Liveblogging Election Day

Anyone who reads this blog is well aware of how important tomorrow is.  Though I have a day job, I suspect I’ll spend most of the day and night looking at election coverage and the growing clusterfuck that is mismanaged polling places.  I’ll update the post or add comments as much as I can with links and news I come across, and I hope you’ll all join in the comments, too.  Let us know you voted, what the experiences was like, any local or national news on the election.  Hopefully, at the end of the day, we’ll be able to celebrate an Obama victory and go to sleep knowing that, in a few short months, our long national nightmare will be over.

On politics and why I haven’t been blogging them lately

So when ABW invited me to become a regular contributor I did so with the understanding that I would blog about the political scene that had her so disgusted. At the time I was absolutely engaged in the process and watching news coverage of the primaries and caucuses like a fiend. Now, I can barely stomach reading the results, much less listening to the pundits going over the same ground from week to week.

Somewhere between the uproar over Rev. Wright and the lack of uproar over McCain’s connection to Rev. Hagee I find myself disheartened by our political process. I know that McCain is not Hagee and it seems so does most of America (assuming of course they’ve ever heard Hagee’s rhetoric), but that same courtesy isn’t being extended to Obama. There’s a lot of talk about his campaing floundering courtesy of his association with a “controversial” preacher as though his entire life is defined by the church. Funny how that standard only seems to apply to him in this election. We all know my laundry list of issues with Hillary’s campaign so I won’t bother to dig into why there’s not a word being said about her religious affiliations despite that Mother Jones article linking her to The Family* last year.

Lately I’m in a place where I feel like much of America has lost sight of the reason we hold elections. So, where do I go from here? I don’t know. I’ll vote in the fall one way or another, but I think our process is broken and needs an overhaul in the worst way. Unfortunately, the people in a position to overhaul it are often too caught up in sound bites to wonder why the people providing those clips aren’t focused on the actual candidates or the issues and are instead busy derailing the political conversations from where they should be, to places that have nothing to do with who is the best person for the job.

*Also known as The Fellowship, The Fellowship Foundation, and The International Foundation they are a Christian political organization led Doug Coe for the last 40 years. They are not the same group as The Family led by David Berg that was also known as Children of God.

Karnythia is a writer, a historian, and occasionally a loud mouth. In between raising hell and raising kids she usually manages to find time to contemplate the meaning of life as a black woman in America. Her posts on any topic can be found at her Livejournal.

Racism in my feminism? You don’t say…

Hillary Clinton: Bow to the man, and take the vice presidency. Let our country heal. You will run in eight years and be unstoppable as a visionary world leader. You must pass through this filter first though: bow to the man.

Now, I’ll bet reading that made you want to reach for a hammer right? You’re thinking “What kind of sexist BS is this?” and possibly questioning my sanity. You’re right. It is sexist and I would sound insane if I were typing something like this with any serious intentions behind it. Of course it would be even more ludicrous if this was actually being widely disseminated and had people agreeing with it, but that’ll never happen right? Right. Except…something like it is being disseminated and people are agreeing with it. The message is a little different though. It actually reads:

“Barack Obama: Bow to the woman, and take the vice presidency. Let our country heal. You will run in eight years and be unstoppable as a visionary world leader. You must pass through this filter first though: bow to the woman.”

and there are people that actually think this racist drivel has some validity. Now, I know at least a few people are thinking “Well it’s Roseanne Barr, who cares what she has to say?” and that’s probably a pretty valid response for most things. But right now she’s actually just voicing the thought a lot of white feminists are harboring as they spout things like “Black men had the vote first” or when they start talking about those pesky brown women putting their skin before their gender and then have the temerity to start trying to chastise us for not operating in sisterhood. She left out the word “white” before woman, but the subtext is there for all the world to see.

Perhaps this is one of those things that hasn’t been made clear in previous years so I’m going to make it clear now. I’m not going to side with a bigot against a black man. I’m not going to side with a bigot against a black woman. In fact? I’m not going to side with a bigot period. SNL had a sketch this week that is (I think) meant to be lampooning Hillary’s desperation, but if you only catch the middle of the sketch? It’s pretty damned racist. And it’s not like this phenomenon is restricted to entertainers. Gloria Steinem, Erica Jong, and Robyn Morgan have also weighed in, and in some really ugly ways all while claiming to be looking out for all women. Meanwhile Hillary’s campaign has given them no reason to stop as she can’t even be bothered to say that these tactics are unacceptable. On the contrary, her official campaign has been busy indulging in similar behavior, and then insisting that Obama is playing the race card when there’s even a hint of protest at the egregious displays of race-baiting. Shockingly, racism is visible well before someone sets a cross on fire in the front yard and claiming to mean no offense while repeatedly using bigotry as a campaign tactic isn’t going to fly.

It’s been very clear throughout this election cycle that racism was going to be a factor even as people swore up and down that sexism was worse than racism. There’s this underlying idea that gender and race can be separated and that when people speak of women that umbrella means that all women (regardless of ethnicity) have the same concerns and so in this election getting to see a woman in power is far more important than any other consideration. Yet when you sit down and look at the history of the feminist movement and the transition to women being in the workplace? You’re primarily talking about white women. WOC were already working. Usually in low paying jobs with no future and only a guarantee of the work being physically and emotionally draining. In fact that transition of white women to the workforce took place in large part because white women were able to hand over the care of their children to poor WOC who were shut out of even pink collar jobs for years after white women were free to pursue the dream of having it all.

That same attitude is still prevalent with so many white feminists who are willing to insist that WOC should support this grand achievement while ignoring the reality that putting a bigot (and before someone fires off an angry comment or email insisting Hillary’s background is proof she isn’t racist, think about that old adage with the ducks) in the White House isn’t exactly in the best interests of WOC. Being a feminist doesn’t make you immune to racism, or classism, or any of the other ‘isms that are so frequently discussed in feminist circles. But, it seems to be one of the few ‘isms that is accepted as long as it’s displayed with a (thin) veneer of being about fighting the patriarchy. Look at the rhetoric from Marion Wagner, a regional director of NOW

“The issue that’s not being talked about in this campaign is the blatant sexism,” Wagner said, her words echoing off the granite walls. “There are some people who promote Barack Obama because they want anybody but a woman. Would they like a white man instead of a black man? Of course. But they’ll take a black man over a woman. I never thought, in 2008, that we’d still be dealing with this.”

who then goes on to say that Obama pulling out Hillary’s chair is evidence of his sexism just to make sure we know she’s not upset that he’s a black candidate. Which would sound great if it weren’t for the part of the article where she (like so many other white feminists) is quick to jump on the bandwagon that a vote for Obama from black women couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the issues. No, it’s all about them choosing race over gender which I guess is an easy assumption to make if you can’t be bothered to listen to black women that aren’t willing to follow your lead. After all, it’s not like they have the capacity or the right to think for themselves. Oh wait…

There’s an ever growing gap in the feminist movement, and I’m sure the argument is going to be made that WOC aren’t willing to do what it takes to bridge the gap while ignoring that the prospect of dealing with the internalized racism of so-called allies just isn’t an attractive proposition. It’s not sisterhood if the movement insists on treating WOC alternately like mules, children, or part of the scenery unless it needs their support. Would I like to see a woman in the White House? Sure. But I’d really like that woman to be someone who doesn’t think she has a right to my vote. Who recognizes me as an intelligent person with valid concerns even if they are different from her concerns. Who can grasp the idea that my skin color and my gender are a part of who I am; but they are not all that I am, and thus listening to what I have to say is necessary and important in order to help me achieve MY goals. I want to vote for a female President because I believe in her, not because she’s Miss Daisy.

Karnythia is a writer, a historian, and occasionally a loud mouth. In between raising hell and raising kids she usually manages to find time to contemplate the meaning of life as a black woman in America.” Her posts on any topic can be found at her Livejournal.

Whatever happened to peace?

So theoretically tomorrow’s batch of primaries is make it or break it for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Leaving aside my preference for Obama I have to say I really hope this does wrap things up just so the infighting in the Democratic party can stop and we can all move on to the real work of electing a new leader for this country. It feels like the lead up to the November primary is the longest stretch in history between the announcement of candidacy to an actual election. And so much of the sturm und drang surrounding it is just pointless. I don’t really care if someone planned their candidacy from kindergarten or wears the wrong earrings or looks too old. I care about what they’re going to do when they get into office. But we’re still at that stage where every facial expression merits tons of discussion by the pundits on whether or not looking tired one day means a candidate doesn’t have the stamina for the long haul of press junkets, speeches, and rallys. Because those details are super-important when determining the leader of the free world.

Meanwhile the U.S. is blowing up houses (this time in Somalia) and claiming once again that it was to stop terrorists. Somehow I suspect that we’ve injured and/or killed a bunch of innocent people without actually doing a thing to cut down on the danger from terrorist attacks. I also find it really interesting that we’re so quick to use bombs when the suspected terrorists and their neighbors are POC, but no one is in any rush to use explosives inside the U.S. against our homegrown terrorists. Is collateral damage only acceptable when the collateral isn’t a citizen? I’m terribly cynical today about what our country is doing in the world at large. This election cycle is so important and not just in terms of making history, it’s so important that we change tactics. Diplomacy can work if we try it. And no, I’m not naive enough to think it can fix everything, but it’s not like the bombs and bullets are doing that great of a job either. It’s past time we change tactics and start acting like we’re part of a global community instead of just being the bully with the biggest fists.

I’ve referenced the idea of in our lifetime before without ever really getting around to articulating what it means to the people who want to see a president that isn’t a white male. Well now I have to add that I want to see a president in my life time that doesn’t think a military solution is automatically the best solution. I know peace isn’t always possible, but whatever happened to working toward it? Did we just give up on the idea that everyone could co-exist on this planet? I’m a big reader of sci-fi and one of the most popular myths about the future is that we’ll function as a planet united against the enemy invaders. Right now I think if aliens did come to attack the planet a good sized chunk of the Earth’s population would sit around cheering the destruction of their enemies without considering what would happen once the aliens were done with the other guy. It’s important to a lot of people that they get the chance to see someone that looks like them be the one in charge, but let’s not forget how important it is that the person in charge actually make the effort to do the right thing.

Karnythia is a writer, a historian, and occasionally a loud mouth. In between raising hell and raising kids she usually manages to find time to contemplate the meaning of life as a black woman in America.” Her posts on any topic (including a copy of this one) can be found at her Livejournal.

Political Monday: We Are In A Historical Moment

I’ve tried to write this post so many times, but mainly it just comes out boring and wrong-sounding. Still, I feel the need to remark on something. Barack Obama won the South Carolina primary. Before that he won the Iowa caucus. Hilary Clinton won New Hampshire. An din every contest thus far John Edwards has come in third.

Now, I must say that I do like John Edwards best, myself. However, how fucking momentous is it that, in America, the white guy is behind both the black man and the woman?

This is a serious matter here, people. This is the first time that a black man’s bid for president has ever, ever been this strong. To win one primary? To even come close in any? [in comments, I am totally pwned by history]

This is the first time, as far as I know, that a woman’s bid for president has come this far (unless Geraldine Ferraro did better than I remember).

It’s crazy that we’re in 2008 and only now, for the first time, is it really a consideration that Obama or Ms. Clinton will be sitting in the White House this time next year. But it’s an exciting prospect.

Yes, I agree with those who say that your vote should not depend solely on gender or race (but a big FUCK YOU to Bill Clinton on that score). But neither should those attributes be ignored. Because being a woman or being a black person is as much a part of who you are as your morals or political views or worldview. It will inform the decisions you make. For my part, I long for someone without one of the major icky privileges to get this job. Be it white privilege or male privilege. Sadly, we’re going to have to deal with one or the other, plus economic privilege and a host of others.

I’m excited, though. Everything else about this election annoys me except for the fact that here, in America, we’re seriously talking about electing one of these people.

It’s about damn time!

Lott Resigns; America Says, “Wait, he was still in the Senate??”

The big political news today (that doesn’t have to do with the election) is that Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, is resigning by the end of the year.

“Trish and I have decided that it’s time to do something else,” Lott said, referring to his wife.

“Let me be clear: There are no problems,” Lott said.
[...]
Lott said he did not have a position lined up for him after he leaves the Senate, but sources tell CNN Lott plans to join the private sector. Lott also said he was considering teaching.

Two GOP sources close to Lott said they were not surprised by Lott’s decision to retire.

“He’s wanted to go into the private sector for a long time,” one source said. “He stayed because of Katrina. Mississippi is doing very well, and he’s delivered what he needed to deliver.”
[...]
Republican sources close to Lott said one reason for Lott’s decision to resign is the new lobbying restrictions on former lawmakers.

A law kicks in on January 1 that forbids lawmakers from lobbying for two years after leaving office. Those who leave by the end of 2007 are covered by the previous law, which demands a wait of only one year.

“He wants to go make a living; he has no money,” a GOP source said. “He’ll be acting as a lobbyist and political adviser.”

The source also said Lott wanted to leave now so that the person appointed to replace him would have almost a year in the Senate before facing the voters during the elections in November 2008.

You can always count on Republicans to tell the truth, huh?

The thing that gets me about this resignation is: Why was he still in the Senate to begin with? This is Trent “We wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years if Strom Thurmond had been elected president” Lott. The guy who basically exposed himself as an ignorant bigot on C-SPAN and yet was re-elected by a majority of the good voters of Mississippi.

(More information about why the Thurmond comment constitutes ignorant bigotry can be found on the Internet.)

I realize that, at the time of his statement (2002) we were already deep into “Bush is Jesus/Republicans are the choir of angels” thinking, but why wasn’t he rousted out after last year’s election? The Democrats weren’t able to stop the war, bring the Constitution back into style, or give healthcare to children, but surely they could have put together a resolution to smack Lott around a little bit?

This is one of the reasons I get so apathetic about politics. Sure, every now and then I’ll feel a burst of energy and want to pitch in, help out, change the world, etc. But then I realize that people like Trent Lott still have their jobs and no one is doing anything about it (except him). It’s demoralizing.

It also makes me wonder how many other not-so-hidden bigots are still serving and how long we’ll have to wait for this generation of douchebags to die.

Political Monday Debate – Barack vs. Hillary

Barak and Hilary Debate

I know it’s Tuesday, but I was away yesterday and I would really like to have this Political Monday/Monday Debate this week, so we’ll pretend it’s Monday here on the ABW. After all, according to recent commenters we are all retards, anyway.

[sidenote - yes, I banned him, and I went back and disemvoweled most of what he posted.]

For months now, there have been two clear frontrunners on the Democratic party side: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It’s interesting that, in many ways, these two people are vying for much the same slice of the populace, yet they are very different and don’t seem to like each other much.

I don’t think it’s a forgone conclusion that one of them will get the nomination. But I do have a strong feeling that, if one of them gets it, there’s been too much bad blood and snarking for the other to slip into the VP slot. So I guess all of us will have to make a choice — no double minority action for us!

Thus this debate. Which of these two candidates do you prefer and why? And if you don’t like either of them, this is your chance to tell us why. Gut feelings and surface impressions are okay, but specific reasons and links or quotes are even better. If you’re for a candidate, persuade us on-the-fencers with your strong conviction. If you’re against, do the same.

The Rules for this debate/discussion are the same as in general. Be passionate but not rude, attempt to refrain from ad hominem attacks, remember that the other commenters are real people, assume high intelligence until others prove you wrong.

Political Monday: Giuliani and the Race Race

Let’s talk about Rudy Giuliani for a bit.

Yeah, I know he’s a Republican and you all know I’m a liberal, so why am I talking about Rudy? I’m so glad you asked.

This is the first wide-open election in a really long time. The first in my lifetime, certainly, when both the Republican and Democratic nominations are up for grabs. Yeah, I’m completely annoyed that we’re starting this campaign process so early, but it does provide a chance to see a different dynamic going on. That means paying attention to both sides of the coin.

Though most people reading this blog are probably liberal, not all PoC are firmly in the Democrat’s camp. Therefore, it’s important to look at the Right as well as the Left, see what they have to say, and vet their candidates as carefully as we do the other side.

Knowing your enemy makes it easier to debate and win debates with people about said enemy. And it’s pretty clear to me that Rudy Giuliani is the enemy.

I lived in New York through a good chunk of Rudy’s administration. And as much as he is praised (or praises himself) for cleaning up the city and making it great again, I still wonder if doing so came at too high a cost. Not that he was solely responsible for halting the city’s decline, no matter what he says. And the reforms he put in place seem to be directly responsible for the Disnification of Manhattan, a blasphemous tragedy that we New Yorkers rail against every day.

What you won’t hear Rudy talking about — and what matters far more than his getting rid of all the porn on Time’s Square — is his terrible racial politics and how it negatively impacted the people of New York. If let anywhere near the White House, he’ll do more of the same.

In the August Harper’s, Kevin Baker published a detailed profile of America’s Mayor, laying out a lot of his actions that never seem to get a mention during a stump speech or the debates. From his campaign against David Dinkins, the city’s first black mayor, to his pathetic response to NYPD’s criminally racist actions against the city’s citizens, Rudy has a lot to be ashamed of.

Giuliani… watched the winning side in the 1972 election and internalized a strategy that was honed by the likes of George Wallace, Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan over the course of nearly two decades. That strategy can best be described as a sort of “anti-populism,” a worldview in which the well-off are continually beset by the poor, the privileged by the disinherited, the white by the black.
[...]
Giuliani countered the encouraging statistics with a ruthless campaign designed to reaffirm New Yorkers’ worst fears about their city, what The New York Times Magazine would call “the race race.” In part this effort was viciously, relentlessly personal, designed to challenge Dinkins’s very legitimacy as mayor. Often the dirty work was done by surrogates, such as Giuliani crony Jackie Mason, the comedian, who publicly dismissed Dinkins as nothing but “a fancy shvartzer with a mustache.” The same Times article noted a more harrowing incident in the fall of 1992, in which Giuliani gave a profanity-laced speech that inflamed a mob of some 10,000 “raucous, beer-drinking, overwhelmingly white police officers” who had just finished a march on City Hall to protest a Dinkins-backed proposal for civilian oversight of police-misconduct complaints. Many in the mob spewed racial epithets and carried signs condemning Dinkins in grossly racial terms, including one that read, “Dump the washroom attendant!” Giuliani’s complicity in this disgraceful incident was dutifully condemned by the media …which nonetheless validated the same stereotypes.
[...]
Seeking to elide the steadily dropping crime statistics, Giuliani resorted to more racial code, charging in a speech that Dinkins “might as well have held a ceremony in which he turned the neighborhoods over to the drug dealers. As far as I’m concerned, there is no future in surrender.” The very slogan of his 1993 campaign, “One Standard, One City,” implied that somehow black New Yorkers were getting away with something under a black mayor. Sure, crime might be falling, but what really mattered to New Yorkers was something called “quality of life”—a nebulous state of grace that was thwarted by all signs of disorder on the streets, from open drug dealing to aggressive panhandling to uncollected trash, and of course those darn squeegee men.
[...]
Race never went away either. Without quite saying so, Giuliani made it clear that white people would no longer be on the defensive in his city. His administration was punctuated by a series of ugly incidents, including the fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed man mistaken for a rapist by four plainclothes police detectives who fired forty-one unanswered bullets at him; the fatal shooting of a club security guard, Patrick Dorismond, after he was approached at random by undercover narcotics officers who insisted that he sell them crack; and the brutal rape of a suspect, Abner Louima, by police officers armed with a broken broom handle.

Any protests over such actions were usually greeted with indifference or renewed shows of force on the part of the mayor. Giuliani confronted mourners of the world’s AIDS victims with police snipers on the roof of City Hall, intimidated demonstrators by ensuring that they spent as much time as possible being put “through the system,” and summoned an unnerving array of heavily armed police, complete with hovering helicopters, to virtually “lock down” part of Harlem when a noxious black nationalist dared to hold a rally there. In the case of Dorismond, the murdered guard, Giuliani went so far as to illegally open and leak the contents of his juvenile police file to the public.

I find it very interesting that a lot of the talk around Giuliani focuses on matters that are trivial when compared to some of the stuff talked about in this article. Yes, his three marriages and his swervy position on abortion are important factors. But not nearly as troubling as the prospect of a president who so completely disregards PoC and has already taken a position that white folks are “under siege”.

If his campaign against Dinkins is to be the template for his presidential campaign, then I’m really not up for Giuliani vs. Obama. I’m disgusted enough with politics. Having to watch that unfold may finally make me secede from the union.

Are there any Rudy supporters out there? Any ready to debate (civilly) the non-supporters?

I’m also interested in seeing some more articles and different viewpoints on Giuliani. Like I said, know thy enemy. Even if he doesn’t get the nomination or the VP spot, he might still get a spot in the nightmare possibility of another Republican administration.

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