Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why Refusing to Vote for Obama Because He's Not Clinton is Wrong

There are a few people in the blogosphere, particularly the feminist blogosphere (e.g., here and here, that believe as some sort of bizarre retribution or protest against Obama's failures to address the sexism aimed at Clinton, they should withhold their vote for Obama in the general election.

Let me be crystal clear: this is the most ridiculous thing I've heard of since screen doors on a submarine.

You probably think this is going to be a long drawn-out manifesto. You probably think that I have some brilliantly articulate thoughts on this subject. You probably think that I've thought long and hard about this.

Don't be sad...two out of three ain't bad. The fact is that it doesn't take a long set of words strung together to tell people why not voting or voting for McCain because of some perceived or actual slight on behalf of the Obama campaign is wrong. You're probably right that Obama could have spoken out about sexism in the media. You're probably right that the media treated the female Clinton differently than they'd ever treat the male Clinton.

Nevertheless, you're wrong. Here is the rhetoric and reasoning:
If Barack Obama and his supporters become the new Democratic party, then the Democratic party will no longer be the party of women’s rights. There will still be women in the party, naturally, but basic respect for women as citizens will be a dead letter. It will be the party of John Roberts and anti-choicers and the most virulent outbreak of public misogyny I’ve ever seen. All the sexism of this campaign will be rewarded instead of repudiated.
Here's where that logic fails. First of all, assuming that the Democratic party will be somehow changed by Obama's nomination in terms of women's rights is a bit overdramatic. The Democratic platform wasn't built overnight and the party would never turn its back on one of its biggest voting blocks. If for no other reasons than strategical, this statement is wrong. First of all, it places way too much value on the nomination of Obama on the history to be made of the party.

It goes on:
And that Democratic party will not deserve my vote.

And it’s not just women’s rights at stake. Social Security, health care, sticking up for the working class — those things are important. The Democratic Party is supposed to be the place where those things are defended, not dismissed. The place where those values are embraced. The place where, at every turn of American history over the past century, underdogs and reformers and humanitarians have found shelter.

So, let me ask this...who will you vote for? Will you not vote and just throw away the rights that so many women fought for? Or will you vote for McCain and basically ensure a society that doesn't give a damn about working people, poor people, older people, education, health care, etc.?
That’s why I won’t vote for Obama. I’ll be sending a message to the Democratic party: if you want my vote, then you need to earn it. If you throw me under the bus — me and my sisters and my grandparents and my friends and everybody in this country who isn’t a rich man — then to hell with you.
Um? What? I just don't get this. I guess it's a play on the whole "elitist" attack on Obama, but if you want to talk about throwing people under the bus, then look no further than our gal Hil, because she's got a long list of people that were trampled by the proverbial bus. Her days on the board of WalMart are filled with trampled people--workers, organized labor, the poor and the disadvantaged. You and your sisters and grandparents and friends and everybody in this country who isn't a rich man didn't benefit from NAFTA, which Hillary claims as a victory. You and your sisters and grandparents and friends and everybody in this country who isn't a rich man continues to suffer because of the vice-like grip corporations like WalMart have on the heart of this country, particularly on those people who aren't rich men.

My point is this--it's fine if you support Hillary. It's understandable that you'll be a little bitter that she isn't going to be the nominee. (I for one would be a bitter bitch if Obama wasn't, so I can sympathize.) But to go out and waste your vote or simply let it lose its value is only ensuring a country where people like George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and all of their little women-hating friends can have free reign over our society. They have taken the past eight years and made it hell on earth for anyone but them. And don't tell me that you think a vote for a third party is really going to make a difference. I know I'm probably not making any friends by saying that, but I don't care. It's what lost us (and by "us" I mean everyone that isn't a rich white man) the presidency in 2000 and is what continues to divide us.

And to do that, my dear friend, is what you call a damn shame.



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