My eyes have been opened to the truth about so many varying issues this year that’s it’s difficult to process it all, let alone articulate it all. One of the most surprising things to see this election season is how elitist so many people on the left are. This happens even when you don’t expect, even when the blogger is normally writing about such issues as the working class and fighting against the elitism of the upper class left. The response to Palin in the PUMAsphere and the femosphere is exhibit A here.
Even as many of them have been kicked and screamed at and virtually beaten up (if not physically so in some cases), even as the Democratic Party threw parties celebrating their demise, they are still making the argument that a progressive will always vote progressive and that is the definition of progressivism. They argue that anyone who doesn’t vote for a Democrat or a third party leftist is not a prog. If you vote for Palin, you have misidentified, you were actually conservative or independent and too stupid to realize it. What this argument ignores is that it is relying on the same old shame arguments the left uses against women every election cycle. Is this really what they want? What you want? To be the victim of shame arguments? Will the PUMAsphere turn into a suburb of Obotopia? It looks like that could happen, judging from what’s being written at those blogs we’ve been visiting all summer. Check out some of it:
Anglachel, surprisingly enough, subscribes to this argument. To wit:
The political issue is bigger than Palin herself. There are a wide range of reactions to her selection and her ability to garner votes (as opposed to generate buzz) is probably narrow, though wider than it should have been. With regard to Democratic voters, putting Palin on the ticket should have had the same effect with Dem and Dem-leaning Independent women voters as putting Alan Keyes on the ticket would have had with Dem and Dem-leaning Independent AA voters, to wit, negligible. However, with the misogyny and Hillary-bashing of the primaries and the out-of-the-gate misogyinistic reactions to Palin herself, the Obamacans will suffer measureable attrition from this constituency. Among Hillary voters I have read and/or emailed with, most are laughing their asses off at the hysteria of the Obamacans, but most also are saying they won’t vote for a conservative. A significant number who were considering voting McKinney or simply leaving the ballot blank say they will vote Palin. None who said they would vote Obama are changing their minds.
That was mild enough, but she wasn’t done. Later that day she put this argument from Shakes front and center on her blog:
Now, there was never a real risk that progressives would vote for McCain en masse; those Hillary supporters who show up in polls as planning to vote for McCain may very well be Republican and Independent women who were voting for Clinton, not for the Democrats.
There has been, however, a real risk that progressives who are sick of the misogyny and sick about the direction the party was taking would sit this one out. And the Republicans were counting on that continuing.
I called her on it and she shot back a confusing response, claiming offense. And how am I supposed to feel, Anglachel, when you just rhetorically kicked me and those like me out of the Progressive group. That makes you like the Democratic Party in miniature, no?
Alegre has basically told people who will vote for Palin that they can be on her blog, but they can’t talk about their vote. They must focus on issues. No Palin or Obama, she said. Then the next day, after honoring her request (it is her blog after all) I dropped by for just a second to see a hit piece on Palin front and center on the front page. That one is full of sloppy rhetoric too, but it’s also definitely a hit piece on Palin at the end. So apparently, you can talk about Palin at Alegre’s Corner, as long as you’re willing to trash her. You just have to say something nice first, then you can dig in the dirt all you want. But don’t even think about promoting her, even as a strategic choice, because Alegre’s still got cooties from the last time she was anywhere near a Republican. That is how she comes across, ftr.
It’s sad really. I really had a lot of respect for her, but I wasn’t surprised by her reaction in the least. Anglachel, on the other hand, really surprised me.
Someone in comments here said they had noticed a decidedly authoritarian mindset descending upon the PUMAsphere (here used as shorthand for disaffected Hillary bloggers), and after what I’ve seen this weekend, I have to say, I can see how one would think that. People like Anglachel and Alegre and Zuzu at Shakes are using shame-based rhetoric to suggest to you that if you vote for Palin, you can’t be a progressive, and that is categorically untrue. It is a lie, and a dangerous one at that, because they just present it as opinion. (They would claim, I think, that they aren’t trying to persuade anybody, but that’s a bit disingenuous considering most of us are already well aware of how rhetoric has been used against women throughout history.) If you believe in free and fair elections, one person/one vote, the secret ballot, if you believe in the value of choice (which applies to more than JUST abortion), if you believe in diversity and equal pay and equal opportunity, you are a progressive, regardless of how you vote this time around.
I don’t quite understand the reason for this mindset . It’s not like progs for Palin are posting that if you don’t vote for her, you’re enabling misogyny everywhere. We seem to be some of the few disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters left who actually understand the rhetoric of “I own my vote.” FTR, I haven’t seen anything like this over at The Confluence or at PUMApac. They aren’t saying they’ll vote for McCain, but they appear to at least have respect enough for the movement and all we’ve been through, and an understanding of just how untrustworthy today’s leadership Dems are, and they aren’t inclined to help them rhetorically beat or shame women into submission. They understand that they have no authority whatsoever to identify people politically that way based on one vote. Bottom line: A progressive who votes for a non-progressive is still a progressive. Otherwise, we’re into the old racist one-drop territory. I mean, for christ’s sake, isn’t that one of the major characteristics of a progressive? An open mind?
UPDATE: Check out this great video from commenter and blogger Carpetride:
A fantastic LIVE version of Chain of Fools (I love me some Aretha), as well as a good message. Thanks CR!