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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2008 Elections: What Is Feminism

NOW President Kim Gandy

Newsday has a headline which reads "NY feminists accuse Kennedy of betrayal in Obama endorsement" that just makes us want to say: Sod off, you misogynistic gasbags. To both parties, you understand.

Sod off, Newsday, for having the gall to assume that NOW encompasses all feminists in New York. And sod off, NY NOW, for daring to equate support for any candidate but the only female running to betrayal. Bloody misogynistic of you both.

Just because Clinton is female and running for President does not mean that she is the best candidate. We won't deny her feminist credentials. She has long been active on women's rights issues, and her speech to the U.N. Conference on Women deserves to go down in history.

That still doesn't make her the best candidate, not even the right candidate. An election - as should be obvious from the success of the Naked Emperor who has been destroying the country for the past seven years - does not depend on merit. Politics has always been about throwing your support (no matter who you may be) to the candidate who you believe will best address your issues. However, nobody is entering the voting booth with a single issue. Not even women. Not even feminist women. Not even feminist women lawyers who might be married to some, like, powerful guy. And have one kid. A daughter. Who graduated college.

The economy is tanking, the housing market sucks ass, New Orleans still lies in ruins, public housing is way down since the Little Chimp came to power, education is a mess, free trade agreements have exported most jobs with decent wages to Outer Transylvania, the credit crunch means that, even though it's a buyer's market, anyone planning to buy a house needs to donate a liver or kidney for the privilege, the military is broken, no one has ever hated Americans more than the rest of the world does after seven years of Chimpito-in-Charge, the health care situation is dire, and al Qaeda and insane terrorists really do exist and want to kill at least some, if not all, of us. Add to that a government that is broken in almost every department, unable to investigate fraudulent practices run wild throughout, no-bid contracts, harrassment of whistleblowers, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

And you're getting your underoos in a bunch because Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama? Guess what, we're all still very divided on who should win. Bill and Hillary Clinton have spent the past few months engaging in some deeply troubling and questionable behaviour, including Mrs. Clinton's campaigning in Florida and Michigan despite having previously agreed that these states, having pushed their primaries up in defiance of the DNC, should not have their delegates seated at the convention.

Mrs. Clinton, if you thought that the delegates should be seated, you should have spoken up at the time. To campaign now in those states after promising not to do so is dishonest and makes you look as if you will stoop to anything to get elected. As for Teddy and Caroline Kennedy throwing their support to Obama, perhaps they feel the same way as the denizens of Casa de Los Gatos.

All these years, we've had the utmost respect for Bill Clinton. But his remarks about the South Carolina primaries changed our feelings for him overnight. We regard him with suspicion now where we used to regard him with admiration. We're sorry, NOW, but Mr. and Mrs. Clinton do not seem to be the people we used to think they were. As such, they might not deserve our support.
For us, such a stand is tempered by remembering the open hostility of the media and the rightwing attack dogs towards the Clintons. We're not going to join the Hillary-bashers, and we do not encourage them. We see that the media is much harsher in its treatment of Hillary, who is a feminist and has always worked hard for issues dear to progressive hearts, than it is to senile warmonger John McCain, whose arse it continually kisses for his "independent" stance.

NY NOW says:
"Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal," NOW's New York State chapter said in a scorching rebuke. "Senator Kennedy's endorsement of Hillary Clinton's opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard."
THIS is the ultimate betrayal? Hey, dumbasses, think about John Roberts and all the arse-fluffing he got from your elected representatives. He's determined to take away women's rights to their own bodies, one at a time. You're calling Teddy Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama, who supports women's right to privacy, a betrayal? As if such overheated rhetoric were not enough, the NY chapter went on to froth about feminists' obligation to elect Hillary.

We are happy to report that saner persons man the staff of NOW's national organization.
"The National Organization for Women has enormous respect and admiration for Sen. Edward Kennedy," NOW President Kim Gandy wrote. "For decades Sen. Kennedy has been a friend of NOW, and a leader and fighter for women's civil and reproductive rights, and his record shows that."

Gandy said her group respects Kennedy's decision to back Obama.

"We continue to encourage women everywhere to express their opinions and exercise their right to vote," she said.

NOW spokeswoman Mai Shiozaki said Gandy's statement was not a rebuttal and was intended to clarify that local chapters were independent.
There is nothing wrong with radical feminism, even separatist feminism. Where we have a problem with NY NOW is when they mistake their personal feelings for political stances. When you start telling feminists that they are obliged to vote for your candidate of choice because she shares the same plumbing they do, you've lost my vote, and the votes of millions of other feminists, women, people.

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