Where to begin? I have spent my time since the presidential election on Tuesday going through a series of emotions and trying to figure out what's next. I spent yesterday (the day after) on the phone and on the blogs and on facebook, and just generally on the internet talking through what just happened with many folks trying to clear the air. I'm not someone who will go underground for long because I like action!! For me, whining, moaning and groaning has a limited purpose. It is a first line reaction to things I'm not happy about, but that type of emotional rendering gets boring to me after a while, and then it is time to do something to move on.
But there is no getting around it-------I have been laid low by the results of Tuesday. I am down and depressed. It's not so much that Romney lost and Obama won on the face of it that is generally eating at me. It was inevitable that one would win and one would lose. And having been a candidate myself three times, it is extremely intense to go full bore as one does in a campaign and then lose. It's not just the unfortunate feelings that go with losing. It is also the immediate impact of feeling like you have hit a brick wall going 2000 miles an hour and then there is only silence. It is hard to regain your equilibrium, and it takes time to get back to your life because your life will never be the same again.
No, what is bothering me is that history will be now rewritten as if the odious sexism of 2008 never happened, the endemic sexism that prevents women from holding top positions in proportion to our numbers. Our president will now be lionized and even re-messiahed as he spends the next four years working toward his legacy, and those wrongs will probably never be paid for. And I know that alot of you feel the exact same way. Having to spend another 4 years looking at President Obama and his fellow sexists who got him where he is is almost more than I can bear. We wanted him to go down, and we failed. That bites......
And I am having a great deal of trouble with people who marched alongside of us in 2008 who saw the sexism, protested the sexism, and who said "never again" who not only went back and voted for the sexist ticket, but then after being disgusted with all of the people who told them to just "get over it" turned around and said the same thing to people like me and many of you who read and comment here.
I will never get over it. And I won't get over it because that kind of amnesia will not serve the cause of getting more women to the top. To me, the people who returned to the sexist and supported him have exposed their weakness that they are unable to see things through to their end goal because it is too emotionally difficult. Yes, we all have our weaknesses-----that is the definition of human being. But that particular weakness to me is akin to going back to your abuser because you can't break your addiction. I don't get it. They have attempted to explain it to me, but the more intricate the explanation, the less sense it makes.
Also, the results of this election has shown me that the fearmongering of the abortion issue to get women into line has not lost its potency. I have lost what I thought was a good friend over this one. She sent me an editorial from the New York Times about what it considered to be the issues at stake in the election on the pro-abortion front and demanded that I comment on it and defend the Republican position. Well, first of all, I'm NOT a Republican. Some people STILL haven't gotten it through their thick heads that I will NEVER EVER again give obeisance and fealty to any party. In other words, I won't be the bitch of either side ever again. That means Republicans, Democrats, whoever. How many times does one have to say it for it to sink in?
Anyways, my impression of that editorial was that it was just another albeit more sophisticated form of fearmongering. I sent it around to get the impressions of others in case I wasn't seeing it more clearly. And to a person, my "panel" said the same thing and more in agreement with me. And believe me, the group of people who I sent it to wouldn't hesitate for a minute to let me know if they disagreed with me.
Anyways, I wrote my friend back that I felt that the piece didn't even deserve a response because I just saw it as an elevated form of fear mongering. Well, she shot back at me, this a woman who has been at my side since 2008, that she wasn't going to read my blog anymore, that I had turned into a Republican, and that I was so consumed by my hatred of Obama that I have lost my mind. Game over. Isn't that pathetic?
I have been as consistent as a person could be in my views. I have written time and time again about how the parties use the abortion issue to corral women. And my view hasn't changed. In my opinion, the abortion argument is a stagnant argument that has completely stalled women from getting the rest of the job done in our quest for equality. But the election of 2012 showed me that it is still a potent tool to win women's votes. And I still think that the logic of that is self-defeating. We feminists just haven't produced a loud enough argument to convince enough other people so they will move on from there. But that doesn't mean that we will fail at this mission in the future.
And there are a few people who still want us to just get over it. I have been called a "Hillary dead ender", a cruel dismissive piece of name calling. And that person who is referring to us this way knows who he is and he owes me a HUGE apology for this egregious piece of put down. I don't have conversation with people who use name calling as one of their tools of discussion. It is the immature playground talk of the bully. I am happy to converse with folks who disagree with me, but there is no room on this blog or anywhere else for that aspect of discourse. It is mean and ugly.
On the other hand, in the middle of my picture of anger doom and gloom, there was a little bit of good news for women that came out of Tuesday's elections. More women were elected to the U.S. Senate and House than ever before. We now have 20 women in the U.S. Senate. We have a record 77 women in the House. We have another woman governor. We have a state, New Hampshire, that hopefully is a harbinger of the future where all of it's Congressional delegation are now women (2 U.S. House member and both senators) and also has a newly elected woman governor. It is a bipartisan affair as well. That feels great!! You can read all about here at the Rutgers Center for Women and Politics site that tallies up the results.
But the progress is still too slow. Twenty female members of the U.S. Senate gives us 20% representation, up from 16%. And the U.S. House gain was from 73 to 77 female seats. Those gains will hardly move us up very far on the list of which country has the best female representation in government. Our latest ranking was #80 on the list. This bump of progress will surely improve our ranking, but the U.S. will still remain a middling unremarkable country on that list. And I want to give a shout out to Mia Love who barely lost her bid for a House seat in Utah. I hope she continues on in politics. She is an inspirational figure, and we could use more people like that to light the way for the rest of us.
So where do we go from here? Well, here's what we do-------we work from THIS MINUTE ON to get a women nominated on BOTH party tickets to be president in 2016. There is not a moment to spare to reach this goal, and the jockeying has already begun. Women are barely being mentioned (with the exception of Hillary Clinton) and that state of affairs needs to be changed IMMEDIATELY!!!!! And it is up to us to get this talk going. More on that in future blog posts.
A silver lining also in the re-election of Obama is that I had heard that there were a couple of U.S. Supreme Court justices who had postponed retiring until this election was over. Now that it is over and done with, maybe they will retire and Obama will appoint two or three pro-choice justices. At that point, maybe the wind will go out of the abortion argument and it will finally start to lose its potency as a progress killer for women. We shall see......
To my blogging friends who put it all on the line, went out on a limb, and who came up short on Tuesday night, to you I want you to know that many of us admire you and follow you. You have uplifted us and given us hope when we needed it. For you in particular, Tuesday was an extremely bitter pill to swallow. If you need to lick your wounds for a minute, you certainly deserve that. But come back soon. Your voices are part of the extraordinary march forward we are engaged in and we can't get there without you. We are awaiting your return.....
So where do we go from here------we are going to finish the job we started in 2008. Our work is far from done. Woman president 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!