What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Something for Women To Celebrate at the DNC

Cynthia Ruccia

No question that watching the Democratic National Convention (DNC) has stirred up many strong emotions for me. I was so exhausted by my feelings that I even have to confess: I fell asleep in the middle of Bill Clinton's speech. No matter how much I love President Clinton, another true confession------this wasn't the first Clinton speech that put me out. I am sure I'm not alone on that one.

But this piece isn't about Bill Clinton. I'm going to leave it to others to slice and dice all of the terrific fodder that was left in the wake of his speech. My friend AnnaBelle was one of the first out of the gate with some gripping commentary on the Clinton speech.

No, I'm here to herald something terrific that happened at the DNC. I was driving around Columbus to get to the gym so I could swim my laps before Clinton came on, and I was treated to what was for me THE precious pearl of the DNC. Like many of you, I have XM radio and thus can listen to the audio cable feed from Fox, CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg, and others. For the presidential campaign season, as was done in 2008, CSPAN has put its own special programming on XM radio, a channel it calls POTUS which gives minimal commentary during the speeches, and lots of rather balanced discussion the rest of the time.

So around 7:30 ish, I got to hear what I had been searching for. Finally, there was a tribute to the Democratic women who serve in the Senate. They were all introduced by name, they all came out onto the stage, and it was Senator Barbara Mikulski who did the speaking. Here is her speech:




She started out talking about how she was the only woman in the Senate when she arrived 25 years ago, but she was determined not to remain the only one. Her speech also included some of the Democratic boilerplate that the rest of the DNC speeches had, but with a female twist.

The commentators on POTUS said a couple things of interest too. First of all they made note of that fact that the numbers of women were small-----very small. 9% small. And also when it was Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's turn to be introduced, the POTUS people also mentioned that her name was being bandied about as a future presidential candidate.

I don't know about you, but I would much rather have seen this piece of the convention in prime time. It is THIS tableau that would have spoken to a much wider group of women than hearing Sandra Fluke relaying her experience. I found the Fluke appearance demeaning. A topic for another day however 'cause I'm here to celebrate. Sort of.

If Gillibrand is a name in the Democratic presidential pipeline, why in the world wasn't she given a prominent speaking slot at the DNC? I would also have loved to have heard more talk from the podium about electing more women and less about abortion.

So to people who like to criticize me as voting antiwoman, the two conventions have made my point clearly. The Republicans have alot of women in their bench who would make great presidents, and they highlighted them in prime time for the whole country to see. Amazing women like Condi Rice, Governor Susanah Martinez, Governor Nikki Haley, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, etc.

The Democrats have even MORE women in Congress than the Republicans. A truly sizeable number more. They could have highlighted this fact to their advantage in a big way. It would have given them HUGE cred for calling themselves the party of women. They could have highlighted their historic first woman Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and had her speak about how there are more Democratic women in the House than that which the other side has. Even though the House Democrats are in the minority with a 25 seat deficit, there are more Democratic than Republican women who serve in the House. I heard the Pelosi speech. It was dull. It repeated the mantra of every speaker on the schedule. Nothing much mentioned about the women of the House. But that has been her style all along. And it hasn't helped women.

Senator Mikulski however, gave more of the speech I wanted to hear. I hope you will take the time to listen to it. It in itself wasn't hugely amazing. What there is to listen for is the reminder that we feminists have left a large piece of unfinished business on the table, and that is to achieve equal representation for ourselves. And on balance, that message has been largely absent from the Democrats. The emphasis has been on-----surprise------abortion and reproduction.

I know women and men long for this era of equal representation to be upon us. There is a huge disconnect that it isn't being discussed more in lieu of other issues brought to the forefront that, excuse my sarcasm, the party idiots THINK women want to hear. How is it that in 2012 we have so few women in office? And why isn't that the REAL women's issue of the day?

So while I continue to be disappointed in the Democrats for once again missing obvious opportunities for promoting more women, I was glad to hear our own Big Dawg, Senator Mikulski remind us that time's a wasting as far as electing more women is concerned. I only hope that someday the Democrats get themselves out of their reproductive rut and focus again on getting more women elected. I mean REALLY focus like a laser on it. Why, they might even regain the majority on such a platform. Hmmmm----platform business? Maybe we should work to get that kind of language into both parties' platforms.........

43 comments:

  1. Thanks for watching it. And reporting on it.

    I can't bring myself to tune in. I am afraid I'll be persuaded to "come back to the fold."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. doubtful-----you'll just be reminded of why you left. They still seem like martians....

      Delete
  2. Go ahead and listen to Mikulski. It won't persuade you to become a yellar dog in the crate again. It will remind you that the Democrats have some fine women in office, but they keep them as hidden as possible. Maybe if we sent them some more women, they'd find it harder to keep them invisible. That being said, why oh why is Elizabeth Warren on my ballot? It makes keeping my pledge to vote for women so hard. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. samanthas mom----don't waste time worrying about it. I figure that if most of the women vote for most of the women most of the time all will be well. There will always be a few we just can't vote for......

      Delete
  3. So, ladies -- what if Hillary does run in '16? will you come back to the fold?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Depends on who the Republicans run. If they put Condi up for prez I'd really have to think about it.

      And honestly if it is Hillary, I'd come back to vote for her in most instances, and even work hard for her, but I will remain an Independent no matter what.

      If what I've been seeing these last few days is what my old party has become, it really doesn't speak for me these days. But Jazzball----don't mistake that to mean that I'm a Republican. I'm a proud INDEPENDENT and will think it through for myself. My days of being on any party's plantation are over.

      Delete
    2. Not only NO, but hell no!

      I am so over both the Clintons and the Dems.

      I made no pledge to vote for women. I vote for whoever I think will do the best job. Sometimes it's the lesser of two evils. But voting on gender only is no smarter than voting on race only. IMO.

      Delete
    3. As an example, Rep. Tammy Baldwin is running against Tommy Thompson for the Senate here in Wisconsin. I loathe Tommy Thompson and voted against him in the GOP primary. However come November I will vote against far left Baldwin. When she supported the unions attempt to subvert the process that elected Scott Walker Governor of our state I knew I could NEVER support her for anything.

      In fact although I have been pro-choice all my life I have decided that my conscience will not allow me to ever again support any candidate that supports partial birth abortion.

      Delete
    4. Should stipulate, once again, that I am NOT a Republican. I am an Independent who at this point in time finds what the Democrats stand for abhorrent.

      I also find the thought of providing or saving the majority for crazy Harry Reid abhorrent. The thought of returning the gavel in the house to Nancy Pelosi is also something I am loathe to see or to facilitate.

      Delete
    5. I would vote for Hillary in a second, it would be hard to find someone more qualified for the job. But I am an Independent and having seen how Democrats respond to loyalty I feel only a fool would trust them to act in women's best interests.

      Delete
    6. I still wouldn't vote for Hillary - but I would be ready willing and able to play defense for her when the sexist onslaught starts - as I did last time.

      Delete
  4. In fact, every black senator in history has served entirely alone; no two have ever overlapped. The last time a woman was all alone in the US Senate was probably Maurine Brown Neuberger, in the 1960s.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joshua, rest assured I care as much about racial and gay issues as the leaders of those causes care about women's issues. Women are 52% of the population, we want to hold 52% of the political offices everywhere.

      Delete
    2. black people are about 12 percent of the population and have about 9 percent of the congress and senate. Women are 52 percent and have about 15 percent. See anything wrong with that? I do. I am neither black nor a man, I am a woman and I am allowing myself to put my gender first. It's 2012, we are still ignoring the talent of 52 percent of the population. That is such a bad idea.

      Delete
  5. I find this all utterly ridiculous. Michelle Obama had an enormous speech during prime time. When the women of the House spoke the day before yesterday, it was in prime time. 7:30pm (I presume you're in the eastern time zone) is just about prime time. And while you may not have liked Sandra Fluke's speech, that, too, was in prime time. Elizabeth Warren was in prime time. To suggest that the Democrats are hiding their women is a false accusation.

    Furthermore, why don't you focus on what the Democratic Party DOES for women, in comparison to the GOP? Because if you actually pay attention to actions, and not a schedule of a once-ever-four-years convention, you might realize that there is not a single good reason for a woman to vote for the GOP in its current incarnation. From redefining rape to shrinking government to the size where it will fit inside a woman's uterus to seeking to prevent equal pay laws to trying to defend organizations dedicated to women's health, the GOP is practically composed of anti-women bricks from bottom to top.

    And really, you don't really expect the tea-party GOP to ever nominate an educated black woman who has rumors of lesbianism in her past, do you? Get serious.

    Lastly: Please stop notifying in Google Plus when you cross-post. Another notification will be treated as spam, and will result in blocking and reporting to Google as such.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandra Fluke is is a professional victim and her speech was supposed to make me feel like a victim. I want to see women who have run for election and won. And I do focus on what the
      Democrat party did for women, they told Hillary to sit down and shut up in 2008 and refused to count several states worth of votes for her in the Primary. They also launched a campaign of vile misogyny the likes of which civil women have never seen before on Hillary and any conservative woman who ran for office. So I do look at the fact that Democrats have set the cause of equal representation for women back 50 years and because of them I won't live to see a woman President. I also find it disgusting that Ted Kennedy would be celebrated at the Democrat convention given that a woman he was partying with, while his pregnant wife was home with their kids, drowned in a car he wrecked while driving drunk. Kennedy may sell in the north east but I find him disgusting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chappaquiddick_incident

      Delete
    2. I think it is obvious that Democrat men think the wife of a President is the women's representative to government but I don't feel that way. Few women feel that way, perhaps none. So great Michelle gave a good speech, I don't see what that has to do with me or gaining equal representation for women in government. I honestly don't give a rats ass who the First Lady is. Democrat men need to also get over lumping women's issues in with gay and racial politics. Women are the majority and we vote in higher percentages than men.

      Delete
    3. It puzzles me that Michelle Obama is so widely dismissed as an up-and-coming political voice in her own right. Her credentials today stack up favorably relative to Hillary Clinton's in 1996: Princeton and Harvard instead of Wellesley and Yale, high graduating honors, fast-track law firm associate and primary breadwinner, sixteen years of work in the private, public, and higher education sectors before her husband won statewide office (against three for Ms. Rodham; Clinton became Arkansas AG in 1976). And Ms. Obama has never campaigned for the opposing party.

      Delete
    4. Also, should Michelle Obama decide to run for the Senate in 2016, she won't have to pick a state of convenience -- Illinois would give our native daughter Mark Kirk's seat in a walk, as the fourth African American and second woman we've sent to the US Senate.

      Delete
    5. no need to feel puzzled. Michelle Obama hasn't got a political track record to run on other than being the First Lady. Hillary had to win a senate seat in order to gain any credibility. And although the rumors are currently floating about a possible political future for Michelle Obama, it sounds like lot of wishful thinking from her fan base to me. She hasn't publicly come out and really even hinted at any future political possibilities for herself. No need to respond.

      Delete
    6. Drew----are you the thought police? I shall post wherever I like whenever I like wherever I like. That is my right according to the first amendment. Have you read the Constitution of the United States lately?

      If you want to have a civil conversation here, you are welcome. If you want to demean and threaten, you can go elsewhere. We don't have room for that kind of discourse here.

      Delete
    7. If and when Michelle Obama runs for a national political office I might vote for her. I don't live in Illinois. I do try to avoid voting for Ivy indoctrinated candidates whenever possible because I find them elitist (not elite). But of course they seem to have a tight grip on the federal government so we don't have a lot of choice but to vote for them if we want to vote. But currently Michelle O is not a politician.

      I do think it's great that men hold the position of Presidential Consort in such high regard because it tells me men will be quite happy when we finally get a woman President and they have a First Gentleman as their representative in government.

      Delete
    8. Ouch! Careful with the Princeton snark; Cynthia is a proud Tiger mom.

      As I said yesterday, consort is what you make of it: Laura Bush could now easily head a major library anywhere in the state of Texas. But for those who do harbor political ambitions, disclosed or otherwise, speaker at a national convention is a fairly important audition, however you get the gig.

      Delete
    9. Drew you are one of the one timers as Cynthia calls them I am sure of it. However, if you come back you clearly don't read anything here or you wouldn't make such comments. All of the women you list, Michelle Obama, Sandra Fluke, and Elizabeth Warren have never been elected to anything. The RNC highlighted in prime time, which by the way is 10--11 p.m., successful female elected officials (Mayor Mia Love, Governors Mary Fallin, Nikki Haley, and Susanah Martinez and the vice chair of the Republican House Conference Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers)or like Condi Rice a highly placed cabinet head.
      And I agree with Bes and what she said about what the Democrats do for women.

      Delete
    10. There's been a host of women at the Democratic convention, elected and not.

      The Democratic Party and Barack Obama made Hillary Clinton the most powerful woman in the world, and easily the most influential and powerful Secretary of State of the modern era.

      And I note that no one actually addressed my points about how the GOP may have paraded their women elected officials across the stage, but actively do nothing for women, and indeed, work against their interests in actuality.

      But hey, it's a parade.

      Cynthia, like so many other republicans, clearly, you don't understand the first amendment. Me telling you that you're spamming me on GooglePlus has nothing to do with the government controlling your right to speech.

      If you continue to notify me on G+, I will block you and report you as a spammer. The government will never be involved.

      Delete
    11. "there is not a single good reason for a woman to vote for the GOP in its current incarnation"

      Here's 16 trillion reasons = $16 trillion debt
      Here's 49 million reasons = 49 million on food stamps
      Here's 23 million reasons = 23 milliuon unemployed

      In addition, there are NO equal pay laws. Obama signed the Fair Pay Act (Lily Ledbetter) that only changed the statute of limitations for when you can file a lawsuit for pay discrimination.

      Michelle Obama does not even come close to Hillary's record of help and programs for education, women, children, families, and battered women, in addition to her being a US Senator.

      Delete
    12. Drew----I'm a 60 year old woman who has no earthly idea what you are talking about when you talk about Google plus and G+. I don't even use it. One of my sons signed me up for it, but I've never been involved with it. However, please please please block me on it as soon as possible. Your mean sneering tone isn't welcome here. We have polite discussions here and when we differ we don't sneer, name call, character assassinate, shame, insult, and disagree disagreeably. You are welcome to come back when you agree to these rules.

      And in case you weren't taught how to behave Drew, let me give you an example how you could have handled the Google thing in a more collegial manner.

      You said:

      Lastly: Please stop notifying in Google Plus when you cross-post. Another notification will be treated as spam, and will result in blocking and reporting to Google as such.

      A better way would be:

      I would rather you stop notifying me in Google plus. Thanks so much.

      Example 2:

      You said:

      And really, you don't really expect the tea-party GOP to ever nominate an educated black woman who has rumors of lesbianism in her past, do you? Get serious.

      A better way would have been to say:

      I suspect that the Republicans won't want to nominate her.

      Do you understand where you have been mean, sneering, name calling in how you approached these things?

      Also I have a third example for you:

      You said:

      Cynthia, like so many other republicans,

      The truth is that you clearly haven't read anything I said. I am NOT a Republican. I am an INDEPENDENT. If you had really read what I've been writing you would know that because I say it in almost everything I write. It is wrong to call someone something when you have no earthly idea what you are talking about.

      Now I will admit I went overboard on the first amendment stuff, but I am not an ignoramus as you imply. I simply didn't understand what you were talking about on the G+ stuff. Actually I still don't.

      I am telling you Drew that if you wish to continue commenting here, please follow the rules of my blog. If not, I will have to delete your comments.

      We enjoy a real give and take here because we all have different ideas and we respect each other for our differences. FOR INSTANCE, kenoshamarge and I disagree completely about voting for women, but I love her to death and respect her tremendously. I love having her express herself because she respects all of us too. So what if we disagree? It makes the discussion more interesting.

      I am sure you have it in you to disagree agreeably with us. However, if that is too tame a game for you, you can just go to another blog. If you want to be collegial about this, we welcome you. Got it Drew???????







      Delete
    13. Drew, We womens sure do appreciate you coming here and mansplaining to us how we should think and feel about the democrats, what they have done etc.... what a lot of silly old hens we've been believing we could think for ourselves. Oh lordy lordy.

      Delete
  6. Good point about senate women, Cynthia. Thanks for linking to my post. I really think it's over for our woman Hillary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you speak the truth anna Belle----I'm just not ready to face reality. I watched Hillary's 2008 concession speech yesterday, and my heart is still broken. What a wasted opportunity.

      Delete
  7. Bill Clinton should lead his party to discover and support some New Democrats--female leaders. A return to sensibility in all ways.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Bes, It might be helpful for you to remember that the 52% so often touted as the majority for women must include AA, Hisp, asian and native women. Without any one of these you are in fact a numeric minority; without all minority women, you are an even smaller minority, perhaps in the 40%+ range. Not that i disagree with you on putting women's issues in front. I just suggest perhaps a more diplomatic way of expressing it. Without that diplomacy, there is no 52% for women in the real world; that number simply can't be reached.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you know Ryan, I really don't think that women separate themselves out that way. We women have so much common ground in spite of party, ethnicity, etc. and regardless of party and ethnicity, we females are woefully underrepresented.

      I don't mean to make you feel excluded, but get a bunch of diverse women together to talk, and we have zillions of things to talk about . Our differences are so much smaller than the things that unite us......

      Delete
    2. That's great that there are all different kinds of women. It doesn't mater what kind of women we get to represent us, any kind of woman representative will realize that Viagra doesn't need to be paid for by the government when birth control is apparently controversial and a thousand other issues that men can't seem to understand.

      Only Democrats feel the need to identify and focus on specific categories of people. I haven't found groups of people too different except men and women are vastly different. Men think that "man thought" is the normal, only and correct way of thinking which makes them unable to represent women.

      Another thing Democrat men. When we are talking about what you have supposedly done for women, do not reflexively bring up racial and gay politics, talk about women. This habit of Democrat men is as irritating as reflexively putting down Sarah Palin in order to identify yourself as a Democrat. It doesn't sell so stop doing it.

      Delete
    3. Hear hear Bes!!!! Yes, we need to continue to talk about women without racial and gay politics. To me it is one more example of telling women to shut up and sit down.

      Delete
  9. I'm sorry you fell asleep before Clinton finished his speech. Because when he took the stage, the amateur hour was OVER. It was one of the great political speeches I've ever heard (but I haven't been able to stand listeingn to many, I admit.)

    As for Fluke, I think we should applaud the ability of a young woman to come out of no where and take that stage as she did - just as we applauded Sarah Palin. You may not agree with the views of one or the other, but Wow, are these amazing women who rose on their own ability and guts.

    What struck me more at both conventions than the number of women showcased, was the diversity of the audience. These look like two different Americas. One is the one we used to be and one is the one we are and are becoming. Stunning.

    I thought my hero Elizabeth Warren was not quite good enough. I am not sure when you have risen to the heights she has achieved professionally you can really be teh messenger of the "middle class" whatever that is. I sure hope she gets elected.

    Go Barbara! (M)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon----I actually fell asleep in the middle of his speech. The part I saw was as you said----masterful!!

      We'll have to agree to just disagree about Fluke. You see it one way and I another and that's ok.

      I am guessing you are a partisan Democrat by your comments, and that's fine. I am sad to see your observation of the two conventions. That particular division is nothing new. But for me as an Independent, it is important to see the two gatherings for the good and the bad in both of them. And there was plenty of both on both sides.

      In the end, neither party has done enough to address the huge gender disparity in our power structure. And the reason for that is that we women haven't demanded it. We women talk about it and agree that it is important, but it apparently isn't important enough to us yet. If it were we'd demand it and it would happen.

      So we will just have to continue on being #80 in the world for female representation in government, 16.8% of our Congress. We have left the building of the agenda to someone else.I guess we deserve the disempowerment we have. We haven't stood up for a bigger slice of thepie......



      Delete
  10. Cynthia
    "partisan democrat" Is just the type of language I was referring to. Perhaps "lean towards the democrats" might have been better. Believe me I am not criticizing anyone, just an observation on language. I fullly support free speech rights of course and you, like millions of other americans, have a blog where you can speak your mind in the words of your choice; I applaud that and your efforts and your ideas are often spot on.

    But I have to say that If there was a place, either online or in the real world, where women of all political stripes and nationalities could go where women can talk about their differences with diplomacy, without labels and with dogged determination, parity would be theirs for the taking.

    It is maddening to me that you may be so completely right about women having to go on being number 80th. That is so unnecessary and unfortunate but I have to say watching the opinions of different women across the country on the issues of division and conflict and sadly agree with you.

    Rest assured, one day, a woman (probably younger), or group of women (perhaps of all ages) will come along with a new battle plan and ideas that can't be ignored then I do believe we both may be celebrating.

    In every revolution, there is one person with a vision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ok Ryan---I stand corrected!! "Leaning" it is......

      I love your vision. I'm not sure who will lead us women out of the wilderness, but I'm ready!!!!

      I keep saying that there is so much more that unites us than that which divides us.

      I think that some of the division has to do with the fact that women have had to share such a small piece of the "power pie" that we have had to fight over the crumbs of it endlessly. It's a pattern that has been carried down generation after generation and we go through the motions unthinkingly.

      I have written about this problem:

      http://womenwintoo.blogspot.com/2011/08/trouble-in-sisterhood.html

      but I think there is more conversation on this very issue that needs to go on and would be extremely fruitful to have. Most women are unaware that we haven't progressed and that we are one of the main reasons why we haven't progressed. My friend AnnaBelle, a women's hstorian, says that the problems of our getting the vote echo this same problem. It took 50 years for women to get the right to vote once they started working on it. However, much of that time was because they were fighting among themselves.

      There is an answer to this, I just haven't found it. But your vision has given me food for thought.....

      Delete
  11. It can be even more outrageous. imagine if there were a country where everyone could drive a car but persons of color like women are right now are banned in Saudi Arabia. Or a place where lynchings were allowed if a person of color offended another citizen and the honor of his family. There would be war.

    ReplyDelete
  12. OK here is my take on the Dem and GOP conventions. I didn't watch much of either but I tried to get an overview. I would assume that the people the parties put on to speak indicate how they view women. The Republicans did put on Mrs Romney but after that I saw them put up a selection of women who had been elected to political office. This tells me they get it that we want equal representation in government. That these women are leaders of women. I also get the message that they feel the economy and jobs is the issue they will talk to women about in the election. This is good because women can not individually solve the economic or jobs problem and it seems an appropriate thing for government to take on.

    The Dems put on Mrs. Obama and she is a very good speaker however I don't give a rats ass who the First Lady is and I do not consider her a women's representative in politics although political men on both sides clearly have that impression (this is good as it tells us men will be content when their men's government representative is only the First Man) After that the Dems put on several actresses who they apparently feel are leaders among women and then a parade of women victims (AKA the Democrats Ladies Auxiliary). They have a number of elected political women but didn't really feature them. Actresses as political leaders among women? WTF! Then their main issue is Reproductive Rights. As I have said I give money to both Planned Parenthood and NARAL but I don't think most women need the government to solve their birth control situation and it is sort of offensive to imply they do. True there are efforts by Republicans to ban birth control from insurance coverage and true this is sexist BS because if I am forced to participate and pay for a health system then my needs should be covered just as men's needs for Viagra are unquestioningly covered. How do I know I am not being forced to contribute to a health system that pays for a pedophile Catholic priest's Viagra? (BTW I am Catholic and my children went to Catholic school) So how did the Government, Employers and the Catholic Church get involved in my health care? Oh yeah the Dems though up and enacted that plan.

    All in all the Dems seem to give some promise to solve my reproductive issues, I have aged out of that problem and I handled on my own quite easily. The GOP gives a promise to solve the Economic and Jobs problems and that is a problem only government could solve. I don't trust either of the parties but the GOP seems to "get it" more at this point in time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. extremely wel put Bes. Your voice rings true to me!!!

      Delete