Add mixed messages to your site

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

McCain's sexist, racist, homophobic record

John McCain calls himself a maverick but when it comes to his positions on race, gender, and sexuality, his views either line up with or are to the right of those of George W. Bush. In case the fact that he wants to spend "a hundred years" in Iraq, fighting endlessly regardless of whether or not we can ever achieve anything in the way of a goal there isn't enough, his racist, sexist and homophobic views may give us all even more reason to oppose his candidacy.

To familiarize ourselves with McCain's position on women's issues, we may want to look at the Republican platform, which according to the National Organization of Women (NOW), "supports a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would undo Roe v. Wade, and legislation granting Fourteenth Amendment rights to "unborn children," which would treat an abortion as murder in all fifty states. The platform also declares allegiance to the global gag rule, rejects the ratification of CEDAW and calls for increased funding for abstinence-only education." In addition, McCain has opposed legislation which would require equal pay for equal work and take on the wage gap that results in [white] women getting only 77 cents on the dollar a [white] man makes. Women of color make even less. According to the National Organization of Women, "African-American women [are] paid only 71 cents and Latinas just 58 cents on... [a white man's] dollar."

With regard to his racist views, Mccain voted repeatedly against making Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday and even after the law was passed, supported the then Arizona governor's decision to rescind the state's observation of the holiday in his state. Additionally, according to the New York Times (2000) McCain has argued that the confederate flag is a symbol of heritage not racism. He also voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1990 four times.

As for his views on gay right, according to the Human Rights Campaign, "like President Bush, Senator McCain opposes equal benefits for same-sex couples. Like President Bush, Senator McCain opposes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination against GLBT Americans in the workplace. Like President Bush, Senator McCain opposes expanding the hate crimes act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Like President Bush, Senator McCain supports the military’s discriminatory "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy."

What more do we need to know about this man?

Monday, September 29, 2008

McCain's Sexism Lies in his Choice of a "fall guy"

Its easy to make fun of Sarah Palin. She has been thrust into the spotlight and asked questions she is totally unprepared to answer. Add to that a nervous tendency on her part to keep talking long after she has finished saying anything of substance. Did McCain really ever expect his VP pick to be able to do any better than she currently is?

I doubt it. The man is an old fashioned sexist. He likes his women young, conservative, pretty, and silent. They should listen to their men, do as they're told, and never challenge the power structure.

So McCain did not pick Governor Palin for her qualifications or her intelligence. She may very well be intelligent. But he picked her for her good looks, her youthfulness, her inexperience and her compliant conservative stance. He wanted someone he could control, someone he could keep under his thumb. He wanted a VP who would tow his party line, not challenge him, not outshine him but make him look good. In other words, he wanted a trophy VP.

Trophy wives are rarely what they seem. They play a role and fulfill a request in exchange for benefits they deem valuable. They are often much more intelligent and much more aware than their husbands would like to believe. They are victims of exploitation but they are also agents of their own survival in a society that values women's looks and sexual and reproductive capacities over their intellects. They are clever women who seek to circumvent the reality of women getting paid 75 cents to every dollar a man gets paid. They bypass the glass ceiling which keeps women out of the highest paying jobs and the most powerful political positions in this country by appealing directly to those in power.

But trophy wives, despite their agency, are victims of sexist exploitation because in a sexist society, all women are victims of patriarchal control to some degree. And thus we must recognize that Governor Sarah Palin is a victim of sexism despite her agency.

We should be critical of her but we should be more critical of John McCain. Its just easier to criticize her. She is an embarrassment to women (and especially to feminists) precisely because she is a woman and because she has gotten closer to power than any other woman thusfar. Even those of us who aren't Republicans never wanted to see a woman fail so terribly in the public eye.

Because while those of us who are feminists know that electing a woman to public office is not necessarily a feminist move, and that the mere possession of a vagina does not make a person pro-woman, much less a feminist (Sarah Palin is neither ), as feminists we understand that the public failure of any woman fuels sexism and impedes the advance of feminism.

But Palin's failure should not surprise us. McCain, as a sexist man, would never chose a highly intelligent, independent-thinking woman to be his Vice President. He picked her to provide his candidacy with an ornament. He thought she would make him look good, make him appealing to women, and ultimately leave him and his ideas in peace. He also hired her to be a distraction from himself. As long as she was making news, people would overlook him. When he wasn't shining, she would shine. That is what trophy wives do. The men who have them are rarely much to look at at. They lack the good looks, charm and allure that their trophy wives bring to the partnership. Likewise Governor Palin brought charisma to John's campaign. John McCain is neither good-looking, young, nor charming. He has no charisma. He is not inspiring. She is...or was until she started granting interviews.

Now, Sarah Palin has become John's fall guy. Everybody is so busy criticizing, mocking , and laughing at Palin, it is easy to overlook McCain. It seems unlikely at this point that McCain will do anything that will disappoint and shock us as much as Palin's recent gaffes on the economy and foreign policy. But lets not let him make Palin his fall guy. Lets follow these recent revelations back to their source: John McCain's sexism.

Palin and Katie Couric

A very funny parody of the actual interview.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Election Drama Betties and Bobs

Am I watching the news or have I inadvertently switched to a soap opera? There is no way to tell for sure. I see lots of white men wearing suits and sounding serious. Looks likes the news...maybe they are covering a soap opera? Hmmmm.

Lets of the presidential candidates picked a VP candidate whose teenage daughter is pregnant (and who despite being anti-choice, thinks that in the case of her daughter, the family should have a private choice), is under investigation for abuse of power (as a governor) and is refusing to cooperate with investigators. In case that was not enough drama for one politician's family, she has a preacher who is an avowed modern day witch-hunter. No, I am not making this up!

In recent news, much buzz has been made of her apparent cluelessness regarding foreign policy, after failing in an interview to be able to answer a question about the Bush Doctrine because she had no idea what it was. Now, she actually thinks that running the executive branch of a state that shares a border (land or maritime) with a foreign country gives her foreign policy experience. This may sound like old news but believe it or not she is still repeating this foolishness even after all the laughter had died down after the first three times she said it. Check out the Katie Couric interview (linked above).

According to this logic, the governors of: Washington, Montana, North dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Maine, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California all also have foreign policy experience. In fact, according to this logic, Alaska is a lot like a third of all the states in the US. They all share a border with another country.

But she shouldn't feel bad. Her running mate thinks Spain is a Latin American country. He also thinks, "the fundamentals" of an economy that is currently crumbling before our eyes, are strong.

In recent drama, presidential hopeful John McCain decided to "suspend " his campaign so he could rush to Washington to solve the nation's financial crisis. By suspend, he did not mean close his election offices, stop running election ads, or stop giving interviews. It seems he did not even mean that he would literally fly to Washington. Although he eventually (two days later) did end up in Washington, he did not bother to actually read the Paulson proposal being debated before he arrived and was unable to contribute any substance at the photo-op presidential meeting.

He vowed not to debate Barack Obama in Mississiippi until a "deal was brokered." Then, after various senators went on camera to report that his arrival in Washington not only did NOT help the process but that in fact it hindered it, he continued to claim he was busy helping to get his party behind the proposal and would stay until the job was done. Then without a deal being made, without the job being done, he changed his mind and said OK I will debate Obama after all.

But his inability to make a decision and stick to it is nothing new. Despite a long career of being a deregulator of Wall Street, he now claims he supports the regulation of the economy by the government. Really?

But reversing his positions on major political issues is nothing new to McCain. He has been doing it for years. He has flip-flopped on his positions on Immigration, gay marriage, abortion, terrorism, torture, the Iraq war, tax breaks for the rich, windfall profits tax, offshore drilling, MLK day, South African disinvestment, the confederate flag, and teaching creationism in schools, among others.

Isnt there a drug for that kind of moodiness? Is the man addicted to drama?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sarah Palin and Rape: I Say Vote for Your Vagina

In case anyone is still confused, more information has come out about Palin's anti-woman record. Even Republican women have to pause when they learn that when Sarah Palin was the mayor of Wasila, Texas she required women who had been raped to pay for their own rape kits in order for their rapes to be investigated.

I am not making this up!!!!!! It seems too horrid to be true but unfortunately it IS true! And no, its not an Alaskan tradition. Wasila was the only city in the state who did this.

What kind of a person asks the victims of a horrible crime of any kind to pay for their own investigation? What kind of woman subjects rape victims to further humiliation by asking them to come up with some cold hard cash for a painful and humiliating pelvic exam in the hopes that some evidence will be found? What was she thinking? Don't all women know that rape is always a threat? How many women don't have friends, sisters, mothers who have been raped? In a country where one in four women will be raped in her lifetime how did she manage to remain immune from compassion for the victims of sexual assault?

But, hey, it gets worse! She didn't stay a mayor! She became a governor and with all that power, did she do anything to protect rape victims? NO, but she had enough power to fire someone who did try to help rape victims. By her own account, her excuse for firing the man who refused to fire her trooper brother in law, was her anger about his intention to obtain federal funding for pursuing the most serious sex offenders, including violent child molesters. Thats right, she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan for seeking to taking action against rape when she did told him not to.

According to the Huffington Post, Campaign officials claim to have fired Monegan because of insubordination and that "the last straw was a trip Monegan planned to Washington in July to seek federal money for investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases."

Really? What exactly does she have against pursuing rapists?

Maybe, one might wonder, rape really isn't a big issue up in the hinterland? Maybe its too cold for women to get raped that far north? Maybe Palin was just prioritizing other issues more pressing in Alaska?

Think again. According to the FBI, Alaska has the highest rate of rape in the country. That's right, of all the states in the US, Alaska is the last place to go if you have a vagina. They have the HIGHEST RATE OF RAPE of all states.

And its not a new problem. According to the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project, "since 1976, Alaska has ranked in the top five states in the nation for the highest rate of reported rape per capita." and " Alaska has 6 times the national average of reported child sexual assault." Sexual assault is even more of an issue in Alaska than anywhere else.

Palin may have a vagina but she won't protect yours. Or mine. Or my child's. Or anyone elses. Oh, and if you get raped in Palin's America, not only might you be required to pay for your own rape kit, but you will also be required to give birth to your rapist's child.

Forcible rape rate and Violent crime by State

Monday, September 8, 2008

Having a Vagina Doesn't make You a Feminist

Having a Vagina doesn't make you a feminist, thought admittedly, it ought to.

The mere possession of a vagina goes a long way in determining what kind of life you are allowed to live in today's world.
First of all, if you have a vagina in the United States you will only earn 72 cents on every dollar persons possessing a penis will earn. Since the only jobs that actually require the use of a particular sex member are all illegal, its not at all clear how one's genitalia explains the unequal pay problem in the United States.

But it may make sense for those in possession of a a vagina to band together and fight for equal pay for equal work.

Obama and Biden, both lacking the essential female member ( and no doubt envying those of us who do possess it) will fight for equal pay for women.

Palin, though possessing a vagina, will not.

Having a vagina means that regardless of your politics, you are at risk for being raped, getting pregnant without intending to, and being forced to give birth to children you may not be physically, psychologically, or economically prepared to care for.

Sarah Palin's running mate, Mccain, voted against the Violence Against Women Act. Palin herself has dne nothing to address the epidemic rape and violence against women rates in this country

One in four women in the United States will be raped in their lifetime, regardless of age, color, class, size, religion, beauty, activities engaged in, clothing worn, amount of alcohol consumed.

Distinguishing features of your average rape victim? Possession of a vagina. Other distinguishing features? None.

Palin thinks that if you get raped you should be required by law to give birth to your rapist's child. But don't expect any help from a McCain/Palin government while you are struggling to afford your pregnancy. Palin voted against Alaska funding for teen mother housing just this year.

A person possessing a vagina can also count on a lifetime of having strange men and women in white coats probe the inner most regions of their body in the interest of health. Women are expected to get annual gynecological exams and can be subjected to gynecological exams anytime they go to the hospital. If you are a working class or poor woman (which includes the majority of women of color), and you have less than adequate health insurance you can count on fewer choices in whose hands end up in your vagina. You can also count on being subject to rushed, less qualified hands.

Number of times a person possessing a penis can expect to have his genitalia probed during his lifetime by a stranger? Zero times.

If you have a vagina, your vagina is not a private matter. It is a part of the public domain.

But, according to Sarah Palin, health care is a private matter and a capitalist concern. Let healthcare companies fight for your business in a fair market, she says. And besides, according to Palin, we are not women in need of compassionate medical care but are "consumers [who] should take more responsibility for their own health." (New York Times, 8/30)

A person possessing a vagina is also required to sacrifice her sexuality and to risk her life when her government deems it necessary. She does not have a right to use her vagina for pleasure without paying a price.

Chances that a person with a penis will be required to undergo excessive pain, give up his job, quit school, lose a scholarship, be kicked out of his home, or be labeled a whore, as a result of having sex? None.

If at any time in this person's life, a person with a vagina opts to have sexual relations with a member of the opposite sex, she is at risk of getting pregnant and in a no-choice world, being required to carry to term the fetus, despite the risks involved. Pregnancy can kill you, it can disable you for life, and it is one of the most intensely painful events the human body can go through.

Circumstances where a person with a penis will be forced to undergo excessive pain, risk to life and limb, and possible permanent disability without their consent? Only one: a draft.

Sarah Palin thinks no pregnancy should be terminated no matter the circumstances and no matter the risk to women's health.

Having a vagina doesn't make you a feminist but it ought to. Caring about the rights of people regardless of what genitalia they are born with may not make you a feminist either but it will make you a supporter of human rights.

Whether or not you possess a vagina, please remember to protect the rights of persons with vaginas when you vote in this election.