rather than comment all over the place whenever it comes up, and I sure as fuck hope that everyone else on FreethoughtBlogs and Wonkette and Discord is listening, because this is important.
There is a thing lately, a widespread thing, a thing that has happened in comments here but also in top-level posts, which is just pissing me off. Abe Drayton is the latest to do this thing that pisses me off with his post:
The Democrats are not blameless: Some thoughts about how we got here
Now, I’m not going to lie, there is some utility in examining how institutions such as the Democratic Party help (or not) and fight (or not) for things that are supposedly Democratic Party priorities. Examining that might help you make decisions going forward about how you interact with the Democratic Party and representatives thereof.
I will also stipulate that Drayton (and many other people implicitly criticized by this here blog post of mine) are not bad people. That’s not what I’m saying. (Abe Drayton is actually a good guy who does amazing work on climate and you should support that work.)
But this is a shitty take to promote right now, and let me tell you why. Because when you say, as Drayton does, that “the Democrats” are guilty of x or y sin of action or omission, you’re talking about a category that includes both men and also maybe possibly actual fucking women. Yes, that’s right. Women are occasionally Democrats. They occasionally get elected as Democrats to work within legislative bodies or as executive officers of states or other jurisdictions.
And here’s the thing that I’m only saying once, so LISTEN THE FUCK UP:
Democratic women are the ONLY political group who has made reproductive rights a priority. They are the ONLY group that has fought with any measure of consistency or effectiveness for reproductive rights. And they are the FIRST group to be targeted for shit from the right wing, such as when a woman testified before congress about the gross disparities between insurance coverage of mens sexual health and insurance coverage of contraception for women and other necessities for women’s sexual health and was then immediately tarred as a “slut” (yes, that actual word, no euphemisms) for testifying before congress on a public policy matter. That woman is Sandra Fluke and fucking hell yes I remembered her off the top of my head; I didn’t google this shit; I didn’t go hunting for examples through laborious internet research. I just know the name of this woman who was pilloried for doing exactly what Drayton and too many others say that “Democrats” are unwilling to do.
So the question is, if I know her name, why don’t all of you? Why are so many of you willing to blame “the Democrats” without qualification? If you want to bash some broad group within the Democratic Party you can bash Democratic men if you like, but at this moment, at this particular moment, lumping Democratic women, the ONLY people who have worked to create the environment that mades overturning Roe v. Wade even an issue the media would cover so that you would notice it to comment, with people who just don’t give a shit, well, that’s victim blaming and I won’t have it.
I know that people have done this without being bad people. They just made a bad mistake, yada yada yada. I don’t fucking care because this post isn’t about you. It’s not about how you’re a bad person. It’s not about how you feel.
This post is about how Democratic women are the only people who have cared about this for more than 50 years now, and to have Democratic women lumped in with the do-nothings has to fucking stop. This post is about not forgetting that women are people. This post is about not forgetting that Democrats include women and when you’re talking about “Democrats” you’re talking about women. And this post is important because Alito and his ilk would like you to forget that when you’re talking about “Americans” or “Adults” or “teenagers” you are also talking about women.
Ignoring the existence of women as independent human beings with our own needs, our own bodies, and our own agency is what got us into this mess. Continuing that mistake isn’t going to help us get out of it.
If not the Democrats then who?
Who will stop and fight this and has a chance of suceeding I mean.
I did have to Google Sandra Fluke, but I remembered the gist of the issue. To be clear, she was not called a slut by any member of Congress, she was insulted by that self-serving slimeball, Rust Limpbum.
However, she was initially denied the right to testify before Congress by another self-serving slimeball, Darryl Issa, whom I’m sad to say has been reelected to Congress by the dickheads of San Diego.
To be clear, it doesnt make a fucking bit of difference who called Sandra Fluke a slut. The point is it was said at all.
Regarding insurance coverage: it’s astounding how much never changes.
Back in the 1990s, I worked for a national-level company (If I gave you the name, everyone in the USA and likely many non-USA people would instantly recognize it). One day all the women employees–all systems, software, or electrical engineers with multiple degrees–were called into the large conference room, where we were met by the 20-something male HR rep. He informed us–many women in their 40s and 50s–that the company insurance policy would no longer coverage any form of birth control because “you girls need to be responsible for your actions”.
One of the women stood up and demanded to know if he was telling married women that being intimate with their husbands was “irresponsible”, then he–and the company–had another think coming. And yes, this 20-something man actual did call 40- and 50-year-old women, “girls”.
It got worse–the company insurance would not cover any form of pain relief for the mother giving birth, either.
They did, however, cover Viagra…no problemo.
Then they wondered why the women up and quit for different companies.
Also, this. X100:
“This post is about how Democratic women are the only people who have cared about this for more than 50 years now, and to have Democratic women lumped in with the do-nothings has to fucking stop. This post is about not forgetting that women are people. This post is about not forgetting that Democrats include women and when you’re talking about “Democrats” you’re talking about women. And this post is important because Alito and his ilk would like you to forget that when you’re talking about “Americans” or “Adults” or “teenagers” you are also talking about women.
Ignoring the existence of women as independent human beings with our own needs, our own bodies, and our own agency is what got us into this mess. Continuing that mistake isn’t going to help us get out of it.”
When it comes to Democrats, the thing to remember is that they do not have a majority in the Senate. They have a tie and Kamala.
Here in Ohio I hope his campaign slogan is: Elect Tim Ryan – Make Joe Manchin irrelevant.
(And equivalent for every other Senate race.)
Raging Bee says
I’m just going to say this once…
That’s okay — I, for one, am willing to re-paste it elsewhere as appropriate. Because, to put it mildly, it does bear repeating.
Pierce R. Butler says
Our esteemed host seems to say we should not see the Democratic Party as an entity, but as a set of individuals.
I see it as both – and I see the entity (the decision-making layer) as a serious problem:
Democratic Inaction Is Seriously Eroding the Party’s Activist Base
One or two ineffectual blocs justifies regular use of “Not all Democrats…” disclaimers, but does not exonerate the party as a whole.
For anyone who argues that “both parties are the same”: The Angry Cheeto ran as a Republican. AOC ran as a Democrat. ‘Nuff Said?
@10; for sure, both parties are not the same. Because too many people had their fee-fees hurt that their candidate didn’t win, they bought into Russian propaganda and sat out of the 2016 election, which got us the Mango Menace, who then worked with his party to load up SCOTUS with a bunch of women-hating monsters who are now trying to strip away women’s rights, and will no doubt set their sights on minority rights and LGBTQ rights.
Sister Artemis says
Thank you Thank you Thank you!
And while we’re at it, let’s bring a TON of that focus on the real culprits of this misery: Republicans and conservatives. There’s a whole lotta “blame the victim” shit going on these days, and I’m righteously sick of it.
Marcus Ranum says
Democratic women are the ONLY political group who has made reproductive rights a priority.
Well, actually, republican women did, too. :/
Marcus Ranum says
If not the Democrats then who?
I think it’s reasonable to assign some blame to both parties of a two-party system, that have constructed themselves so as to control politics and maintain the political dialogue within the bounds they have emergently agreed upon. The whole point of the two-party system is to maintain political control in one power-bloc or the other, and neither of them is interested in anything progressive (or, for that matter, to do with the climate crisis) Thus we have Biden running against the evil Trump and then turrning around and screaming “DRILL BABY DRILL!” the first time his chances of getting re-elected are endangered. The fact that both parties exist in order to control the set of options that are placed in front of the people means they’re both to blame. Not equally, of course. The republicans are worse. Of course. Because they’re winning and the entire message of the two-party system is switching back and forth who gets to be the underdog.
Yes, the republicans and conservatives are horrible people who are bringing about a fascist regime, and are probably going to dismantle what little democracy the US has. They are unquestionably worse. But, they don’t give a fuck. Meanwhile, yes, the democrats did miss opportunities. Opportunities that a power-hungry nihilist would have taken. Maybe that’s a problem. I’m reminded of how JFK was retconned into being a liberal icon when he didn’t lift a fucking finger to stop the Vietnam war and did damn little about the civil rights crisis. The most liberal thing he did was getting his brains blown out in a dramatic manner. Basically what’s going on with this is the same shit – oh, the democrats are all progressive about this and that because a very unprogressive freight train just rolled over them. And what can they do? Ask for money /spit. This has been coming for a decade and it’s been obvious what the conservative movement have been doing – they’ve broadcasted it quite openly. This was not a sucker punch.
Marcus Ranum says
The Angry Cheeto ran as a Republican. AOC ran as a Democrat. ‘Nuff Said?
I forget what Susan Collins ran as, and I think Joe Manchin ran as a democrat. And there’s Sinema, too. ‘Nuff said? Assholes all around.
I like AOC and I wish there was an army of her.
Your “Roe V Wade” post does make a lot more sense if you thought she was a Democrat (and presumably Lisa Murkowski as well).
Manchin too ..?
Raging Bee says
The whole point of the two-party system is to maintain political control in one power-bloc or the other…
Dude, that’s the point of ANY political faction or group in ANY kind of political system. There’s nothing uniquely evil in “the two-party system.” Do you really think no such evil is present in any multi-party system? I could argue, in fact, that at least a two-party system forces all the factions to try to form their governing coalitions BEFORE the votes are cast, rather than afterword, when large numbers of voters might feel betrayed by the post-election deals their parties have found they had to make.
@14. Marcus Ranum : Yes, that’s all fair enough and agreed.
Problem is the Democratic party are the current main alternative party in a two party govt system.
I still remember first hearing about this topic, in my younger days™, as a German problem, with the campaign against §218 StGB. I still remember thinking that changing that was unquestionably the right thing, long before hearing any long analysis. I haven’t changed my position – if anything, it’s stronger. Unfortunately, back then I was too young, and today I’m too not-an-American to have any measurable influence on things.
That said, I certainly wish you all the luck in the world – sounds like you’ll need it.
@Raging Bee #18:
I suspect you misunderstood what Marcus meant. Or maybe I do, I certainly don’t claim infallibility. I understood him as saying that the point is not so much that different groups want power, but that one group¹ wants to be in power and has arranged things such that whichever of the two choices gets “power”, their control on actual power will persist – or at least that’s their goal. And the US certainly seems fairly close to that goal. The more parties there are, the harder it is to fix things that way. Though it’s certainly still possible, see the former GDR and the “block parties”. You could vote for one of the other parties, they were just effectively under the control of the “main” party, so nothing would change.
¹ Often known as “oligarchs”.