Still We’ll Rise

Dear Tom Perez, Keith Ellison, and Joe Biden I have a question for you all: do you enjoy beating down women in the Democratic Party? Do you feel like he-men? I am specifically not including Bernie because he insists he’s not a Democrat, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Tom Perez, are you reclaiming the position from Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, eager to show us what a big pair you have? Or are you just having fun at your gender-segregated play?

Do any of you care that the “leadership” of the Democratic Party is now so overwhelmingly male that we HRC supporters can only interpret this as a repudiation of women. I call that misogyny 101.

Every time one of you guys, this includes Biden and Obama, suggest that you or Bernie could have beaten Trump you are ignoring reality in the same way as the climate change deniers. First of all, you are conveniently ignoring the fact that Hillary Clinton did win the election. Yup, and I don’t just mean the popular vote. The broken machines, voter suppression, miscounted votes, and the whole bag of dirty tricks (remember Watergate) resulted in an illegitimate election outcome. And if you think a man is too macho for this to happen to him, does the name Al Gore mean anything to you? They are two exiled presidents.

Doesn’t it mean anything that this “tour” is traumatizing women? We raised money, canvassed, made phone calls, stuffed envelopes, went on Facebook and educated people, and for many of us, November 8th may have been one of the worst nights, if not the worst night, of our lives. And now here you are, posturing and strutting your stuff as if HRC had not aced the popular vote and created the most inclusive platform in the history of the Democratic Party. Don’t take us for granted. We won’t do all that work again for a candidate who compromises on our issues.

I hear you guys scoffing. How dare I call a neo-liberal progressive? Because I don’t think HRC is a neo-liberal, a term that exists only as a canard. I think she is a visionary feminist-pragmatist, a political orientation just coming into being. However, even if we just want to talk about good old-fashioned Socialism, how does Bernie win the prize? Which candidate benefitted economically from the campaign? Which one is still using the campaign as a retirement account? It’s Sanders, the same guy who spent a million dollars on a little one night get-a-way to Rome. If you see Woody Guthrie when you look at BS, look again. You see that because you want to.

And if we restrict ourselves to theory, Engels (you remember him?) said the first private property was women’s bodies. We are the property. You guys are the owners, the rule makers, the colonizers. The working class hero posturing can’t alter that. Furthermore, Bernie’s sputtering condemnation of Wall Street ignores the fact that most pension money of middle class workers is heavily invested in the market. Wall Street goes down, we’re all eating dog food in old age except for the uber-wealthy. A thoughtful candidate can hold two conflicting ideas in her head at the same time: corporations are hopelessly marred by greed and tunnel vision and that the well being of many middle class people depends on a détente (with suitable controls) of Wall Street, and not decades old legislation that is no longer adequate. Jumping on simplistic bandwagons just does not solve complex problems.

You are resorting to the false narrative that her candidacy did not address the concerns of working men, displaced men, particularly working white men. It most certainly did, but the media, wanting the cat-fight Bernie Sanders initiated, refused to report on that part of her campaign. The only thing her campaign didn’t do was privilege working white men.

Let’s take a brief excursion into history. The fantasy that the US has been a utopia for working white men is facile and fallacious. The violence around unions at the end of the nineteenth century, the Great Depression, and the creeping inflation of the 1970’s were all periods in which working men suffered. Information and information processing as a source of wealth have supplanted industry just as industry supplanted land. History does these things. Globalism supplanted national economies just as they supplanted local economies. History does this. Let’s not pretend that a wooly-haired faux-messiah can turn the tide of history.

It is true that from 1950 to the end of the sixties working white men had it pretty good. This prosperity didn’t include women and people of color. You seem to be creating false hopes based a fleeting period that was good for you and your cronies. You know what I call that? Privilege. How is the privilege of middle class white men different from the privilege of wealthy white men? It may be different in degree, but it isn’t different in kind. You have abandoned and betrayed the ideals of our inclusive party and its standard bearer to defend your own privilege. It’s the old white boys club all over again.

We’re used to it, but we’re not going to roll over and take it. Women, people of color, queer folk — we’re as integral to the fortunes of the Democratic Party and the forward march of history as you are. Look at the European Union happily helmed by a woman while the US makes a proud march into the past.

Women embrace the needs of men, because as the song “Bread and Roses” says, “We battle too for men, for they are women’s children. . .” We are not trying to displace you, but you seem happy to displace us.

Just a heads up, though. Women’s IQ’s are starting to trend upward, inching past men’s. We now earn more college degrees. If you want to stay competitive pursue your educations and learn to discipline your appetites, emotions, and your egos. You’ve made us learn, and we can show you how. Otherwise you are going to have to bully your way into power, as you now are, and ignore the decisive primary win HRC had over BS, even more decisive when we look at states in which he won a tiny caucus, and she later won a much more decisive primary.

Sanders is the enemy of women. He doesn’t hire us, and he drools over the sexuality of thirteen-year-old girls. He calls our concerns a distraction. He loves the gun lobby. He conflates HRC with her husband and said he didn’t want a return to “The Clinton years.” I think Bill did the best he could given the conservative power swirling around him. He got elected and stopped the forward movement of Reaganism. But beyond that, HRC learned things on her own since then. If we did the same to him we’d say his wife was a failed college president so he’d be a failed president. It’s outrageous. Bernie’s utterances are the coded words of patriarchal indignation. These are not the stands of a progressive candidate. They are the positions of a male-privileged candidate.

Although Bernie won’t endorse Ossoff, a man who chanted “The Future is Female,” Bernie is happy to endorse Democrats he deems more “progressive” but who compromise on women’s bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. Bernie why did you need to endorse a mayoral candidate in Nebraska who supports a 20-week ban and forced sonograms? Why did you endorse a VA governor candidate who supported the anti-abortion Stupak Amendment when we have a stronger option in Northam? Why do you think it’s acceptable for Democrats to not be consistently pro-choice or anti-gun when you would never compromise on the economic markers you have made a litmus test?

We know women are no fun for adolescent males. We demand you live up to your responsibilities and give us equal seats at the table, and adolescents like Sanders refuse both these demands. Why are you following him into these injustices?

You think you can’t lose our support in elections? You can. Do you imagine you can win without us? Show us you’re listening to us and take our resistance warriors, Maxine Waters and Kirsten Gillibrand on tour, and leave Bernie at home.

You can throw us down stairs, throw us in jail, and feed us through feeding tubes. You’ve done it before, during Wilson’s administration when we fought for the vote. You have a mighty weapon over us — our regard for you. But it is wearing thin. You say you love women, but you obviously love privilege more. Ignore us, torment us — still we’ll rise, as Maya Angelou said. Remember the millions and millions of us that came together to march. We’re still here.