With this election, that is. Kate’s post brought it boiling back up, but so does practically everything right now. Just so you know we’re really out there: I’m mad as hell, and I’m not taking it any more. Not only can the Democrats not take my vote for granted, they’ve lost it. It doesn’t matter that with mindboggling generosity Hillary Clinton urges her supporters to vote in November. She’s not the one who caused the problem. The problem is the fauxgressives who think sexist bullying is okay, and the audiences who giggle nervously at best, and the candidates who ignore it. I don’t know how big a mea culpa it would take from all those people to bring me back in. I just know for sure that I’m not going to get it.
For some background to this rant, I want to tell you about something that happened in the high and far off times, when we were helping defend abortion clinics from fundie loonies down in the Deep South. The most basic human right is control of your own person, so I was out on the barricades, getting in people’s faces. (And you probably thought I didn’t really tilt at windmills.) I did not at the time know any gay people, at least not any that I was aware of. As a straight myself, I didn’t give it a lot of thought. That is the one huge freebie of privilege: you can be ignorant of it.
The first place where I came across lots of gays, female and male, was out on those barricades. Being a doofus, I was amazed. They explained to me, nicely, that sexual rights were not exactly a non-issue for them.
Oh. Yes. Yes, I could see that. But I was still very impressed that they’d go to all that trouble (some them had traveled hundreds of miles) to protect the rights of young women who might not even say hello to them, things being what they were at the time. I was so impressed that I started paying close attention to gay rights. I cared. I stopped being quite so ignorant. After that, they were my friends, damn it.
So what’s the point of this story? It’s that when someone fights for you, you become a whole lot more willing to fight for them. It also works the other way around. When people who you thought were your friends throw you under the bus, they cease to be your friends.
That’s what happened to me in this election. Through all the long desert decades of Republican rule and “centrist” bullshit, I kept hope alive. We dirty fucking hippies were right, and every day made that more clear. At some point, it would become so clear, the whole country would see it.
Well, it took stolen elections, and a terrible price in blood and money, but people seemed to be slowly waking up. And then the avalanche of Hillary hatred started. Almost all the progressive blogs had nothing good to say about her. The most civilized talked about how unelectable she was, despite her huge lead in every poll. The less civilized talked about what a witchy old bag she was. And the least civilized went down from there.
I’d never, in some forty years of watching politics, seen anything like it. McGovern never had a prayer, but he wasn’t treated like that. Mondale wasn’t taken seriously since we were at the height of Ronzo-fever then, but he was never treated like that. Dukakis was too short or too Greek or too smart to be President, but he was never treated like that. But Hillary? Among the progressives, blogs and old media, she was despicable, odious, nasty, dreadful, unelectable, ugly, strident, whiny, stiff, tearful . . . . I don’t need to tell anyone who’s paying attention what happened.
But I hadn’t expected it. It came as a complete surprise to me that the level of sexism and hatred of women was so huge. Because that’s what it was. No question about it. No non-genocidal human being can be the target of so much venom on her own merits. And I, me!, who’ve spent my life breathing fire on this topic, had no idea it was still so bad.
I’d just sort of blithely assumed that we were all advancing together. There was a long way to go, no doubt about that, but we were going together. Blacks, gays, women, Hispanics, WASPs capable of seeing past their own noses, I thought all of us were fighting together, for ourselves and for each other. It was a shock to find out that women, no matter which other group they also belonged to, were the only ones who were just supposed to be foot soldiers. Nobody had actually planned on fighting for them.
I really didn’t want to know that. The election was no longer about hope for me. It became a constant reminder of betrayal.
The candidates, however, can’t help the stupidity of their followers. If the candidates had shown strength and grace in the face of all this, I’d still be going to the polls in November. Obama with his nice speeches about a new dawn could have come out against the hatchet job being perpetrated on Clinton. He’s supposed to be big on civil rights. But it was all words. He’d thrown gays under the bus, women, even blacks, like his former pastor who’s no longer useful to him, or the voters in the first election he won. He was no better than the fauxgressives whom I now despised. I really didn’t want to know that either.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you only fight for your own rights, you’re not really for anyone’s rights. You’re just fighting for privilege.
However, this election isn’t going to be about anyone’s purity of spirit, of course. Given what’s on the other side, that would be a joke. If Obama loses, it won’t be because he’s not progressive enough (he isn’t), or because he panders to fundamentalists (he does). It’ll be because he’s black. That is so revolting, it’s almost enough to make me get out there and vote this November, in spite of all the betrayals.
Almost, but not quite. That’s how angry I am.
I know that not voting in November might get a Republican elected. I know what the results of that could be. This country has used up its good karma. I don’t know how many more criminals running the place it can absorb, but the answer could be none. Another round of corrupt, pandering jerks may well, really and truly, be the beginning of the end. And given the environmental crossroads where we stand, the consequences of that may be worse than the eventual end of just this country. I know all that. And I am so angry, I can’t bring myself to care. I’ve reached the “Burn, baby, burn” stage of political analysis.
We just have to hope that I’m the only one.