Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The failures of 'leadership'

The elections will feature political races heavily influenced by Iraq's complex and sectarian conflicts.
They could exacerbate tensions in southern Iraq between U.S.-backed Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's nationalist Islamic Dawa Party and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the two main Shiite Muslim parties in the country.
The results of the internal Shiite rivalry are likely to determine whether Iraq is broken up into semiautonomous regions or retains a strong central government. The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council wants to push for the creation of a nine-province federal region, which Dawa fears could jeopardize Iraq's unity.
"Much is at stake in Basra and other oil-bearing governorates," said Joost Hiltermann, an expert on Iraq for the International Crisis Group think tank. "And Baghdad is the prize for those who seek the restoration of strong central government in Iraq."

The above is from Ned Parker's "Iraq looks ahead to provincial, national elections" (Los Angeles Times) and will the Iraqi elections receive even a fourth of the attention worldwide that the US elections did? No, of course not.

Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) live blogged the election and she is highlighting the following by Ronald Hardy:

I am sure that there are many who might feel disappointed in these results, but I have to ask if you are really all that surprised by them? Cynthia McKinney was the only major candidate left off of CNN's radar, and what "main stream media" coverage she did get (Washington Post, FoxNews) were hit pieces meant to further discredit the campaign. Cynthia McKinney is a 6 term Congresswoman with more experience in government than Obama, but she got less coverage than Chuck Baldwin, a radio minister. Wayne Allyn Root got more coverage than Cynthia McKinney. Why? Why the Blackout? It can’t be because she is an African American, can it? It can’t be because she is a woman, can it? Was it her message? Was it her lack of money?However, I am not depressed by the outcome. The results of the Presidential election are of course disappointing, but on the other hand, over 150,000 Americans, of those who even had the opportunity, voted for Cynthia McKinney, despite the lack of coverage, despite the ballot access, and despite the politics of fear.

McKinney may have received more votes. The same is true for Ralph Nader, Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin and other presidential candidates. Write-in ballots aren't a first priority when it comes to counting so the 150,000 referred to above is the preliminary count.

That said, Cynthia was savaged and she was stabbed in the back. Look at (Democratic) Women's Media Center. Supposedly a site highlighting and making women visible. They ignored Cynthia and Rosa's run and only did a story on them (October 31st) finally due to (a) pressure (including the site being called "racist") and (b) they thought it would serve as counter to Robin Morgan's latest foaming at the mouth insanity against Sarah Palin. WMC can't endorse candidates but they damn well did, didn't they? When you cheerlead one campaign over and over and ignore another (one article on Cynthia the entire election?), you are endorsing.

Like every other woman who wouldn't whore herself out for Barack in 2008, Cynthia had to be ignored and demonized at the same time. That's just the way it worked. And the feminist 'leadership' is so damn pathetic that they not only allowed it to happen, they took part in it. They did so when it was Hillary, they did so with Palin and they did so with Cynthia. They sent the message very loud and clear that no woman was good enough and that they will always suck up to a man. It's a message they made clear in 1972 as well and why Shirley Chisholm had a great deal to say about what passed for 'leadership.'

'Leadership' is too old and out of it to lead anymore and expect major shake ups in the near future. It's really amazing that the likes of Robin Morgan elected to go out this way. Susan Faludi's Backlash is an amazing book but the Sleepless in Seattle reference becomes more true every day. Had most actually read the book, they'd know what lies ahead. Backlash didn't just call out the Newsweek lie re: marriage. Backlash called out all the women who contributed to the backlash and, yes, that did include Ms. magazine. The next major feminist book will do the same and when Robin's called out for lying, a few years from now when young women are finding out that Robin Morgan (who they won't give a damn about and really shouldn't because she hasn't done anything of great value since 1972) used lies to tear apart a woman and build up a man, it won't be pretty. And if it's further noted that Morgan's (Democratic) Women's Media Center ignored Cynthia McKinney, it will be down right ugly.

We're not talking the 1800s here. Feminists are damn well aware of the charge (usually incorrect) that the feminist movement is a White movement. So a few years from now when feminists discover that Robin Morgan blacked-out Cynthia, it won't be pretty. It will be the sort of thing that moves her to the list of others who fell into disrepute over racial issues (some of the feminists from the post-Civil War era). Because feminism isn't about telling someone how to vote (though Robin Morgan -- Socialist that she is -- never learned that lesson). Feminism is about opportunities and access. When a so-called feminist outlet like WMC refuses to cover the presidential campaign of a woman (while filing non-stop garbage on a male running for president), opportunities and access for women have been limited.

It's all the more appalling when we're speaking of a woman who stood up for women's rights, reproductive rights and more during her terms in Congress. But she got written off because it was so much more important (and so much more 'feminist') for women to go gaa-gaa over a man. This was Shirley's point, by the way, all those years ago: When women won't even support a woman's right to run, what does that say about the feminist movement?

Thirty-six years later and we're left with the same question.

A visitor e-mailed to complain about Greg Palast. When I have time, his tired ass is pulled from the links. We haven't linked to him in an entry here in years. Yeah, Greggie went and endorsed Barack even though he damn well used Cynthia for years. It really doesn't matter with Palast, he's trash. Only trash choose to publish in H**tler magazine. Had I known he'd done that, he'd never have been added to a link. He's trash. He's human trash. He was never going to endorse Cynthia, his thoughts on women are clear by his decision to be Larry F**nt's buddy.

But back to the issue of the failure of 'leadership.' Here's reality, in the past, 'leaders' didn't hang on so desperately. Current 'leadership' has been in place since the last years of the 60s and need to step their asses down. They wanted 'change' and the 'youth' was so important -- they said. That's why they endorsed Barack.

Well get your tired asses out of 'leadership.' Who the hell are you anyway, Fidel Castro? Goodness, how long are you going to desperately try to hold on? Really, it's past time for all of you to take your asses onto the golden years and let other women step up. If you can't do that, you'll be shoved out of the way and that's what should be happening right now.

It's that baby boomer stranglehold. No other generation has ever been allowed to control and impose for so very damn long. Come on, gals, show us some 'change' -- 'change we can believe in!' Sit your tired asses down, and stop repeating the same talking point you've made for nearly forty years. It's time to go.

We live in a society where women are conditioned to be 'nice' and to put others 'first.' As a result, women's reactions are rarely immediate. They build slowly. We saw that with Anita Hill and we'll be seeing in the near future with regards to what went down this year.

2008 saw open season on Hillary Clinton. She was the first. And some, like Robin, might think that defending Hillary means they accomplished something. Robin accomplished nothing. In her defense of Hillary, she rightly said that Hillary is not responsible for Bill's actions and shouldn't be held accountable for them. But when it was time to rip apart Sarah Palin, Robin was more than fine with snarling over Todd Palin's two decades old DUI or DWI. (I don't know which and I don't give a damn, something that happened 20 years ago and wasn't done by the candidate? Not interested in that gutter nonsense.) That's what Robin still can't grasp and why women are so furious with her right now.

It's not about politics. It's about feminism. And feminism didn't require that any woman vote for Hillary in the Democratic Party primary or that they vote for Cynthia in the general election or for McCain because Palin was on the ticket.

Feminsim did require that we all stood up to sexist coverage in the media. Not just for our personal favorite but for all women running on presidential tickets.

Robin made it very clear that you could stone Sarah Palin and she'd never call you out or even be bothered by it.

That's not feminism.

In two pieces, she trashed Sarah Palin -- "trashed" in the feminist sense of the word. She used gossip and lies and she behaved like the stereotypical "harpy" -- she didn't just embarrass herself, she embarrassed all feminists and the movement itself.

Though she could blather on and on about Barack, she never wrote a word about Cynthia. Actually, she did. She didn't name Cynthia, but she ridiculed Ralph (by name) and all candidates not of the two-major parties. Remember, no one ever carries as much water for the Democratci Party as a Socialist (Robin) or Communist trying to fit in.

In 2012, a woman may run again. Why she'd bother is a question many might have after 2008.

But it needs to be noted that the tired 'leadership' of the feminist movement has made it very clear that women can be ripped apart in the press and attacked for their clothes, for their hair, for their looks and for the gender. It's been made clear that unless you're a feminist 'fave' (Hillary), you won't be defended. Even if you're a feminist -- and all three women are feminists: Hillary, Cynthia and Sarah -- you won't be defended strongly.

So what women can expect is three types of treatment:

1) The Hillary: You're old and unattractive! We want a young man! You married your way in! You pimp your daughter! You're calculating and ambitious! Power-hungry! Look at your clothes!

2) The Sarah: You're an idiot! You're a beauty queen! You're calculating and ambitious! Power-hungry! (Ava and I will be going into this in great detail at Third Sunday.) Look at your clothes!

3) The Cynthia: You don't exist! You're not even worthy of my time! You are invisible! You need to drop out of the race because you could hurt the man! Look at your clothes!

That's the message that was sent. 'No woman is worthy, therefore there's no point in the feminist movement defending any woman.'

"Leadership" failed women and the first thing they should be doing right now is apologizing for that. The seeds were sewn early in the year as non-Democrats like Eve Ensler and others stuck their noses into a Democratic Party primary and started questioning Hillary's gender. That should have resulted in the Red Queen Evie being sent packing. She's not really a feminist and she's never done anything but line her own pockets with that bad 'play' she 'wrote.' But she and others were allowed to rip apart Hillary in the 'name of feminism' and do so in the most sexist manner.

"Leadership" failed women by playing favorites when they offered minimal media criticism. Sexism was all over the airwaves. It was not confined to MSNBC. But they became the Whipping Boys.

I think we'd all agree that making racist remarks is racism. I think we'd also all agree that refusing to include accomplishments by people of color is racism. And yet, MSNBC got called out for sexism while so many others walked free. Some of whom made sexist remarks but all of whom (and especially focus on PBS here) were happy to refuse the accomplishments of women.

Leadership needs to apologize to the grassroots for:

A) Refusing to stand up for women
B) Joining in the attacks on women
C) Refusing to lead

Leading is not bullying people into voting for a candidate.

I'm biting my tongue because of a piece Ava and I are doing but one thing this week, if you caught it, on TV, may have underscored how low women have fallen. And that happened due to 'leadership' focusing on other things.

Instead of fretting over presidential candidates or hoping they could get Bob to ask a question at the debates, feminist 'leaders' should have been calling out the fact that women were marginalized. That happened in debates, that happened in panels. No, it's not a new development but it has never been this bad.

When nearly ten people were discussing First Ladies and women's advances on PBS during the Republican Party convention, feminist 'leaders' damn well should have made a huge issue out of the fact that not one person was a woman. But they didn't even notice. "Don't call out PBS, it's our friend!"

There are no passes. Feminism is independent movement. That's always been the case. Women couldn't matter in 2008 because feminist 'leaders' didn't act as if women mattered.

Apologies need to be made to the grassroots and resignations need to be offered.

The e-mail address for this site is

the los angeles times
ned parker
kimberly wilder