Tuesday, September 02, 2008

All Hail, McCain

By Kelly Jean Cogswell

McCain did what eighteen million women couldn't. By choosing Sarah Palin to run as VP, he got Obama and the Democrats to retrieve women from the shit heap where we'd been dumped. At least for the moment.

Already her Democratic handlers had forced the accomplished Mrs. Obama to put on her metaphorical apron and play mom and wife at the DNC. Hillary even interrupted the roll-call detailing the success of her own historic candidacy to ask that Obama be named the nominee by acclamation.

John Dickerson in Slate, who had predicted that women would immediately roll over for Obama after the primary dust settled, was busy considering whether or not Obama could win without the votes of persistently disgruntled Hillary supporters. And his conclusion before Palin was yes. There were plenty of new voters, and while, he wrote, Hillary supporters aren't "all crazy harridans or racists" they are "snippy, irritating, and impervious to reason (Obama is lucky not to have them)."

Obama couldn't have agreed more. Pre-Palin, when Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee dared ask Obama to reach out to the millions of women that supported Hillary, he reportedly said nope. That would take too much time and he had to focus on McCain. Obama also sniped, "If women take a moment to realize that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it."

Thank you, Mr. McCain, for your unintentional service to America, and challenge to Democratic Party misogynists. Without your nomination of Sarah Palin as VP, advocating abortion and progressive Supreme Court nominations would once again be women's only visible roles. Fall in line, the Dems blackmail us, or you'll lose the little you've got. The only real issue for women, half the American population, is apparently reproduction.

That's like reducing questions of racism and the role of people of color in America to affirmative action. Or reducing queer issues to gay marriage, and ignoring that at the root of our fight for legal rights and equality is the desire to end homophobia and discrimination, in short, to win liberation.

Since McCain nominated Palin, it's been every so slightly harder for Obama's attack dogs to continue to dismiss disgruntled Hillary supporters as divas, McCain plants, or simply nuts. ie. Go back in the attic where you belong, madwomen. Suddenly our votes count, and attacking us endlessly means risking that women like me will either vote for McCain and Palin, or just stay home.

The problem all along has been that Democrats imagine women are too stupid or irrational to understand the stakes of this election. We're somehow oblivious to the Iraq War, the mortgage crisis and the disastrous economy, the schools that are falling apart, and struggling families. As if we aren't usually the ones picking up the pieces.

Who after all gets stuck pinching pennies while working the worst-paying jobs? Who still ends up with the kids when families fall apart? Women. And women comprise a significant part of the hardcore anti-war activists, the widows, grieving mothers, even vets. Surely it's not women that have long been recognized as the key to successful economies.

Every misogynistic sneer, every suggestion we females stick to questions of female plumbing tells us Democrats don't give a crap about what we think, and that we're not a valuable part of the economic and social recovery of the United States.

If Democrats are stupid and arrogant enough to believe that, why should we trust them and reward them with our votes? Why should we think they're fit to lead? Leaders build bridges, they don't burn them. And the Democrats have burnt plenty in the name of unity. Trying to force Hillary out of the race when it had just begun. Making us fight for a roll call to register the votes she won. Resorting to nomination by acclamation.

That's not unity. It's a tyrannical attempt to erase dissent, and above all, erase women. Women of all races. It was a black woman, Sheila Jackson Lee, that Obama told to get over it. Party Unity My Ass. What Democrats were aiming for was victory, sheer domination over Hillary. Like when one wrestler has the other down on the mat with their arm twisted out of their socket and their legs broken in several places.

Confronted with that, Sarah Palin is a better role model for young women (and queers) despite her conservative social views, than the likes of the retooled Michelle Obama. Palin took on the corrupt Republican establishment in her own state. She defeated oil companies. She may wear go-go boots and drop litters of babies, but she's a fighter.

Remember what that is? Queers don't. In this election, the Log Cabin Republicans have been totally invisible. And queer Dems have been reduced to jumping for joy because Mrs. Obama turned up at an LGBT delegates luncheon. You can take my uterus and shove it.

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