One PUMA’s thoughts about 2009
I do not have time to dally about whether the word “Feminist” is still correct. Suffice to say that I believe it is. That Governor Palin could call herself one, and Michelle Obama had trouble, shows the issue is not one of a leftist usurpation. Feminists right, left or in the middle, cannot cut off other feminists who support parallel position’s. Though I do not agree with Republican views of abortion, or their view of fiscal management or even their idea of care for the disadvantaged, I do find common ground on misogyny, and caucus fraud, election reform, and media bias.
Likewise, though I was outraged at NARAL’s actions, eventually upset with NOW, and disappointed by Steinem’s references to Palin, they are still democratic sisters. They made their best electoral choice. Most of their views are mine.
The problem, as I see it, is not our agreement; it’s how we got here, to this place, as PUMAs. To move forward, we must focus; “keep our eyes on the prize”. Then, it’s the methods in how we move forward.
Misogyny and the ERA
The final answer to misogyny is the passage of the ERA. We must pass it. Without it we do not have a uniform set of rules with which to fight. It will not protect against all forms of sexual bias, but it will provide a basis for beginning. Therefore, we must promote it and work for passage. Until women are entitled to equality under the law, any redress to grievances will be puny, capricious and flagellating.
The 51% solution.
To seek, as Heidi Li promotes, that at least 51% of our representatives be women, is a quest for proportionality. To address part of the proportional answer is to understand first that Black and Hispanic men are not underrepresented in the House of Representatives. By US population demographics, they are overly represented. Black and Hispanic women are the missing governing body. In fact, the man-woman disconnect here is pretty striking. Though these men are underrepresented in the Senate; the ratio of senators to population is: .07 for Black men (if you include Obama, or Burris), .20 for Hispanics, and .21 for women. Even here though, with no women senators who are Black, or Hispanic; the dearth is a a great silence. Consider also that to gain parity, Black men need 6 more men, Hispanic men need 4, while women of all flavors need 40. Even if we were to gain 10 women, every four years, in each election season, it would take another 16 years.
ALL women are vastly underrepresented, along with Native Americans, Alaskan Inuit, and some smaller groups. Asians may be also, but are mixed as a demographic group with Pacific Islanders, so that data point is a little muddy. We must review our alliances, and consider how best to advance our cause. So far, Jesse Jackson Sr. is the voice I have heard. Howard Dean has spoken, and while we have wondered over his intent, we must consider whether in fact, he has provided an opportunity toward discourse. Even Carville’s lack of understanding, as the New Agenda has noted, is a chance for for education. We need to educate, even while we battle those who know but do not want change.
Women on the left, like me, worked hard for Affirmative Action in the sixties and seventies. It was a joined struggle to get underrepresented groups jobs, equal pay, and freedom from discrimination. The programs that supported this cause were not without faults, but they do show that change can happen. We must start today, if we are to change the future.
We must seek resolution with our sisters on the left. Why for example, have we not taken Gloria Allred’s offer to look at our examples of election deformities? If we truly believe a wrong was committed we must seek legal redress. I know that Clinton’s campaign was rebuffed in this attempt in Texas. However, that does not mean our effort should end there. What will it cost to do this? We must find the money. We must do this, even if we have decided to live with this election’s consequences.
Uniform election reform must come from outside the parties, not within. Even if the efforts currently ongoing in Texas provide relief to Texans, it will not affect Washingtonians, or Iowans or even those in non-caucus states who waited in line, or had their ballots questioned, taken off the list, or were added to the list with Mickey Mouse. Why is lack of ADA access not the same in effect as a poll tax? If a person must drive long distances in snowy conditions to meet a narrow window of time, or a caucus performed during hours when a nurse cannot leave work or women require child care, is this not a disenfranchisement? We must work toward a nationalized, uniform voting process.
In addition, we must work to change the current method of vote counting. The reality is that votes take days, weeks and months to count and certify. In California, more than 2 million votes were uncounted after the race was called this time. Even though in this election the California outcome would have been the same for the presidential election, this is not always the case.
The media will quote the presumed “called count” for the next four years. This public misinformation skews our view. However, simply adding the final CA votes to the final 2004 Bush-Kerry vote, would have shown how really close that election was. Why must we wait 35 days to have an election certified while the MSM decides the winner within minutes of the closing polls? It’s all wrong and we must seek legal redress.
Media Bias and Documentation
See this example:
Covering new presidents: the media’s double standard
by Eric Boehlert
In anticipation of the new administration, Beltway media insiders are busy laying the groundwork for how reporters and pundits will treat the new team on Pennsylvania Avenue.
We can only expect what we accept without critical review. Therefore, we must keep a library. We cannot depend on the MSM to provide our truth.
This will involve a most difficult thing. Because we are a coalition of right and left we must assiduously verify and document our sources. Those of us on the left are well acquainted with the histories of Morris, Corsi, Horowitz, Judicial Watch, The World Net Daily, the New York Post, and others. I was astonished to see them bloom in the likes of Daily Kos, and upon the Obama website. However, many Republicans are either unaware of the kind of material they provide, or else they approve of them.
Finally, we must find or establish legitimate outsourcing of information. Though PUMA’s tried very hard to make their views known this election season, the few outlets were mostly problematic. I cannot immediately think of a PUMA, MSM broadcast that on some level was not intended to provide a spectacle by the presenters. The most recent of these is the KPFT broadcast. The one time substitution of a weekly satire show, with a one off, intended to be serious, can only be problematic. The announcement of intent to satirize said show the following week verifies what the broadcasters hoped for, if not actually planned; a spectacle and a way to generate buzz on their satire show.
PUMAs can expect no altruistic behavior. Everything for the near future will have a price. If an offer is made, it must be inspected carefully.
I Own My Vote, PUMA, The Denver Group, Just Say No Deal, The New Agenda, 4ERA