to attract women to the Democratic party without actually having to do anything to promote women’s causes.  We are more than 50% of the population and we deserve better than this.  If they can’t committ to those two things this year, without question, with all of the fire on gender issues raging around them, then they are not our allies and we need to discuss how we create a party that is more responsive to our needs as quickly as possible.

And what is happening to women’s rights will be repeated with the social insurance programs.  The Republicans will be allowed to introduce legislation unchallenged by Democrats and then Democrats will howl that they’re trying to impoverish old people.  It’s a game where the things we value most are held over a pit of snapping crocodiles by the very same people who promise to save us from the crocodiles only if we give them everything they want.  It’s extortion and it’s evil.

Don’t give Democrats a pass.  Now is the time to strike a hard bargain.   I can hardly believe what I’m seeing these days when women are pulled off of the steps of the Virginia Capitol and carted away for trying to defend their rights.  You’d think this was 1918.  But it just proves that women’s suffrage means nothing if all you can vote for are men.