Bernie shouldn’t be opening the Women’s Convention, and they know that

“When I saw the Black Panther trailer, I was struck by the unmitigated chocolate involved. Just a crap ton of melanin – dark, DARK-skinned people – being warriors and superheroes and sh**, and not apologizing about it. That shock or surprise, because of how few spaces represent people of color, is exactly why it’s helpful to properly center events on the identities involved (especially if your contention is that those voices are not heard enough.)”

#WomensConvention #Women #Feminism #HillaryClinton #BernieSanders

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If we all know one thing for sure, it’s that the 2016 campaign revealed divisions in America’s political thought that many were content to ignore for too long – especially in the Democratic Party. And no one accomplished more for that goal than Senator Bernie Sanders.

His campaign sent a consistent message that the establishment (the DNC) had ignored the will of the people (his supporters) and nominated Hillary Clinton against their wishes. Later on, Bernie helped foster the idea that his loss in the primaries was due to the all-powerful DNC, which Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek describes as “an impotent organization with very little power.”

Hillary Clinton has even admitted that Sanders’ caustic rhetoric took a toll on her campaign, and many women have spoken out about the online harassment that they faced from his supporters, many of whom are self-described “progressives.”

So why give him the primetime spot at a “women’s convention?”

Choosing Bernie over representation

I wrote a piece a while ago about the white imagination, and how white supremacy manages to edge its way into the lives of all, rendering young black people unable to even imagine worlds centered on themselves.

When I saw the Black Panther trailer, I was struck by the unmitigated chocolate involved. Just a crap ton of melanin – dark, DARK-skinned people – being warriors and superheroes and shit, and not apologizing about it.

That shock or surprise, because of how few spaces represent people of color, is exactly why it’s helpful to properly center events on the identities involved (especially if your contention is that those voices are not heard enough.)

I would also not choose John Green (though he’s made killer videos on the topic) to open an event on racial injustice and inequality, either, nor do I believe he would accept. (And I LOVE me some John Green.)

Representation is bad enough as it is, without having a white man open an event meant to be about women.

What choosing Bernie says

Sec. Clinton would’ve been an obviously good choice, given the vast swaths of women who supported her and have felt victimized by this presidency in the time since she has lost.

It could’ve been especially meaningful to black women, 94% of whom voted for Clinton, and many of whom did so, not because they felt that she was the lesser of the two evils when compared to Donald Trump, but that she was actually a good option.

There are those who say that feminism isn’t about solely women, and it’s also about male allies who bolster the cause.

This is true-ish, but Sanders has shown a checkered understanding of women’s issues in the past.

With his post-election insistence that Democrats eschew identity politics and not just say “I’m a woman, vote for me,” he very clearly stated that HRC’s gender was all she had to offer voters, (a not-so-subtle dig at a woman with thrice his résumé in a third of the time in national politics.)

During the campaign, he offered a brusque dismissal of Planned Parenthood’s endorsement of HRC, calling Planned Parenthood “the establishment,” which through the framing of his campaign of outsider vs. establishment, we could reasonably read as “the enemy.”

It’s worth noting that Sanders’ comments – which he has since apologized for – came at a time when they were besieged by crises daily, and a calculated attack by the right wing of the federal government. Planned Parenthood endorsed who they trusted on women’s issues – and it wasn’t Sanders.

Is this the “progressive” man you want opening your event?

It didn’t have to be a politician

Even if we were to take into account comments by Tamika D. Mallory, one of the event’s organizers, on their announcement that Sanders would open the convention, and if we believed that they reached out to high-profile, accomplished, and successful women to no avail, we cannot believe that every high-profile, accomplished, and successful woman in the country was “busy.”

“They were busy” does not cut it. All of them were not “unavailable.”

Furthermore, everyone mentioned in that tweet was a politician, but politicians don’t happen to be the only women with thoughts worth hearing about progressive politics. It could have easily been an opportunity to uplift a woman that maybe participants were unaware of before.

Perhaps an investor to talk about the market, or a doctor to talk about what changes to the ACA mean for you. A conservationist to talk about climate change. An immigration lawyer who has worked with Dreamers and illegal immigrants to give insight on a process citizens don’t have to go through.

Response to backlash

Several moves the WC has made since make it apparent that they knew their choice was indefensible, as they announced Sanders’ inclusion after the refund date. Whatever you want to say about the situation, be it that they were right or wrong to invited Sanders, that…is shady.

If you’d like to have a Bernie Sanders rally, do it. But don’t trick women thinking they’re headed for a female empowerment event only to be treated with a stump speech for Sanders 2020, after they can’t take their money back. This move suggests that the WC knew what they were doing wasn’t right.

The WC then contended that Sanders was not a focal point of the event, and attempted to contain the damage by pointing out the small number of men at the conference relative to women, but…they gave Sanders the opening speech spot.

Most likely, they believed that his presence would garner further interest, higher attendance, and more money, but when they received a negative reaction, stated that Sanders wasn’t a centerpiece.

I have no doubt that, had the reaction been more amicable, the WC may have pushed even more Sanders PR as a draw to the event.

 

A “women’s convention” should be about uplifting and amplifying the voices of women, and the WC had to know that inviting Sanders, locus of attention that he is, would distract greatly from that point. It’s quite the stretch to suggest that you didn’t think Bernie would be, umm, noticeable.

Not to mention:

  • Sanders has spent his post-election tenure appearing on Stephen Colbert to promote his book, something that he has criticized Clinton for.

  • His wife, as part of his 2020 campaign, attempted to connect the sexually depraved behavior of Harvey Weinstein to Hillary Clinton.

 

  • The Women’s Convention, an outgrowth of The Women’s March demonstration a day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, uses the quote “Women’s rights are human rights,” a quote attributable to Hillary Clinton, without attribution.

What kind of message does the convention believe it’s sending to women beleaguered by sexist trolls online to invite a man that does very little to tamp them down? 

Conclusion

There should not be a man opening a “Women’s Convention,” given the already absurd lack of credence that women’s words are given compared to men, and the unfortunate lack of spaces available for them to make their words count.

What could have been an uplifting experience is now pockmarked by the fact that after contacting 3 senators, the Women’s Convention apparently decided the pool of women with valid thoughts on progressive politics had run dry.

Further, it definitely shouldn’t be this man, with his penchant for smearing a woman that many women and especially women of color, in the U.S. and around the world, admire and respect.

Even if Barack Obama himself, beacon of progressivism and beloved by all, were to speak at the convention, he’d better only be there to introduce Michelle.

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Hillary Clinton’s Crucifixion Is Proof That A Woman’s Debt Is Never Paid

“No one stops Mike Huckabee from bloviating like a blobfish on any network news show that will have him. The honor of being asked to keep your mouth shut is the pittance of powerful women everywhere.”

Hillary Clinton needs to do something. If you’ve been following news coverage, that much is clear. Nobody’s clear on what that something is, though.

Maybe she needs to spend less time in her ivory tower, and mingle with the common folk she’s so dissociated from. But she also needs to not pander. She needs to apologize for the Crime Bill. I think her apology is cynical opportunism. And where was she after the election?? Bernie Sanders was busy defending our freedoms at DAPL, and Hillary just disappeared! I don’t think that has anything to do with one being in politics and one not.

After a recent spate of talks, headlines are buzzing around the name Hillary Clinton, as the left and the right have a perfect receptacle for their misguided vitriol at…the general state of things. And though the far left and far right both agree that absolutely everything that she does is wrong, neither seem to have very clear ideas about what she could be doing differently.

And before you consider this post nakedly partisan garbage that you can safely write off, I would urge you to reconsider. If someone says something like, “Hillary needs to do something” and someone asks, “What?”, it’s a reasonable question.

And if you can’t come up with a reasonable answer, then it might be straight up misogyny.

I would like to remind everyone that no one insists that Newt Gingrich never speak again, even though he has run a failed presidential campaign. No one stops Mike Huckabee from bloviating like a blobfish on any network news show that will have him. The honor of being asked to keep your mouth shut is the pittance of powerful women everywhere.

And no one is telling liberal Messiah and resident grandpa Bernie Sanders that he should “step aside” or “let new blood in because he’s had his chance,” even though he’s 74, has been in Congress for decades, and never made it past the primary in his bid for president. In fact, the Democratic “establishment” is taking him on tours around the country, ostensibly to profusely apologize to the white working class.

If you have a legitimate critique for Clinton, bring them on, but saying that simply because she failed to clinch the presidency that she doesn’t get to speak to the issues is straight up sexist.

Besides, she’s not in politics, which means that you’re spending all of your energy hating someone who already has “stepped aside.” Not to mention that I’m not sure how people think the mere existence of Hillary Clinton as a living, breathing person, stops “new blood” from running for office.

And if you just have a vague feeling that she should be doing something different, but can’t articulate what or how, feel free to step aside.

Thanks for reading this blog, and continue to check back for more!

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Photographer: Marc Nozell

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“I Have a Dream” Revisited: #YesAllWomen

In response to, in praise of, and in unison with the #YesAllWomen hashtag, this is my reworking of MLK’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech – a 2.0, if you will. And that’s because the lasting principles behind this speech went so much farther than just black people, and have deep resonance and significance for everyone to this day. Take the time to watch the real thing, too, as MLK kills it for 18 minutes straight. This is our vision for a better world. _____________________________________________________________________________________________

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

The woman is still is not free. In our present day, the life of women is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. In our present day, the woman lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. In our present day, the woman is still languished in the corners of American society and finds herself an exile in her own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all women, yes, white women as well as black women, fat women as well as skinny women, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of the second sex are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given women a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.

We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of male violence and discrimination to the sunlit path of gender justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of gender injustice to the solid rock of community. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the woman’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. #YesAllWomen is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the women needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the woman is granted her citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the female community must not lead them to a distrust of all men, for many of our brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as women are the victims of the unspeakable horrors of police negligence. We can never be satisfied as long as their bodies, heavy with the fatigue of a hard day’s work, are subject to scrutiny and harassment all the way home. We cannot be satisfied as long as the woman’s basic mobility is from a larger group of rapists to a smaller one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by sayings like: “Boys will be boys” or “She was asking for it.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a women in Mississippi cannot report a rape, and a woman in New York believes she has no reason to.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from enduring internet trolls. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police negligence. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, our daughters and sons will live in a world where a woman’s rejection does not justify a man’s violence.

I have a dream that one day even the Youtube comments section, an area sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the biology of their bodies but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, #NotAllMen, with its vicious sexists, with its constituents having their lips dripping with the words of “failed futures” for men and “exaggerations” by women — one day right there in #Notallmen, real men will stand up and say that entitlement is never an option. And girls and boys will be able to join hands with dignity and respect as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back home with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of community. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that: Let freedom ring from every internet message board.

Let freedom ring from every church’s pews.

Let freedom ring from every police department.

From every political podium, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, from every home and every parent, when we learn to teach our boys to be men instead of teaching our girls how to avoid rape, when we stop assuming that half of rape stories are fabricated, when we abolish double standards for men and women, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, men and women, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

For the real deal, check out MLK in the video below, along with the actual transcript of the speech.

Feel free to leave a comment!

http://goo.gl/Xjwt