Reading Roundup: Pro-Woman Edition

Amy Siskind’s HuffPo piece on the continuing failures of feminism. Highly recommended. The comments alone are worth the trip. I never miss the chance to screw with the heads of tribalist Democrats. Never.

Bachmann deftly using personal issues for emotional effect. This is part of her appeal. She can move between so many rhetorical angles. And by all accounts from people who actually knew or know her, she’s charismatic as hell.

The Republican angle on having Bachmann and Palin in the race. Hint: Does not involve porn or mud wrestling.

My two favorite topics–women in politics and women from history–combined rather nicely in this article.

While I’m here, let me remind you that some progressive dudes and their vagbot allies organized themselves under the table to screw with Clinton supporters in comments all over the web in 2008. We would be remiss if we failed to return the favor. So get yourself a stealth ID, copy it to the places you’re reading, and screw them right back. I’ve been doing it for months and it’s fantastic fun.

Michele Bachmann and the Vile, Sexist Media

Well, it has been quite an interesting few days as Michele Bachmann has officially announced her presidential bid in the wake of a excellent performance in the first GOP debate, and the media has pounced in what can only be described as a Palinization of her. Some people aren’t convinced that she’s been subject to sexist treatment, thus this article had to be written. Here we go again, just like 2008.

I’ve heard it all regarding Michele Bachmann this week, including that I should be opposed to her because she’s stupid, evangelical, a flake, gaffe-ridden, unaccomplished, a cupcake, etc. Not once has someone offered the elegant opinion that I should be opposed because we hold different political opinions on some issues, but I will address that argument as well.

First, she’s not stupid. Not by any stretch of the imagination. One can’t complete a post-graduate degree from William & Mary and be stupid, for goodness sake. In addition, the woman practiced law for a number of years and performed rather competently in that role. A woman who has raised five children, all with excellent academic records, is likely not stupid either.

She might be an evangelical, but I should care why? Politics is riddled with evangelicals. But let’s look at the religious inclinations of the men in the game. Our current president was captive to Black Liberation Theology for some 20 years, one of the most poisonous and racist dogmas there is. He has surrounded himself with religious people, including Donnie McClurkin (as well as other “ex-gay” ministers) and Reverend Rick Warren, who are as unfriendly to gay issues as Bachmann is. Warren–and Obama–might even be more hostile. Meanwhile, the frontrunner of the GOP is a Mormon who wears secret underwear, among other bizarre practices, which is a topic the press has refused to touch. So tell me again why I should care about Bachmann’s religious views when what matters most to me are fiscal issues and breaking that glass ceiling? These are the two reasons I will vote for her despite the fact that we disagree on a number of social issues.

A flake? Seriously? Um, again, Romney is a Mormon and the only people in the religious spectrum flakier than Mormons are Scientologists. Let’s look at Dennis Kucinich, who is sure to run a presidential campaign in 2016, if not 2012. The man believes he has seen UFOs. Former Representative Weiner is so flaky he can’t tell the difference between a Direct Message and a public tweet on twitter (Might I recommend Twitter for Dummies, Tony? Can I call you Tony?). Ron Paul wants to restore us to the Gold Standard, which would take us back to 1928 (which isn’t as flaky as it seems, except to Wall Street and Washington/media insiders). Numerous male politicians on both sides of the aisle have been caught lying about their military records (something easy to check). Jesse Jackson, Jr. likely tried to buy Obama’s Senate seat while Gov. Blagojevich was definitely selling it.

Jesse Jackson, Sr. fathered a child out of wedlock (while he was married, of course), as did former CA governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and now deceased Senator Strom Thurmond (a bi-racial child fathered by a racist! Does it get any flakier than that?); President Bill Clinton accepted blow jobs from a 21-year old intern in the White House. As if 21-year-olds and interns can be trusted with secrecy, duh. All of these men and their actions, which I am recalling just off the top of my head, are flaky, but have never, with the exception of Kucinich and Paul, been identified as “flaky” in the press. That’s because “flaky” is a word we like to apply to females and beta males, which would definitely characterize Kucinich and Paul.

Let’s take a close look at the so-called John Wayne “gaffe” the media manufactured. Continue reading

Obama, Race, & Gay Marriage

The gay, lesbian & bisexual (GLB) community has rightfully been upset over President Obama’s most recent remarks about gay marriage, which he gave at a GLBT fundraiser in New York as that state inched closer to passing a bill legalizing same sex marriage (the bill passed last night as this article was prepared for publication). His position, it turns out, is not that far from Michele Bachmann and other several other Republicans, who also believe the issue is a states-rights issue. Obama’s categorically conservative argument hasn’t been very thoroughly discussed, I suspect because once again progressives are left confused as to why their side would act so much like their perception of the other side.

Because of this confusion, two things have slipped by that really deserve analysis and comment. On should have been obvious, since he mentioned it in the same speech: DOMA. Even if several states passed gay marriage laws, they would still be federally forbidden–a special (and thus unconstitutional) exclusion–by DOMA from being recognized in any state that hasn’t adopted gay marriage with language expressly recognizing gay marriages from other states, even if the state doesn’t have legislation expressly banning it. Federal action will be required at some point to remove DOMA from the books. That didn’t happen during two years when Democrats had full control of Washington, suggesting that it wasn’t a priority for Obama (or Democrats).

The other issue is trickier. It is a matter of race, and race is always a sticky issue to discuss. As most honest, ethical people are aware, being called a racist is one of the worst non-criminal epithets to lob at someone, and the term has been bandied about like so glitter since Obama’s campaign picked up steam after the South Carolina primary vote in 2008. I suspect this is the reason that few, if any, bloggers are discussing the issue of race and homophobia and how these factors might be related to Obama and his stance on gay marriage, and his reluctance on gay issues overall.

Discussions of race in this country have not evolved past the Civil Rights era for a number of reasons, primary among them the double edged sword of white guilt and black cultural paranoia. These phenomenon exist because a political party promoting an ideology–namely Democrats–have a vested interest in focusing discussions of race on the history of white people, i.e. slavery, Jim Crow, etc.

But what about black people? What about today? There are several areas where the majority of black citizens disagree with the Party they support in such large numbers, including religious influence in politics, abortion, and gay rights. In light of this, could Obama’s politicking on gay marriage be considered a dog whistle to the black community? Or, could it be that does he not support gay marriage because of his exposure to black culture (which came rather late in his life), especially his religious indoctrination during his almost 20 years attending Rev. Wright’s church? In short, does he not support gay rights publicly because he needs blacks, or because he is black? Aren’t these fair questions to ask if we want to get at what’s driving his policies?

To understand this issue properly, one must examine the fact that the demographic group least likely to support gay marriage is the black demographic. It is also the demographic experiencing the slowest growth in support of gay marriage. In 2009, just 28% of blacks supported gay marriage, compared with 39% of whites and 45% of Hispanics (the majority of whom are Catholic, it should be noted, a religion whose leaders and traditions are opposed to homosexuality). Just a year later, white support had grown by 5% to 44%, while black support moved a mere 2 percentage points, to 30%. Interestingly, according to that same poll, Midwesterners and Southerners (the groups most often held accountable by progressives for lack of progress on gay rights) are now evenly split over the issue of gay marriage, with the south having a slight edge:

Americans living in the Midwest are now evenly split over same-sex marriage; 44% favor and 44% oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Opinion has shifted substantially since 2008 and 2009 when only 36% in the Midwest favored this and 54% were opposed. Support also is up in the South but a majority (55%) continues to oppose allowing same-sex marriage. As was the case over the past two years, more in the Northeast favor than oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally (49% vs. 41%). Those living in the West are about evenly divided in their opinion (47% favor, 45% oppose).

Homophobia in the black community has been documented, but it does not get the discussion it deserves. Maybe it should when we are being governed by our first black president, and his actions on gay issues are both in conflict with the majority of his constituencies’ opinions, and the nation’s. After Proposition 8 passed in California the same night that Obama got elected, this issue did get some attention because 70% of black California voters voted for Proposition 8, which amended the CA constitution to effectively ban gay marriage by declaring marriage be defined as the matrimony of one man to one woman. Very soon after that discussion began it was shut down to howls of “racist,” especially from those who were neither black nor gay. The charge of racism was supported by an argument of numbers: Since black CA voters comprised about 10% of the electorate, they couldn’t be to blame, even though the margin fell well below 10% (the proposition passed 52% to 48%).

The math on this argument is fuzzy indeed, because if the black community in CA had split more evenly–as other ethnic groups did–the proposition would have been defeated. Black support for Prop 8 was the highest in the state by race, roughly 70%, surpassing white (45%) and Hispanic support (53%). One famous study came up with even fuzzier math by trying to control for church attendance, the implication being that it was only evangelical blacks who had supported Prop 8. This led to several unresolved question, which were neither asked nor answered.

For example, 82% of blacks nationally are church members, and the same amount say that religion is “very important” in their lives. These numbers are significantly higher than for whites nationally. Controlling for church attendance would then seem a bit disingenuous, since it would shift significant blame from black voters race to their religious views. But aren’t we told there a causal relationship between religion and a person’s beliefs about gay rights (and by extension, marriage)? And why are evangelicals and other Protestants still segregating by race in their religious institutions? What about Hispanics? Their demographic is almost as religiously inclined as blacks, yet they also split pretty evenly on Prop 8. And why didn’t progressives and gay activists react to black CA evangelical voters with the same venom they’d reserved for white evangelicals, or at the very least question their loyalty on the issue? Continue reading

Jack & Jill’s Icognegro

I was just reading Jill’s most recent racist diatribe, wherein she and some dude named Elon with a penchant for lame puns went “Incognegro” to the Right Online convention. Apparently she was pissed off that they held their conventions simultaneously and in the same city as Netroots Nation (same hotel! the fucking gall! What is this, a free country?). I had to stop at this paragraph:

Racism can happen unintentionally and it can be part of a system that oppresses rather than about bigoted individuals. Policies can have a distorting impact on different ethnic groups. Racism isn’t just about thinking someone is unequal to you which I don’t think is actually where much of the right wing wants to see itself. It’s also about promoting legislation that perpetuates or exacerbates legacy inequalities, even if inadvertently.

You mean like welfare? I know, too easy.

It goes on and on, a blind, ultra-partisan whinefest, when it’s not a racist rant. Note to Jill: calling it racist to dislike the flashmob of hijab wearing progressives you helped organize to disrupt their meeting will not resonate with the older white folks you might hope to reach. And for the record, Republicans label almost all their enemies as communist, so it is not in any way a special form of racism to call Obama communist or socialist. It actually means he’s receiving equal treatment. Dufus. And really, the “heart of a liberal” joke “scared” you? Yeah, I’m totally buying that. Maybe you shouldn’t try so hard to take offense at every little thing, else you might be accused of promoting black cultural paranoia. Continue reading