Is voting for Hillary the only choice for a feminist?

Saturday, February 9th, 2008 @ 4:22 am | Election crap, Politics, Women

Nah, they’re pro-choice.

I haven’t abandoned my commitment to the women’s movement — and anyone who knows me understands I never will. My endorsement of Barack Obama is actually a celebration of that commitment, and an honest reflection of what I have been fighting for for over 40 years.

The women’s movement is about free choice, self-determination and challenging a status quo that fails a lot of Americans, not just women. And it is not about going along. It’s about transcending, about having the freedom to follow one’s heart, about creating and pursuing new opportunities, and about the American dream being for all Americans.

Chris’ gotcha-type question to me (“Kate Michelman, how does it feel to have abandoned the cause of your life?”) and the semi-criticism implicit in it — that as a woman I have some biological obligation to unreservedly support whatever woman is running — are exactly the sentiments I faced when I first started working for a woman’s right to choose. If women who vote for men are traitors, then are men who vote for women also traitors? What about African-Americans who vote for whites? Or whites who vote for African-Americans?

Laying this guilt trip, this hypocrisy, on women — saying that those women who don’t vote for other women are turncoats — is tantamount to saying that women who exercise independent thought haven’t the right to do that either. Could there be a more anti-feminist contention?

There could. But the point is made. Here as well, from reader Jldemeyer:

[youtube OVuMYKs8iJs]


15 Responses to “Is voting for Hillary the only choice for a feminist?”

  1. cbmc Says:

    Yeah this point has been made also by me – there is room for disagreement within feminism, surprise surprise. As for me, I’ll say it again: a woman president who set women’s rights back would still do more for the cause than another in an endless string of men presidents. “Not this woman,” “not this time” – we’ll be hearing that ’til doomsday unless we just elect the woman with the best chance to win. When I hear people say “really, electing another guy is the more feminist move,” it makes me want to throw up – it’s like an Edwards supporter arguing that Edwards is actually the better candidate on race because he’s been in the field longer and is from the south.

    Not buying any, but it’s always nice to get even more encouragement from the Obama supporters; every time they open their mouths to smear Hillary, it shores up her support even more.

  2. cbmc Says:

    (Also, no, not all feminists are pro-choice, though a lot of non-feminists like to tell feminists what they must or mustn’t believe.)

  3. jeromy Says:

    I’m sorry, there was a smear here?

    This sounds like more Bushie GOP rhetoric, where they just threaten to get madder at you the more you prove them wrong. Okay, literally nothing I’ve posted about Obama has produced any reaction in you other than rage, which you will then transmogrify into a vote for Hillary, just to defy me. This, despite your insistence that nothing else really matters, she’s a woman and gender trumps race so you’re voting for her no matter what she says or does.

    I mean, I can’t imagine how you could react in a way more likely to irk Obama supporters and reaffirm their commitment to him. All you do is make me think how important it would be to have a black president, and how little importance you place on that. Most of your rhetoric applies to voting for a black candidate as well, except you’ve made the basic assumption that gender trumps race, which informs your entire argument.

    The school of thought that says history is made either way, let’s actually pay attention to the virtues of each candidate, and not just judge them on their sex or color is one more in tune with the ethical ideals pointed to in our Constitution.

  4. Jldmeyer Says:

    So, let me get this straight cbmc. Lorna Brett Howard joined the Hillary Clinton campaign so that she could quit later on and smear her? Is that what you are saying? I guess she should not stand up for her personal beliefs and the truth. She needs to become a submissive supporter of HRC for the greater good of having a female president at any cost because that is what is best for women. That is the attitude of the husband-beaten wife trying to keep her family together by keeping her problems to herself instead of doing something about it. Giving in to the greater good is the best policy. How dare Ms. Howard open her mouth and speak her mind. I applaud her for having the guts to say that she changed her mind for the greater good because having a clean conscience is better than standing behind lies.

  5. Jesurgislac Says:

    cbmc, I think you could say being pro-choice is a definer of being a feminist: if you believe that women ought to be forced through pregnancy and childbirth against their will, you’re clearly not a feminist.

    A lot of feminists I know prefer not to define as feminists because they don’t want to get verbally beaten up by anti-feminists: a lot of feminists I know prefer to define as pro-life because they think that means being anti-abortion, though if asked, they’ll admit they don’t feel women ought to be forced: they’re actually pro-choice.

    How did this come up? I don’t think there’s even a question about whether voting for Clinton or voting for Obama is a feminist issue. Obviously, either will be a great choice: it’s not really as important which wins the nomination, so long as the one who wins the nomination wins in November and gets to the White House in January.

  6. cbmc Says:

    [i]Obviously, either will be a great choice[/i]

    this is where I differ – neither are real liberals, both are appalling choices. Obama vs. Hilary is a shell game, either one will be a marginally-better-than-a-Republican president. All that’s important to me is voting for a woman. I also acknowledge that the opportunity to vote for a black president is quite awesome, and I’ll happily vote for Obama in the general if he gets the nomination. But both candidates are sick-making MOR conservative Democrats, par for the course in a party that’s not worthy of any leftist’s vote and never has been, nor ever will be, despite the sad and hilarious rhetoric we sometimes hear about leftists “reclaiming” a party that was never theirs.

    I’m sure my man Jeromy can point me to some pretty speeches Obama made, or a nicely skewed representation of his voting record, to make the case that he’s the real liberal choice for President or something. I’ve been hearing that crap from Democrats my entire life. They’re center-right and always have been, and so’s yr man.

    The question came up because Jeromy believes that no matter who you are or what your beliefs, Obama is your best choice.

  7. Independent Says:

    She’s got a vagina, so duh, the answer is yes.


  8. cbmc Says:

    that was neat how you argued that your candidate’s the best choice for feminists & equated womanhood with genitalia in the same sentence

  9. Independent Says:

    Why not, cbmc? I hear the same stupid argument from people every week.

    And what was REALLY “neat” was how you instantly assume that I’m saying Obama is the best feminist candidate. I’M NOT SAYING THAT. I’m saying that ASSUMING Clinton IS because she’s a woman is stupid but common.

  10. cbmc Says:

    To be clear: I do believe that the election of a woman – I’ve said this on several threads this week, and I think it bears repeating or I’d just put a sock in it – would in itself be a more powerful act for feminism than the election of a man, even one who might actually advance feminist causes. (Not that I’m conceding Obama as that man; last I checked, he only throws in the occasional line about women in the hopes of spreading his net a little wider – I’m sure he’s about as feminist as your average Democrat, which is to say, C+. His supporters only ever talk about what he’ll do for women if somebody like me gets totally obnoxious about it; it’s not a prominent part of his agenda, and to say otherwise is to tell a lie. Our side should aspire not to lie just to get what we want.) So while Obama’s feminist bona fides on the record might actually be – probably are – more on-point than HRC’s, that’s immaterial to me. I am starving to death to elect a woman president, and I don’t really care who she is. If a guy was getting ready to invent the wheel, would you insist that he be the right man for the job, or would you say: “we’ve been living in caves without the wheel long enough, let that a**shole invent the wheel, whoever – I want wheels”?

    A lot of people say “if you’re voting for Obama because he’s black, that’s racism,” but such arguments are too specious to merit response. Voting for Obama because he’s black is a fine reason: addressing inequitable distribution of power is considerably more rational than imagining that either party will give us a decent president.

  11. jeromy Says:

    See, I mirror that thinking but one step removed. With Barack and Hillary running, it is absolutely essential that the country choose one of them. Electing another tired old white dude like McCain who looks like he needs to be sitting in a LazyBoy just won’t do. We do have to make a historical leap forward this time.

    It’s just that I can’t really long for a female president MORE than a black president and vice versa. The prospect of each seems like an exciting step forward for the United States.

    Were race and gender to cancel each other out, then from your perspective we’re merely arguing about which piece of shit will plug up the toilet quicker. I have a choice of piece o’shit Obama, or piece o’shit Clinton. Which one will be less shitty?

    A question that would warrant returning to the issues and the merits.

  12. cbmc Says:

    yeah if gender weren’t the absolute #1 historical injustice I want addressed I’d be with you 100% except for the “issues & merits” part because I don’t believe that anything either candidate means what he/she says about what they’re gonna do about any issue, and I think history’s got my back on that question

  13. jeromy Says:

    Dunno, it seemed to me that a lot of Bush’s failures were foreseeable when he was a candidate in 2000. A lot of them were traceable to his obvious personality defects, namely his stupidity and bumbling incompetence, along with a history of being bailed out by daddy when trouble came near.

    A problem I think is that we haven’t had enough Democrat presidents in the past 40 years to pre-judge future ones. We’ve had constant Republican presidents, with Jimmy Carter’s one-term audition and Bill Clinton’s 8 years of triangulating us into DOMA and bogus free trade deals. Do Democrat presidents always betray the people? Was even Roosevelt such an outstanding leader, or are we merely doomed to never see such giants walk the face of the earth again?

  14. cbmc Says:

    Jeromy the #1 predictor of Bush’s failures were his other failures, not whether I liked him or not, nor what he said or any of that rot. Bush had failed as Governor of Texas and, before that, as would-be baseball commissioner.

    I would wager that Roosevelt was not actually as great as we on the left remember him (you wanna justify Nagasaki?), and that a clear-eyed look at history would reveal what satirists have been saying for centuries: that politicians are scoundrels, every one of them. I don’t consider this a cynical position at all. It’s realism. The whole purpose of democracy is to keep a firm check on the natural impulse of the politician, but the two-party system has proven a really neat way of getting people to pledge fealty to the very entities they ought to regard skeptically at all times. If you can get people to pick a team, then they’ll forget that the game they’re playing was invented precisely so that they, the players, would be able to keep tight reins on the coaches. It doesn’t work that way now, which is pathetic, and we have no-one but ourselves to blame, which is why I get so irritated every four years when the left pulls out the rah-rah candidate-of-change hoo-hah.

  15. jeromy Says:

    Truman bombed Nagasaki.

    Many politicians are scoundrels, but there are those who have come with some principles in hand, even if they don’t always feel like they have the option of sticking to them. And as the years have passed, good things have been accomplished by the government. Often it was done at the behest of grassroots power, as the recognition of changes in America’s character, but it was eventually done.

    Of course, there is a reliable indicator of corruption in politicians: the money they take to get re-elected and what gets done in return for who. Clean elections are possible, and pave the way for people who want to remain true civil servants. And right now Barack is running the cleaner campaign. His money is by and large coming from folks like me giving $50 or less. I’m buying his allegiance so corporate power takes second place.

    Follow the money is a hard and fast rule for any political cynic, and when the money points back at the people, you’ve got to award credit where credit is due.