The damage done

It ends like it begins. I just tried to read Joan Walsh's piece on Obama's need to reach out to women voters. I believe that, not because of Hillary, but because he should treat all members of the coalition like customers who could easily make another choice. Anyway I was humming along in the piece when I hit this disgusting bit:

We saw the face of the angry white female backlash against Obama over the weekend, and it was hard not to turn away. On Friday, Geraldine Ferraro complained in a Boston Globe Op-Ed that she's been demonized for saying that Obama's presidential run benefited from his being black, and called her treatment "reverse racism." On Saturday, Harriet Christian replaced Ferraro as the overwrought voice of white female resentment. There she was at the Democratic National Committee meeting, screaming at reporters that Democrats were about to nominate "an inadequate black male who would not have been running had it not been a white woman that was running for president."

Beyond Christian's deplorable reference to Obama as an "inadequate black male" was a wail worth hearing. She also said, "I'm proud to be an older American woman!" I can feel her pain. Reading the sexist attacks on Clinton and her white female supporters, as well as on female journalists and bloggers who've occasionally tried to defend her or critique Obama, has been, well, consciousness-raising. Prejudice against older women, apparently, is one of the last non-taboo biases. I've been stunned by the extent to which trashing Clinton supporters as washed up old white women is acceptable.

Once I heard Walsh invoking the words of two bigots to make her point, I checked out. Physician heal-thy-mutherfucking-self. Ferraro is the same woman who argued that "racial resentment" was OK. Walsh apparently thinks Harriet's description of Obama as an inadequate black male, "was a wail worth hearing." I'm physically sick reading that. I never much agreed with Walsh's take on the Clinton's, but for my money, she just fell into Pat Buchanan territory. Anyone who thinks there's something to take from someone who says it's fine to resent black people racially, who claims that there's something worth hearing in describing the first black man to ever win a major party's nomination as "an inadequate black male" is the moral equivalent of a racist to me.

I don't play these word games. I don't much care about what's in your heart. I don't make any distinction between people who think I'm less than, and the cowards who know the truth, but still run with bigoted fools anyway. There's nothing feminist about siding with worst impulses of white America. The fact is we're tied to each other. The same fuckers who've turned the incarceration of black men into a business, are the same fuckers who'd love nothing better than to drag women back into the dark ages. 

Recommended Reading

I want to see Barack Obama out there courting the vote of all women. I want to see him talking specifically about what his plans are. But I've got no interest in seeing him court those who would use feminism, as a cover for their own blackaphoic views. Later for them. Let them vote McCain, and go join the party where bigotry is part of the platform. The rest of us have a country to save.

UPDATE: To be clear, Obama should compete for the votes of ALL women--older, younger, white, black, purple whatever. But I don't accept that people who refer to him as an "inadequate black male." or people who think "racial resentment" is acceptable, or people (read: Joan Walsh) who think there's some truth to be gleaned from those opinions are represenative of that older, white female bloc. It's not I think older white women shouldn't be courted by Obama--they most certainly should. It's that I don't accept Walsh\Ferraro\Christian as a rep for them, any more than I would want someone to accept Al Sharpton as a rep for me.

I saw that Walsh called Christian's remarks "deplorable" but she undercuts even that weak declaration by embracing the racist Ferraro as someone who has something to say to Obama. Please. Ferraro was part of the worst Democratic ticket in modern memory. She helped invent the Reagan Democrats. I didn't even know she was still involved in politics until she decided to reveal her inner James Eastland. The idea that she somehow reps for women is fucking laughable.

That said, anyone who'd be willing to put the health of women, the chance to expand childcare, the chance to revisit equal pay, on the line in the name of electing a dude who called his own wife a cunt, who laughed as one of his supporters referred to Hillary Clinton as a bitch, who would most assuredly appoint judges that would reverse Roe v Wade, is a joke. There ain't nothing feminist, or "empowering" about gambling on the future of our daughters. It's a ego and sore loser-ism writ large. If that's your angle, take a hike. 

There is also an ugly subtext to that "unqualified" remark. Exactly how many terms in the Senate did John Edwards have? Was he also unqualified? Would we be hearing that label from Hillary-supporters if he'd won?