Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Campaign to Boycott the Election

I have been sitting here tonight watching the convention on CNN. It is soooo long and soooo boring. CNN isn't even covering the speeches... just endless yuckety-yuck punditry as the speeches drone on in the background. I don't think I'll be able to take another night of this.

But while I've been enduring this protracted nonsense I've been busily googling and reading, finding places to plant my campaign to boycott the election. I have left various versions of my message, but this is the current form:
At the 2008 Democratic National Convention Hillary Clinton challenged her supporters to support Obama by saying, “I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me?” As a Hillary Clinton supporter, my answer is “No.” My interest was in finding a qualified person to be president. That is still my major concern.

But along the way, something else happened. The candidate I supported, who happened to be a woman, was ridiculed and demonized for being female. Over the last year I watched major media personalities say that Hillary is like a nagging ex-wife or that they were afraid that she would castrate them. Her biggest failing, we were told, was that she had a sense of entitlement – and people accepted that as fair criticism. The media was more interested in the husband than the candidate. She was criticized for her laugh, ankles, age, clothing. She was called shrill, a hypocrite, too mannish, too womanish. The final kick in the teeth was that the winner, his party and most of the media deny that there was even a problem and seem completely unwilling to address the issue.

I was profoundly disappointed that Obama did not choose a woman to be his VP, or even seriously consider the woman who got nearly half the vote. I continue to be appalled at the unequal treatment of Hillary as the losing candidate: no man has ever been expected to grovel to the winner so thoroughly. I don't understand why Obama has not made efforts to reach out to Hillary supporters and unify the party.

I don’t dislike Obama or Biden; I just refuse to sit by and accept that the first serious female candidate could be demonized and ridiculed for being female. There were multiple factors in her defeat, but the biggest and ugliest was pervasive, blatant sexism. We got the message loud and clear that a woman would not be taken seriously for president.

Consequently, if Obama and the party continue to ignore my concerns, then as a Democrat and a Hillary supporter I am planning to boycott this election. My goal is to send a message to the Democratic party that I will not stand for the treatment of women that occurred in the Democratic primaries; and that my future support depends on equal representation for women.

Under-representation and sexism have been around forever, and all we get is empty promises without sufficient progress. They'll remember us if we throw the election. It's short term pain for long term gain.

Women represent 51% of the population and yet have minuscule representation in the power elite. I want the backroom boys to get very worried about running a campaign without a woman on the ticket. I want them to start to get serious about moving to equal representation in congress, the cabinet, the judiciary, senior government posts, corporate directorships and senior management. I want them to see women as a demographic they have to take seriously.

My boycott is not in support of Hillary. If Hillary’s supporters turn their backs on Obama it could rebound very negatively on her: no matter what she does, she will be blamed for it. But this is not about her. This is about drawing a line in the sand and saying I will not take this anymore.

This text was updated on August 28.



KC said...

If John McCain picks the next US Supreme Court Justice Roe v. Wade will be relegated to the dustbin of history and the old hanger in the back alley is back in style. Hopefully that is something that "feminists" consider when they boycott a perfectly capable, progressive individual who has risen from humble roots against all odds to where he is today. Black Americans have been waiting just as long as women to see one of their own in the White House.

I categorically reject your assertion in your comments to your last post that racism was but a side show in the primaries. It was as potent and damaging a factor as the sexism you rail against. The results in West Virginia and Kentucky are a testimony to that fact. But hey... "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina" right?

Scott Tribe said...

Hillary Clinton:

"I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?"

That's addressed to her supporters Yappa.. to you.

More from Clinton:

"Those are the reasons I ran for President. Those are the reasons I support Barack Obama. And those are the reasons you should too... Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.

I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come election day. And think about the choices your parents and grandparents made that had such a big impact on your life and on the life of our nation."

Inspiring words tonight. Let's hope her former supporters like yourself have the wisdom to listen to her.

Molly said...

Next time watch MSNBC. I left CNN in the dust back in March when I got tired of their idea of fair coverage of an event, which usually equaled 3 pundits for Obama, one republican, and a moderator (most times also for Obama). 9/10 times it turned into a Hillary slam fest.

Anonymous said...

I'm on board with one caveat... the campaign's not over... they can still address our issues... Admit there's a problem, pledge to act, propose a role for HC... There's disunity in the party and it's up to Obama and the party to heal it. No more of this crap that it's Hillary's responsibility. she did as much as she can do last night.

RuralSandi said...

So, by not voting you are taking away a vote from the Democrats who will not be helping your cause as a woman at all.

Think about the Supreme Court
Think about how you would be letting the Republicans win and destroying any progress made.

You really are being selfish here. You would be letting Hillary down and women down in general.

Think about what you are doing - you are letting the cause slip away. The long, hard road to get to this point and you want to let it die.

If you trusted Hillary and her judgment - why are you letting her down.

Think about it - she can pressure Obama in this area.

In essence, as a supporter of Hillary you are betraying her.

Is that fair after the hard fight?

Anonymous said...

Trying to make sense of this whole thing any way I can. Is it possible that putting Hillary Clinton on the ticket as VP would have been more than "middle" America could tolerate--a black man and a white woman? Gadzooks, that would indeed upset the apple-cart. However, I wonder if Obama doesn't have some very high position in mind for Ms. Clinton if and when he gets elected like Secretary of State. It makes more sense than completely ignoring her and the Clinton legacy whatever some might think of it. I can't believe he'd be or his campaign chiefs would be that foolish. I also wonder if part of his apology, if you will, will be to appoint more women to the inner circles of power. Just a thought.

Yappa said...

Hi anonymous at 10:15 -

All that sounds great, except I don't think that Obama perceives any problem to do with women, and I don't think he has any plans to use Hillary in his administration. Since he won he has done virtually nothing to reach out to her or include her. (He has done a fair bit to reach out to her fund raisers however.) I don't get the feeling that he feels very chummy towards his adversaries.

I have never heard him address issues of sexism or lack of representation of women. I think at this point, even if he realized those were legitimate concerns, he wouldn't admit to them because it might undermine his victory. But I seriously doubt that he agress there is a problem.

I don't see that women are going to get any redress unless we force it. The Democratic party is in complete denial about what happened in the primary and will probably never do anything unless women use their power to force them to.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I think there were equal parts sexism and racism in this primary. It is the ugly underbelly of the democratic party, but to give up because your particular barrier didn't get broken this time strikes me as selfish and only tends to reinforce some of the negative stereotypes about women. I would encourage you to listen to Hillary, and think about the bigger picture here, and the *issues* that matter to women. There is no chance that those issues will be addressed by the other side, and by sitting out this election you are working against those things which matter most to Hillary and the people who support her, and you are working against Hillary.


Yappa said...

To anonymous at 1:24: Pithy!

To anonymous at 1:42:

"Selfish"? "Negative stereotypes about women"? You actually think you're going to get me to change my mind by being condescending and manipulative?

As I have said over and over, there are two issues here. One is that women are grossly under-represented in the power elites, especially at the top. The other is that when a woman went for the top job, she was ridiculed for being a woman. Your characterization that my "particular barrier didn't get broken this time" is oh so far off the mark.

But, having vented a little there, I am sensitive to the fact that what I am proposing is pretty radical. I realize what's at stake. If there weren't so much at stake, it wouldn't be effective. How are we ever going to reach a point where women are fairly represented in politics if we don't use our power to make it happen?

Anonymous said...

Dear Yappa: Under any other circumstances I would say boycotting, or should it be, girlcotting the election, is a good idea--something like voting with your feet. But, and it's a big but, there's just so much at risk as others have pointed out. In any case, I have an awful feeling that when people get in the booths, they'll vote for McCain since Obama continues to be almost an unknown quantity. No matter how many pretty speeches his wife makes, and yes, I think she has been seriously Stepforized, Obama seems to remain aloof and unknowable. It may just be his personality and also, as someone else has written, the fact he's too intellectual, and what America really wants is a good ole boy that can sit down and have a beer with anybody--lord help them.

Yet, I don't think women need to make this easy for the Republicans. What I do think needs to happen is for a concerted effort on the part of women voters to contact the Obama campaign, and lay it on the line to them. Is this possible under the system?

Anon. but a known anon.

Yappa said...

Hi "Anon. but a known anon." -

I think you're completely right: Hillary supporters need to make our concerns clear to the Obama camp. That was my motivation for doing this. We need to make a clarion call before it's too late that he needs to do something to unify the party.

It's already abundantly clear that there's a huge problem: it's clear from the polls showing that increasing numbers of Hillary supporters don't support Obama. And yet he's not doing anything about it. I heard an Obama campaign official saying something to the effect of: if they can expand the number of black voters then they won't have to worry about women.

It seems to me that the reason that they won't take us seriously is because they disregard our concerns, and so I tried to express our concerns in a way that I thought might get through to them. It's not some pathetic inability to let go; we have concerns that could be met. Obama could unify the party if he respected us enough to address our concerns.

Anyway, I think I'll lay off this now. For one thing, it feels awfully churlish to be on the wrong side during the convention, when there's so much good feeling.

And I have no idea who you are! ;-)

Yappa said...
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