The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

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Just in time for Independence Day, NBC News wrote an article about the excavation of Sally Hemmings‘ living quarters at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation. The byline reads: “Thomas Jefferson’s mistress Sally Hemings’ secret living quarters finally discovered.” NBC’s use of the word “mistress” is unfortunate. Hemmings was a slave. She was 14 years old when Jefferson first raped her. What editor wrote this byline without a bolt of lighting striking them down?

We are living in a diseased world. Trump himself is not the disease, he is a symptom. He used the disease of misogyny, racism, homophobia, etc., to get himself elected. He launched his campaign by declaring all Mexicans as rapists and murderers. (And some, he assumed, were ok.) We are living in the same world that also houses Brock Turner. On January 18, 2015 Turner raped an unconscious woman. He was convicted of his crime. The presiding judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, sentenced Brock to 6 months in jail. A year since that ruling, Judge Persky has finally decided to explain himself. ““I have a reputation for being fair to both sides,” Persky says. Let that sink in for a moment. Persky was looking at a victim of rape and the man who raped her while she was unconscious. And Persky prides himself on being fair to both sides. He is running for reelection. I’d like to say that there’s no chance Persky will get reelected, but we are living in a Trump world. He might.

I ran into this article at Mother Jones about men taking credit for women’s work. (Last week Bernie Sanders embraced Hillary Clinton’s public option healthcare plan. It was the same plan he and his Bros previously excoriated Clinton for. But now Sanders is taking credit for it, and some in the media are happily giving him credit. Sanders also previously embraced Hillary’s college tuition plan after being vehemently against it. The  media gave him credit for Hillary’s plan too.) Mother Jones digs far, back to cave paintings. Newest research suggests they were painted by women. From Mary Shelley to Ada Lovelace to the rapper M.I.A. and singer Taylor Swift – the more things change, the more men continue to take credit for women’s work. (Remember when Michael Moore claimed to be the leader of the Resistance? Yeah, no Michael Moore. You’re NOT the Resistance.)

We’ve all heard the word “mansplain.” It’s a word that has entered the lexicon fairly quickly. I didn’t even notice it, it was just sort of there. I did not realize it originated with a 2008 essay “Men Explain Things To Me” by Rebecca Solnit. Solnit related an anecdote that at a party she got into a discussion with a man who had heard Solnit was an author. She began to tell him about her latest book about Eadweard Muybridge and the man interrupted her to inform her that just last year a new and popular book about Muybridge came out. Had she heard of it? It so happens that she had. Solnit wrote it.

And finally: on June 26th we celebrated the 20th anniversary since the publishing of the first Harry Potter novel: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” (Retitled “The Sorcerer’s Stone” in the US.) Joanne Rowling famously started jotting down the novel onJK-Rowling a napkin in an Edinburgh cafe when she was a single mother and broke, living on welfare. She finished the manuscript on an old-fashioned typewriter. It was rejected by 12 publishers. Finally a small children’s publisher Bloomsbury accepted. They asked Rowling to create a gender-neutral name because a novel about a boy wizard was likely to sell better if boys didn’t know a woman had written it. So Joanne became J.K. Rowling. Bloomsbury printed 500 copies of the original hardcover (now worth a fortune!) 300 of those copies were sent to libraries and only 200 into the wild. The rest, of course, is history. Over the course of seven novels Rowling’s story of the boy wizard and his best friends Ron and Hermione’s struggles against forces of evil have inspired generations of children and adults. Movies and a play made billions. Rowling herself became a billionaire (Forbes claims she is the first writer to make a billion dollars from writing alone), and at one point Rowing was proclaimed to be richer than the Queen of England. However, Rowling gave away so much to charity that Forbes had to remove her from their list of billionaires. She is currently said to have only about $840,000,000.

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Over the weekend I edited a short fundraising video for organizations that help victims of human trafficking. These are all religious institutions and the women interviewed were all nuns. One from NYC, one from London, and one from Mombasa, Kenya.

Human trafficking is the 2nd largest crime industry in the world, only behind drug trafficking. It generates hundreds of billions of dollars in profit – at the expense of human lives. And it is also the fastest growing “industry” in the world today. In 2012 it was estimated that as many as 20.9 million people around the world were victims of human trafficking. Imagine what those numbers are in 2017. Human trafficking includes sexual exploitation (including sexual slavery), forced labor, organ harvesting. The International Labour Organization (a United Nations agency) last compiled their statistics in 2012. Some excerpts:

90% are forced to labor for private economies or corporations

22% are in forced sexual exploitation

55% are women and girls & 45% are men and boys

26% are under the age of 18

Sister Jane Kimathi, from Mombasa, speaks of victims as young as 4 years old, forced into prostitution. Many, she says, come to their safe houses unable to speak because of the trauma. Some stay with the Sisters for as long as two years, as they try to rehabilitate them and find new homes. While their order is Catholic, they welcome all victims and their prayer room is nondenominational. She mentioned that Mombasa is a popular tourist destination. But the “tourist destination” designation is people who come there specifically searching for young children to abuse. Because of the many conflicts in Africa, the number of refugees spikes the numbers of slaves. They are people looking for ways to support their families. Nobody is looking for glamour or prestige in the sex trade, Sister Kimathi says. “It’s poverty and desperation.” Some of the children were sold by their parents into slavery. Some are orphans and some are runaways who were promised happiness by relatives, who then exploited them.

It’s a story the Sister from New York, Joan Dawber, picks up on. Sister Joan runs safe houses in Queens. She described one woman’s story: She came to New York to be a student, sponsored byp1562069350-3 an extended family. When she arrived, the family forced her to become their slave. She never attended school. She was forced to take care of the family, including raising their young children. She was forced to eat off the floor. Not just having her plate on the floor, she didn’t have a plate. Whatever food she was allowed to eat was put on the floor. If she was hungry and snuck any food out of the fridge, she was punished. She was her family’s slave in Queens, NY for five years. Her salvation came in the form of a neighbor who suspected something odd based on the young woman’s behavior in public. She tried to speak to her repeatedly, ask her how she is, only to have the young woman run away. Eventually the neighbor gave the woman a cell phone with pre-programmed numbers for the police and safe shelters. The young woman finally found courage to escape, using the cell phone to call for help. She has since finished school and lives in New York.

Sister Dawber points out that human trafficking exists in every state of the USA. It is not an issue that only happens out there somewhere. It exists all around us. It could be the waitress in a restaurant, or a manicurist at the nail salon. They could be of any age and any race. It can be almost impossible to know that this person ringing up our groceries is indentured to someone.

Sister Lynda Dearlove runs a safe house in London. Their organization primarily helps prostitutes. The interesting thing is that their mission isn’t strictly to “rescue” the women from prostitution. It is to offer them a safe home and counseling when in need. Many only come to sister-lynda-dearlovespend the night, take a shower and eat. Some then return to the streets. The Sisters there never force anyone to stay. Many women have been coming to them for years for a night or two of peace. The Sisters hope that by offering women a shelter and offering them counseling they can help them enable themselves. Sister Dearlove passionately says that the can not force anyone to do anything. The best they can do is show the women that there is hope and they need to find it for themselves. Maybe not today, but possibly tomorrow. “They are valued and they are loved, and if anything happens to them we want them to know that we will miss them.” She says that people blame women for becoming prostitutes and that it is one of the biggest challenges we as a society face: The need to understand that if any of these women choose prostitution it is only because they are fleeing abuse, or drugs, or so many other possible traumas. Many are trying to support families and stay alive. They must never be judged or condemned, she says. They must be offered hope.

Note: Sister Dearlove was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010.

This is an open thread. What’s on your mind fellow Widdershins?

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Oh, No He Dwa – Wa

Good Monday, Widdershins! It’s been another dizzying, crazy-making week in Washington. It’s almost impossible to make sense of all the Republicans melting down in public, including the fact that Mike Pence (currently being marketed as “The Normal One”) used a private email server to conduct government bidness as Indiana’s governor! Yes, that’s Our Girl reading about it over there on the right side.

Let’s take a little break from the cray-cray and talk about some of the good things going on. As we know, March is Women’s History Month, and March 8, 2017 is International Women’s Day. Thanks to the Women’s March, a spontaneous outpouring of love, positivity and opposition the day after Drumpf’s inauguration, women, and those who support us, have been energized for activism in a way they haven’t been in decades.

This year, March 8 is A Day Without A Woman.

In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women’s March, we join together in making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system–while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity. We recognize that trans and gender nonconforming people face heightened levels of discrimination, social oppression and political targeting. We believe in gender justice.

Anyone, anywhere, can join by making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, in one or all of the following ways:

  1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor
  2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
  3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman

Ah, but what are we women yammering about, skeptics may grumble. After all, women aren’t that far away from being equal. And it’s true, we’ve made some strides. Maybe we should wait! According to the IWD website, if we continue on our current course, women will achieve gender parity in 2186.

I’ll just let that sit there for a minute.

When I read that figure, I thought, huh. Weren’t we doing better a few years ago? Why yes. Yes we were.

On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than 95% of the gap in educational attainment, an improvement of almost one full percentage point since last year and the highest value ever measured by the Index. However, the gaps between women and men on economic participation and political empowerment remain wide: only 59% of the economic participation gap has been closed—a continued reversal on several years of progress and the lowest value measured by the Index since 2008—and about 23% of the political gap, continuing a trend of slow but steady improvement. Weighted by population, in 2016, the average progress on closing the global gender gap stands at a score of 0.683—meaning an average gap of 31.7% remains to be closed worldwide across the four Index dimensions in order to achieve universal gender parity.

Out of the 142 countries covered by the Index both this year and last year, 68 countries have increased their overall gender gap score compared to last year, while 74 have seen it decrease. It therefore has been an ambiguous year for global gender parity, with uneven progress at best.

Sometimes statistics like this can seem dry. This year, in which we saw a feces-throwing orangutan being inaugurated as President, instead of the first woman ever, it’s as pertinent and full of emotional impact as the shameful and terrifying deportations, anti-Semitic hate crimes, and virulent, violent racism flourishing in the Age of Republican Hate.

But damn, I was going to talk about the good things, right? Here are 31 days of sheroes to inspire us. And for those who want to talk about the insanity du jour, this is an open thread.

 

 

white-houseA few of random thoughts for the week, my fellow Widdershins.

This weekend I attended a friend’s wedding in Washington DC. My friend, Mike, served for 5 years in the Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and worked his way to Captain before leaving service. He came out of the closet to his friends in the army shortly before leaving and before DADT was repealed.  (His husband used to work in a publicity firm in DC that serves politicians. Because everybody needs good PR.) They took Trump’s election very personally, especially as a gay couple. But it was encouraging to have the military chaplain, who presided over the ceremony, acknowledge how difficult life for gay men and women is in the military and how much he hopes things get better.

I was seated at the table with some of my friend’s former military brothers and sisters, all straight. My direct neighbor was one very Southern redneck from Texas.  I, the East coast elite, looked at him with suspicion at first. But as he cheered the grooms’ first dance I was reminded of a story another friend once told me about Spike Lee. That friend was a manager of a movie theater in Harlem and they held premieres of several Spike Lee movies. At one premiere a fight broke out in the audience. Lee came up to my friend afterwards and apologized for the fight, though he had nothing to do with it. My friend responded: “Oh it’s fine, we were expecting it so we were prepared.” Lee responded: “You shouldn’t have expected it and it shouldn’t have happened. I’m sorry it happened.” Lessons learned about assumptions, so I shouldn’t have made any about this large Southern military man and what he thinks about gay people and their marriages.

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Speaking of gay, Madonna was just named Billboard Magazine’s woman of the year. I love Madonna, not just in that back-handed “Well she’s proved her mettle for 30 years and she’s got a few big hits” sort of way. I genuinely love her music, she’s written some of the most infectious and important pop songs of the last 30 years.  She’s charted more No. 1 hits than any other artist in Billboard’s history. Her tours have earned $1.3 billion, the most of any female artist.  So it’s not just shock values, she has proven her musical chops for 30 years.  I also admire her determination. This is one woman who refused to bake cookies.  One may not like her music or respect her approach to fame, but it’s hard to argue she’s more famous than Jesus’s mother at this point.  That’s quite the feat.  She’s paved the way for many women in the entertainment industry. Now, as a 58 year old, she’s still pushing boundaries. About a year ago she posted a photo to Instragram with hairy armpits. Internet broke. People were very upset. Mind you, she caused controversy with hairy armpits in the 1980’s too and maybe the fact that people were still angry about it is why it was important for her post the photo. The Billboard interview that accompanies the Woman of the Year headline, by the actress Elizabeth Banks, touches on a few interesting topics. Madonna hosted a rally for Hillary Clinton in Washington Square Park in NYC the night before the election. She says since the election she’s felt like “someone died.” And she was disappointed by how many women voted for Trump.

Women’s nature is not to support other women. It’s really sad. Men protect each other, and women protect their men and children. Women turn inward and men are more external. A lot of it has do with jealousy and some sort of tribal inability to accept that one of their kind could lead a nation. Other people just didn’t bother to vote because they didn’t like either candidate, or they didn’t think Trump had a chance in the world. They took their hands off the wheel and then the car crashed.

Madonna is also asked about ageism in the entertainment industry and America. One thing people constantly tell Madonna now is she should stop flaunting her boobs or hairy armpits because she’s an old woman. One way to dismiss her is to call her “irrelevant.” Nobody says that about Mick Jagger. And they were telling Madonna to not flaunt her boobs when she was in her 20’s too.

Age is only brought up with regard to women. It’s connected to sexism, chauvinism and misogyny. When Leonardo [DiCaprio] is 60 years old, no one is going to talk about his relevance. Am I relevant as a female in this society that hates women? Well, to people who are educated and are not chauvinists or misogynists, yes.

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lincoln-memorialAnd speaking of Washington DC, above is a photo we took at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday.

And one of the places we visited was the Holocaust Museum. The subject of the Holocaust is one I’ve read about a fair amount in the past. Nazi atrocities have always fascinated me so I’ve done a fair amount of reading on the subject because I keep trying to understand how ordinary people could such awful things. I highly recommend Richard Rhodes’ “Masters of Death,” for example, about the Einsatzgruppen, an elite group of SS soldiers who followed the German army into Eastern Europe and exterminated, virtually by hand, about 1.5 million people as the German Army advanced into the Soviet Union in 1941.  It was the first step of Hitler’s Final Solution. So the images and the stories at the museum are something I have been reading about and studying for some time. But having everything assembled in one place and in such a thorough fashion is very heavy. Two places at the exhibit were particularly haunting. At the end of the Final Solution section the hundreds of shoes in a pile are hair-raising. But the most emotional moment, unexpectedly so, was walking through a train car used to deport Jews to Dachau. You walk in, you stop for a moment inside – and it just takes your breath away. You can hear the voices still echoing inside the walls.

In the first part of the exhibit, about Hitler’s rise to power, it’s really difficult to not see the ascendancy of Trump and its parallels to Hitler. I know, you’re not supposed to compare people to Hitler. But sometimes you can and you should. Hitler rose in power in part because nobody believed he would do any of the horrible things he said he would do. His ideas and philosophies were not new to anyone. He articulated them in his book and he spoke about them at length as he rose to power, before he was appointed to be the Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg. Hitler challenged Hindenburg for Presidency in 1932. The vote was close and they had to have a run-off, one week of campaigning. Hindenburg delivered one radio address. Hitler rented a plane from Lufthansa and spent the week flying around Germany, holding rallies in 22 cities in one week. The public was electrified, he made headlines of every newspaper. Hindenburg, a very well-known figure, won the run-off. But Hitler, the master rally-holder, became a big enough thorn in Hindenburg’s side that he appointed Hitler to be Chancellor of Germany. Hindenburg’s allies convinced the aging President that Hitler could be controlled from the inside and that appointing him would be harmless. We know the rest.

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As Germany’s Left shattered because nobody could agree on a common adversary, and a certain wing of the Left didn’t think everyone else was pure enough to support – Hitler, who promised the frustrated Germans that he would make Germany relevant again – quickly consolidated his power. He then did exactly what he said he would do. In one documentary shown at the museum, a female reporter returning from Germany held a press-conference on a boat. (Sadly I did not jot down her name and have not been successful at locating this press-conference online. I couldn’t even narrow down the name of the reporter.) But she said explicitly that she observed that the Nazis had started doing in Germany exactly what they all along said they were going to do, so maybe America and the world should start taking them seriously.

I’m not saying Trump is Hitler. I’m just saying…

One thing I really liked in the exhibit is that the final section is dedicated to many individuals who fought against the Nazis and helped Jews during the Holocaust.  There are many names and photographs, and brief summaries of how they helped.  None of them are as famous as Oscar Schindler.  But how amazing that someone remembers their individual stories, ordinary men and women of different ages, backgrounds, professions and religions, who risked their own lives to save others.

I kept checking for their death dates and was glad to see that many of them did survive the war and lived long lives.  Though not all.

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Hans and Sophie Scholl with Christoph Probst in summer 1942

A few college students formed a small group The White Rose. Consisting of students from University of Munich that included siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst,  Alex Schmorell, another Scholl sibling Inge and a philosophy professor Kurt Huber.  The students were in their early 20’s.  Between June 1942 and February 1943 they distributed leaflets denouncing the Nazis and their mass murders of Jews, some of which the members of The White Rose hand witnessed first-hand at home and at the front.  Soon they were all arrested and executed.  Hans Scholl’s final words were: “Long live Freedom!”

Prior to their deaths, several members of the White Rose believed that their execution would stir university students and other anti-war citizens into a rallying activism against Hitler and the war. Accounts suggest, however, that university students continued their studies as usual, citizens mentioned nothing, many regarding the movement as anti-national. Their actions were mostly dismissed, until after the war when their efforts were eventually praised by the German consciousness.

 

 

What’s on your mind folks? This is an open thread.

 

Good Monday, all! As Big Daddy Deplorable continues his epic meltdown, we’ve seen an equally epic, and almost fatally overdue, avalanche of truthful, and thus negative, press about his lack of fitness to be President. This “Holy sh*t, what have we done?!” moment from the press corpse has been rather gratifying to us here at TW. Except for one, teeny, eeny little caveat: Where’s HRC?

It seems the collective media, despite a resounding and practically universal acknowledgement of her stellar debate performance last week, still cannot bring itself to cover any of Hillary’s events, or discuss any of her policies and plans for the country. To do this would be acknowledging that she is not actually an evil murderous robot, but a real, live human being who is 1000% prepared for her time in the Oval Office. This is, I suppose, not exciting or “sexy” enough for the media, especially when it comes from a girl. Sadly, when Stepford Spokesperson Kellyanne Conway says she never hears about any kind of policy from the Democratic side, she’s right – because it’s been utterly, completely invisible.

Oh, but Hillary’s “glaring weakness” is sure to be covered, even as her huge bump from the debate performance is minimized and caveatted as though its accuracy were going to be defended in a court of law. (On  September 30, according to fivethiryeight.com, she led in all 11 swing states. Der Trumperer was ahead or close in several states before his, uh, “microphone issues.”) Do you know what this horrible Achilles heel is? That’s right – millennials! Bros in hoodies, baby. Oh, if only she could win them over, but they’re just too idealistic and lefty for her, and disagree with her on the issues. Writes Emmett Rensin of Newsweek, arguing his case:

The liberal punditry might be forgiven for underestimating the depth and seriousness of these differences had these young people not voted overwhelmingly and across all other demographic lines for a different candidate. The Clinton campaign might be forgiven for imagining these voters would “come home” had it not spent the weeks since the Democratic Convention fundraising and playing Bush administration endorsement bingo. The trouble is not that young people are insufficiently familiar with the neoconservative horror show of their own childhoods. The trouble is that the candidate they are meant to support does not appear to find that show particularly horrifying.

Indeed it is difficult not to imagine that the punditry has refused to endorse the maddeningly simple conclusion that young voters are reluctant to support a candidate who does not represent their policy preferences because such a conclusion might undermine the need for so much well-compensated armchair psychology on their part.

Bzzzzzt! Sorry, Mr. Rensin, but if that were true, Gary Johnson would not have blipped on their radar. A guy who favors the dismantling of the government so that the “invisible hand of the free market” can reach into their pockets and take everything they have, does not actually qualify as more liberal than HRC. And during the primaries, let’s not forget that the BernieBros swarmed the Interwebz with an avalanche of misogynistic rhetoric Drumpf would have approved of heartily. These malicious, misinformed sexists do not get a pass from me because they are young and easily led around by their teeny tiny pee-pees.  Nor does the typical Brogressive bullsh*t of calling HRC a neocon play well with me. That’s just an excuse for not voting for her because she’s a woman – they had no problem whatsoever with Obama’s foreign policy, which was no different than hers, except that he never had an opportunity to vote for the AUMF, and rode that fortuitous timing all the way to the White House.

Are we sensing a theme here?

Still, again and for as long as they can, men are pushing HRC and her supporters to the back of the bus. (Yes, I said it. Deal with it.) The fact that Republican and moderate women are going for her doesn’t help her – only those young, “idealistic” millennial men can take her to the White House? Except, not so much, since there are 69 million millennial voters (who vote in astonishingly low numbers), and in 2014, there were 76 million female registered voters. (This was 66% of the citizen population.) As we all know, especially after the latest Machado hatefilled tweetfest, women massively favor Clinton. Even if all the millennials came out and voted, there still wouldn’t be the potential there that 100% of registered female turnout would offer. And yet no one can believe that we should be as assiduously courted as those graced with that famous scrap of flesh between their legs. Why should anyone care about us? We’re only wimminz, just like Hillary. To quote New York’s Nosferatu, Rudy NineEleven:

Speaking of reports that Donald Trump claimed a $916 million loss on his 1995 income taxes, Giuliani said: “Don’t you think a man who has this kind of economic genius is a lot better for the United States than a woman, [bolding mine] and the only thing she’s ever produced is a lot of work for the FBI checking out her emails?”

Note that strategically placed comma, folks? Just like all of Clinton’s outstanding public service for the past 40 years, Hillary Clinton’s gender defines her in the eyes of a lot of American men of all political persuasions. And, it makes her invisible. How ironic that her ad of 2008, which I still remember today, is now applying to not just her supporters, but herself.

I can’t wait for November 8th. When all those non-existent women come out to vote for HRC, all this will change; not immediately, but irrevocably, and for all time.

This is an open thread.

 

 

Goooooooooood Monday, all! I feel like I’ve been away for a century. While I’ve been closing on my house, moving (oy! the boxes!) and working on outstanding family issues, Dumpf as a Stumpf Drumpf has imploded most spectacularly, while Our Girl, Tim Kaine and the Democratic Party have enjoyed a huge bump in popularity since the convention in Philadelphia.

The media, addicted to false equivalencies and afflicted with an incurable case of CDS for the past 25 years, has insisted on reporting as though the two candidates are equally qualified to be President, and you know, all Drumpf needs to do is “get back on message.” Unfortunately for those desperate for a horse race instead of an unprecedented electoral drubbing, I don’t know how he can get back to something when he was never there to begin with; the whole reason that the Gibbering Orangutan is the nominee is that he never said anything the establishment wanted him to. Why should he start now? Even his obviously insincere endorsement of Ayotte, McCain and Ryan doesn’t signal a real change. The guy is incapable of thinking of anyone but himself, and very soon, he will take another sh*t on the American political carpet because of some imagined slight to his oh-so-fragile ego. By the time you read this, it may have already happened.

But I digress. (Quelle surprise.) The point I’m about to make is that the American people are not buying what the media is selling, and thanks to a new ABC poll, the “honest and trustworthy” meme against Hillary has been blown out of the water.

First of all, there has never been any proof that people will always vote for the candidate they think is the most honest and/or trustworthy. For example, Jimmy Carter was widely perceived as honest, but no one wanted his honesty. They wanted Raygun’s “Morning in America” optimism. So the entire kerfuffle about Hillary’s alleged dishonesty is somewhat irrelevant.

I would say these numbers are a bit more important. From the article linked above:

Trump appears to have done little to improve his overall image, despite efforts primarily by his children to use their convention speeches to portray him as a loving father and a successful business executive. Almost 6 in 10 voters say he is not qualified to be president, unchanged from before his convention, and 3 in 10 say they would feel comfortable if he were to become president. (bolding mine)

In other words, according to this poll, between 60% and 70% of Americans would not feel comfortable with Drumpf as President, and, they feel that he’s not qualified for the job.

But wait, there’s more:

Meanwhile, roughly 6 in 10 say [Clinton] is qualified to be president, and 44 percent say they would feel comfortable if she were to become president, compared with 54 percent who say they would feel anxious.

There are also the demographics: Hillary crushes Drumpf among all the key voting blocs: women, African-Americans and Hispanics. That mango-colored monkey can’t even muster up a majority amongst Republican women. And, Hillary’s negatives went way down after the convention. My guess is some of those women migrated over to the Bright Side.

So what does this mean for Activist Monday? Everything is looking extremely positive for Our Girl right now, while Drumpf is sinking like a stone. So why is Hillary’s campaign sending us four emails a day, asking for money, notifying us about the latest Republican stupidities, and generally asking if we’re with her?

Simply speaking: She needs your vote.

I know, I know. She has an extraordinary opportunity to unify the country after the hideous spectacle of the right-wing’s cartoonish nominee, crashing around like a bull in a china shop, angering and disgusting a majority of Americans with his insensitivity and insults. Not just battleground states, but even deep red states like Georgia have the potential to go her way. Because of this, money for advertising will definitely help her in that mission, and it’s good to send it if you have some extra.

But in the end, it’s all about the votes. So talk to your friends, post on social media, phone bank, offer to drive people to the polls on Election Day. Spread the word and get out the vote! The bottom line is, there are more sane Americans than crazy ones, and if we all turn out and throw that lever for Hillary, Drumpf doesn’t have a chance.

It’s the best thing you can do.

This is an open thread.

Well well well, it looks like Bernie Sanders has had a belated realization that it’s really not okay to call Hillary Clinton “unqualified.”

Bernie Sanders reversed himself Friday, tempering his vicious two-day attack line that Hillary Clinton is not “qualified” for the presidency.

“Of course” the former secretary of state is qualified for the White House, Sanders said during a town hall on NBC’s “Today.”

“On her worst day she would be an infinitely better president than either of the Republican candidates,” he said, heaping praise on his opponent in a similar fashion to what Clinton said the prior day in response to the Vermont senator doubling down on his sharp rhetoric.

I personally had a very strong reaction to Bernie’s unwarranted attacks on Our Girl’s qualifications. I said on Facebook on Friday,

This is what Bernie would be like as President…first make an unfounded accusation, then double down on it when proven wrong. Sorry…who is the unqualified one here?! Good luck winning New York after this BS, Senator Sanders.

I felt compelled to post about this kerfuffle, because instinctually, I “heard” Bernie’s words as a gendered attack. Turns out there are a couple of reasons why.

In a memo out this month from Lake Research Partners, Chesapeake Beach Consulting and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, entitled “Politics is Personal: Keys to Likeability and Electability for Women,” suggestions such as “Voters like informal photos of women candidates engaging with children” and “Voters like women officeholders who share credit with their teams, in addition to taking credit as an individual leader,” were on offer.

The memo, of the brass tacks strategy variety, says quite a bit about the line that female candidates must walk. “Women face a litmus test that men do not have to pass,” reads a passage in the document. “Women have to prove they are qualified. For men, their qualification is assumed.”

That’s why Sanders’ statement about Clinton’s qualifications cuts so deep — it seemed to send a volley at the fortress of qualification female candidates build up as proof of their worthiness to the public at large.

Yes…the idea that anyone could look at Hillary’s resume and, with a straight face, claim she is unqualified for office…well, that not only beggars belief, but it says something about the mindset of the person saying it, doesn’t it?

In another twist, it seems like women who are strong and assertive are automatically viewed as less qualified for whatever job they’re doing…significantly so.

A new study by New York Times bestselling authors, Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield revealed that gender bias in the workplace is real, finding that women’s perceived competency drops by 35% and their perceived worth falls by $15,088 when they are judged as being “forceful” or “assertive.” Compare this with the drops in competency and worth that men experience when being judged as forceful: their competency drops by 22% and their worth falls by $6,547. This significant difference reveals a true gender bias that prohibits women from succeeding fully in leadership and management roles where assertiveness is, of course, a crucial behavior.

I have personally experienced this when working with a man in my office, who told me I was “pushy” during a conversation in which we were disagreeing about something. I’m sure the women on this blog could give a lot of examples from their own professional lives. I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to apply this bias to female politicians, do you?

My husband recently said to me that he wishes there were more of a forum for socialist ideas in this country. He said that we need a “Bull Moose”/Progressive Party again, like we had in the days of Theodore Roosevelt. My response was, “I don’t think so.” Why? Because I, too, used to think that, back in the days when I was a regular at Talk Left and Eschaton. I used to think that being a “progressive” meant that I was in the company of people who cared about women’s equality as much as I did. As we all found out in 2007-2008, that idea is nothing but a naive fantasy. “Progressives” are, more often than not, a boys’ club that is not only indifferent to women’s equality, but is actively hostile to prioritizing that goal over other policy goals. I won’t ever support a generic “lefty” organization or political party, unless it puts women’s equality first and foremost. And I won’t apologize for that position, either, no matter how “unqualified” or”incompetent” people think it makes me.

I remain mystified by Sanders’ persistence in the face of an obvious inability to gain the nomination. His idea of winning New York, or even coming close, is clearly based on nothing. Hillary is projected to win by a very large margin. Other hopes he has of beating her in large states like Pennsylvania and California, seem to be similarly fantastical. Maybe part of the reason he feels that he can still change the minds of the Party delegates and superdelegates, and overturn the will of the voters, is because Hillary is only a woman…an incompetent, unqualified woman. That’s the ugly truth I fear is hiding behind Sanders’ two days of obstinacy on this topic.

This is an open thread.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

The team we’re on

Women’s March on Washington!

Right-click the pic for more info

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed