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.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rock Bottom

Cynthia Ruccia


 

or maybe it is more like this:



or perhaps a more positive spin on rock bottom:



However you want to look at it, I've hit it-----hard. I've been at rock bottom before, lots of times, and it is never fun. But it is often a crucible for finding a creative new way forward, and I am hoping for that. In my typical fashion, whenever anything traumatic happens, I paint a pretty face on it for awhile and then later down the road, I crash.

Well, I've crashed-----big time. I'm as low as I can go. Yes, I am shaken at the results of the election. My buddy myiq2xu over at The Crawdad Hole got me all messed up the day after the election when he said that the thing he had feared the most had happened and that he was dropping out for awhile. Oh no----one of the great commentators from our cohort-----disappearing? I was taken off my own game myself at that piece of news.

Thankfully his disappearance was only temporary----you can't keep a good blogger down, apparently!! But we are all figuring out a way back and it ain't easy. While I am visiting rock bottom, like everyone else, I am reflecting on my life. Since I've been around 60 years now, there's baggage to navigate my way through.

My first trip is always to blame myself for being a really bad person. After all, I didn't have to take the sexism so hard in 2008. I could have just blown it off as so many did and gotten back on board the Democratic train and ridden it to a joyous, historic victory. And maybe I wouldn't have had to lose the faux friends I thought I had, my Democratic running buddies. Funny that----the Democratic friends I have retained have become better friends than ever. But I shed alot of people who were not experiencing the same pangs of conscience I was.

And that is what it was about for me and for most of you too. My conscience wouldn't let me take the easy way out. It would have been a much much simpler route to sweep the sexism, the hypocritical sexism, under the rug like so many did. But for some reason, I have been constitutionally unable to do it. My husband calls me a crusader, and he doesn't always mean it as a compliment. My campaigns for justice seem at times to be so quixotic to him, and at rock bottom, I must admit I am questioning myself on that score as well.

Forty-some years ago in my idealistic teens,  I made a promise to myself that I was going to devote the rest of my life to standing up for women and doing everything in my power to move women toward our goal of equality. At the time, almost any effort would have qualified in that category since women weren't allowed to do practically anything. The history of women's rights in the U.S. is well documented, and in the 70's and a little into the 80's women made great strides. The progress was so markedly huge that we thought absolutely that most of our problems were behind us and we were living the lives our mothers had only dreamed of. We could work and be mothers, we had sexual freedom and reproductive choices unlike any other time, and we had made strides into schools and professions that had previously been barred to us.

In my own life, I had established my own business that could sustain my family when necessary and provide a life with most of the extras. It gave me the freedom to be the mother I wanted to be. I was able (and still do) create jobs for women that give them the same choices and freedoms I have had. I was also able to follow my political passions and do my part to help get more women elected toward the goal of having a woman president. I labored mightily, running for office, raising big sums of money for my party (which I thought took the advancement of women seriously), helping other women find the resources to get elected, taking my fundraising seminar on the road and teaching future generations of Democrats all over the country how to raise funds to get elected, getting myself elected to our local Democratic Party executive board to further my outreach.

So 2008 comes along, and we all know what happened. It's a story I'm almost bored to even recap, we've written about it so much. The whole sordid tale-----sexism emanating from the Democrats in a startling huge way, a level of electoral hypocrisy beyond belief, the stoning and threatening of us who dared speak up about it, blah blah blah. Turns out that there were at least 4 million of us who bolted the party, most of us permanently. Our dream was, in the most American of fashions, to make the bad guys pay for their perfidy. So we joined up with the other side in both 2008 and in 2012 to that end, and we failed.

It is that failure that is causing me all of the grief. Not failure per se, because one can always rise to fight another day. Failure is only fatal if you quit. No, it is the total failure of what I have believed in all of these years that is eating away at my soul. And I truly hate being the canary in the mine who sees everything before everyone else does. If you speak the truth before everyone is ready to hear it, you can be burned at the stake----literally. Just read all about it in the U.S. history books. And although we like to think we live in more enlightened times, our progress towards enlightenment is moving at a snail's pace.

The truth is that the work of the women's movement is incomplete. Women haven't made it to the top in any more than just token numbers. Why haven't we risen?  Well, we haven't organized ourselves and demanded and taken our place at the top for one reason. People all agree that we need to get there. What's preventing our progress? IMO one of the great reasons is that feminists have sold our souls over the abortion issue. I am as prochoice as I could be, but as a tactical matter, as long as women are engaged ONLY in abortion as a political issue they can be manipulated by fear tactics successfully dividing us and diluting our power to advance. One need only look at the 2012 election to understand how entrenched we still are in this political battle that is truly bordering on farce.

And that is why I am at rock bottom for now. How in the world will we ever get to the top with such a disempowered view of our politics? Fact is, if we just elected more women of all political stripes, the conversation would be completely different. That is the big picture. As it stands, men still run both parties, women hold 18% of Congressional seats, and because of these small numbers, we women will be at best supplicants begging for a piece of the pie and at worst, just completely ignored. Ask any of the women who have managed to get elected and they will tell you how much better it would be if there were only more women elected officials.

So I have to accept through my disgust that women are still divided and manipulated by the abortion issue, and the powers that be like it that way because they win votes using it. How can our message break through the clutter of that issue? I am down on the floor, visiting rock bottom trying to figure that one out. And trying to decide if I want to even stay in the game. Stay tuned......

34 comments:

  1. I also thought I had hit rock bottom many times. Then the elections of 2012 happened and I felt I had dug a hole in rock-bottom and was further down.

    I cannot agree that just electing more women is the answer. More Nancy Pelosi types? More Sheila Jackson-Lees?

    More women to kneel at Obama feet and sing hosannas?

    That is what has made me despair. And I don't see women changing for the better. Au contraire. I see more women becoming supplicants and parasites instead of the strong, confident, capable individuals I had envisioned. Feminists, so-called, grovel at the feel of their hero Obama. Gag!

    I see women becoming, in their endless quest for some kind of sexual freedom, be willing to pass their bodies around to the horny hordes like horderves at a cocktail party.

    Until I see those things change I am living down here in my hole beneath rock bottom. Still voting for the person and not the race or gender candidate. I would prefer to never vote again to voting for a POS still Tammy Baldwin the new Senator from my home state. I had to vote for a repulsive old windbag to cast a vote against her.

    I am still commenting, still complaining, still challenging what I believe is wrong, although I too took a short break. It's not a comfortable place, but it's better, at least for me, than acceptance and complicity.

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    1. I seem to have made a lot of errors in what I was trying to say. They were errors in style, spelling and the arthritic fingers of an old woman, not errors in what I believe. Sorry.

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    2. I agree regarding women. Most women in this country still like to be taken care of; they are not strong and able to take care of themselves, or I should say, they do not want to take care of themselves, they want someone to take care of them.

      On election day I was listening to the Dennis Miller show and this man called in and said his friend had just called him. The friend told him his daughter, a college student, had gone to vote and there were people from the NAACP moving all of the black people to the front of the line. The girl got so upset and had to leave to go to class and she called her daddy crying about how she couldn't vote, blah blah. Dennis Miller said, if women think they are in charge and can control their own lives then stop calling daddy and go back there and get in line and speak up and vote. Stop playing little girl and then expect to be treated like an adult.

      Well, agree with him. I don't think simply electing women is the answer to anything.

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    3. I don't vote gender. Never have. Never will. Why should I vote for Pelosi, McKaskill, the Female Bobo Droolers? And Kenoshamarge, I agree. And Puma for Life: Good lesson for college girl on raaaaaaaacism. Grow up, kid.
      The Taxman Cometh. BoboCare is going to cost you plenty.

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    4. electing women------well who knows? We've never done it!!

      I still think it would be worth a try. And if more women run things, more women might realize that they are more capable than they know. The ripple effect of female competence might be amazing.

      Of course there will be some women that we won't be able to support, but that is true of men as well. And truly, why should women be held to a higher standard than the men? That's one of the reasons we have so few women.

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  2. Hi Kenoshamarge----while we may not see eye to eye about electing women right now, I totally share with you the disappointment at what we women have regressed into as you put it so well-----"supplicants and parasites instead of the strong, confident, and capable individuals I had envisioned"

    Yep---that about says it all.

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  3. As long as women are willing to hate those of the other party just because they have bought the rhetoric (all liberals and feminists are sluts and lazy welfare sucking drug addicts)or (all conservatives are stupid brain washed religious fanatics who only do as their husbands tell them) we will never see equality.
    We have to agree to disagree on certain issues and work towards women having 52 percent of the power and the white house. It is that simple. When people as why, because it is way past time, because that is the issue and the objective, because it is not good for our nation to be ignoring half the brain power resources available to us. It is like going to a high school and deciding that half the boys are not allowed to try out for the football team. Just go down the line alphabetically and count off, 1 2 1 2... and send all the 2s home. Would that be the best way to get a winning team? Hell no it would not be the best way.
    I think we have a right to say that equal representation is the goal and we don't have to justify that.
    Marge, I wish I knew why your hatred of democrats is stronger than your belief in the equality of women.
    I voted for several republican women and a libertarian this last election and I am a liberal in most things. I did it because I believe the country will be better off when women are empowered and because we deserve it damn it.
    My party has a crappy record on promoting women. Your party's record is worse than crappy. Where are all those strong independent women conservative politicians?
    It seems to me that you have allowed people like Limbaugh to take up a lot of space in your brain. Ask yourself, if democratic women are so weak and dependent, why are they doing so much better than conservative women in pretty much every area of power from politics to business?
    Believe me I have this same discussion with my female relatives who will vote for any idiot male just because he is a democrat. Abortion abortion blah blah blah...

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    1. TeresaInPa---so how do we get the women, and sympathetic men, to realize that more women on both sides is not only important but imperative for all of the reasons you mention?

      I too am so tired of all of the blind partisanship that is our greatest obstacle....

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    2. My "hatred", more truly contempt, of Democrats is stronger because I was one for so long. I never "believed" in the GOP so I don't feel scammed and bamboozled by them. Although unknowingly I was more of a fiscal conservative than I ever knew. That's just the way I've always lived.

      Even as a Democrat I was disappointed in "my" party for seeming to be unable to think beyond abortion. Now they've gone further. To me the Dems are far more concerned about what's between a woman's legs than what's between her ears.

      And when "feminists" are willing to meet conservative women as equal with differant views perhaps my contempt for all things Democrat will change.

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    3. yes Kenoshamarge----we sure were snookered by the Dems, and it is a hard fall when one is so far "in" to realize what a mistake we made.

      I like what you say that the "feminists" need to meet conservative women as equals with different views. Don't know where that went off track. I remember Gloria Steinem saying that conservative women aren't women.

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  4. Hang in there, Cynthia! I know you will.

    Sometinmes, when I'm trying to "enlighten" someone about the issues you stated above so well, I find myself thinking "why bother"? This feeling is especially prevalent when I notice the eyes of the poor, unlucky person who just happens to be standing next to me at the grocery store check out line begin to gloss over as I seemingly go on and on and on...!

    But then someone says "You're right" or "I never knew about that" and my spirits lift up. I'm given hope. Ahh, the power of intermittent reinforcement.

    And so, as Hillary stated, let us all "keep going"!

    Thank you, Cynthia.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement anonymous. I know that there is another way to go, I just have to find it and I'm open to all ideas.......

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  5. The struggle for equal rights started long before any of us was born and it will continue long after we are dead.

    We say something is "solid as a rock" but eventually wind and water wear it away to nothing.

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    1. myiq2xu----does that mean that the bottom will fall out of my rock bottom?

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    2. No, just that you should take the long view. Moses never reached the promised land either, but nobody calls him a failure.

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    3. those are good words myiq-----thanks for the uplift!!

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  6. I used to believe getting women elected, no matter who they are, was a way to empower women. But when we elect women who join the male chorus, we are working against ourselves. It gives men cover. "If Hillary Clinton thinks Barack Obama is good for women, and you supported her, why aren't you working for him? SHE wants you to." And just because I'm not a Democrat, it doesn't make me a Republican. Neither party is "the party of women", and they both wage war against us. We shouldn't be working for either one to be successful. However, I've decided that while I may have "hit rock bottom", my daughter and the rest of her generation haven't experienced enough pain to join any real movement for women. If their level of participation in the work place and in the political arena is "good enough" for them, as long as their "lady parts" are the most important parts of their bodies to them, as long as paying off a huge national debt to pay for "free stuff" is too far in the future for them to worry about, I'm not going to worry about it for them. Maybe my granddaughter will pick up the fight. My grandmother was a suffragist; my mother only voted if it included lunch out. I fought hard for women to be accepted into fields that have been non-traditional for women. My daughter thought "binders of women" was an insult. There always seems to be a nadir to get through after successful periods in our fight. I don't expect to outlive this one so I'm retiring. Doesn't mean I won't fill my granddaughter's head with ideas about what could be, though.

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    1. boy do I understand your frustration samanthamom!! But you know, there is a tipping point when it comes to women in power. When we hold such a small number of seats and positions, women have to kowtow to the men's club. But if the number of women rises to a critical mass, I say 50%, but others think that 30% is the number, whatever, the need to join the "men's chorus" as you put it so politely, that need will have ended.

      At any rate, I like your skip a generation analogy. That's what grandmas are for----to fill the grandchildren's heads with mutiny!!!! That appeals to the rebel I am!!!!

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  7. Yes, I'm in a hole too because I have supported democratic women for decades, and in 2008 they just rolled over for Obama and refused to support the best candidate in decades for President of the U.S., Hillary Clinton.

    Deeper hold, because in 2012 women were even more blind to the deception, as we watched President Obama spend more time seeking adorable and praise rather than doing the job he was elected to do.
    If a woman does not go to work she gets FIRED.

    Deeper in the hole while young women think Obama is actually doing something for them -- he is not.

    Now President Obama wants to just Tax and Spend, with no goals to solve the DEBT CRISIS.
    Many Empires failed because of their taxing and spending.
    We are living in the Obama-Empire where, among his many $$$ demands, he demands the right to print money, as much as he wants whenever he wants.

    Why do women Obama is helping them?

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    1. boy if I had the answer to that question, I'd be a certified genius (or idiot savant depending on how you want to look at it)!!!!

      I am and have always been immune to his charms so I don't really get it either!!

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  8. Why should women necessarily be better for women (in our culture) than an enlightened male? Women should have the opportunity to be every bit as mediocre or enlightened as a male. Opportunity. In a big population, e.g. one would expect women to have a normal curve of poor to excellent, given equal opportunities. Just thinking statistically. Right now we do not have this equal opportunity to be equally as mediocre.

    We do have the opportunity to be enlightened in our choices...of either males or females to represent us. A lot of us are focussing on the hideous mediocrity of our elected officials. And venalness, e.g. Pelosi, McCaskill, and Amy Klobuchar who took the female money (Emily's List) and supported Obama. And what about the faux Cherokee, Elizabeth Warren? Was she even a licensed attorney in MA when she was being a legal "consultant" and gaining bigtime $$$$. On and on.

    I believe it is false logic to assume that women will be necessarily better for women than enlightened elected officials, of either sex. Also, to equivalate cultures, e.g. Norway or Sweden and their history of women in their cultures to ours is wishful thinking. Ditto for women who are leaders, but basically represent oligarchies in their societies, Africa, Asia. We should be examining cultural issues--OURS on why we are being used to divide and conquer votes, and how we are being manipulated by abortion abortion abortion arguments and the Sandra Fluke types.

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    1. Elizabeth Warren was the tipping point for me. I just couldn't bring myself to vote for her. I'm embarrassed she's my senator, and I worry she's the next "historical candidate" for the Democrats. I should be happy MA has finally elected a woman to the senate, and instead I'm so disappointed. If another person tells me I must be ecstatic, I think I'm going to puke.

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    2. Don't worry neither the Democrats or the Republicans are going to run a woman candidate to appear like they are making history. Not until they have made history by running a male gay person, a male Hispanic, a male Native American, a male who has a physical handicap, a male who is Jewish, a male who is Muslim, a Buddhist male, a Mormon male.... Why there is just so many ways that men can still make history by being firsts, women of course should not raise their issues and needs until all male issues and firsts have been reached.

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    3. hahahahaha Bes----that about sums it all up!!!!

      and I feel exactly the way you do in all respects samanthasmom. There are just some women that you can't support. It's ok.

      I remember thinking seriously when W was president about how wonderful it would be to move to a Democratic state (i.e. California) so I wouldn't have to be around all of the evil Republicans. My husband and I even went out there and house hunted. Sadly, both my husband and I developed serious cases of cancer (we're fine now) and we're not going anywhere (we want to be near our medical teams).

      And I remember thinking back then how much better I'd feel if only we had a Democratic president. HA!! It will now be 6 years when I have had venomous feelings toward my president. Ironic, no?

      I agree with you SantaFeK about the fact that we women are being used. But I can't help bur pine for a time when there are zillions of women running things. Things may or may not be better, but it would give our future generations of females better role models (since our role models at the top are almost non existent. I just can't be anything but unsettled that women don't share a piece of the power pie.

      And although you've mentioned women who make some sick and for good reason, there are still admirable women out there. I just wish there were more of them.....

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  9. I am at rock bottom myself. I do not know what to think. Unlike you
    ALL of my so-called Democratic friends abandoned me when I chose not to
    follow their path. So I still feel at loose ends, in shock that the
    supposed friends I had can not even listen to my different point of
    view. They were angry that I would not agree and go along with the
    positions that NOW took, or did not take, in most cases. I am in
    shock to hear that young women today think the gender battle is over,
    does not apply to them. And yet we see the abuse of women in the
    middle east, and they can not discern the danger to them if the
    movement expands. They feel safe here in the US. Those of us who have
    lived longer know how easily that false sense of security can be
    violated. It is already taking root in Dearborn Michigan.I have
    learned to be comfortable in my own skin, with or without friends. I
    feel lonely at times, an outcast, but I choose my own thoughts over
    those who would go along to get along. I too will stay at rock bottom
    until I discern a reasonable alternative.

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  10. It really is too bad we have Bronco for 4 more years because he really is not good at the job of President and we could certainly use some leadership in this country. How do you all like his latest campaign tour now that the election is over! For Gods sake man you are the President and you can't run again, do something to solve our problems rather than seeking out the adoring crowds to fluff your ego.
    I think Republicans were really shaken that they didn't win this election and they will take steps to stop the sexist blather that taints their brand with young women. The Democrat party however has won big in two elections with their sexist behavior freak flag flying high and loud. I am sure they have learned from the wins and you can expect to see more of any behavior that was effective. I don't see Hilary running in 2016 simply because people like Alexrod and VJ are big shots now being from one of only two Democrat teams to serve two terms in recent history, no way are they going to allow the Clinton faction to gain more power than they personally have. I think Republicans are the best hope for women citizens but they are going to have to give up on their reproductive rights rants that they seem to find so invigorating if they want to attract enough young women to win. After all young people are getting screwed by Democrats with mandatory expensive health care they don't need and social security and medicare programs that will go bankrupt before the young can use them. So young people should be natural Republicans just as soon as they get their first pay check that is only 2/3 what they thought it would be because of the government.

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    1. I agree---I've never seen the president as a great leader, and I was filled with revulsion watching the post-election campaign stop. I thought to myself---anywhere but here in Ohio. He's been overexposed here. It was such a relief when that circus left town!!!!

      I'd like to see the Republicans not only get over all of their reproductive taints (and I'm not too sure they can do it), but if they are smart, they will put some of their outstanding women front and center. Not just one or two of them because they make too easy a target to shoot down, but 10--15---20 of them or more. Those women exist on that side of the aisle. But will the men be willing to cede some of the limelight for them? That is the question----I'm guessing probably not.

      think how the dynamics of this election might have been different if someone like Condi Rice had been the VP candidate....


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    2. It wouldn't have mattered. Black women are not allowed to be successful politicians at the ballot box. See Love, Mia. Black men don't find the going easy either. See Cain, Herman and West, Allen.

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    3. that of course is one sad story....

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  11. Politicians of either party can and will do what ever it takes to get power. Neither party cares about or understands women's issues and neither party is dedicated to the idea of parity of representation for women citizens.

    Democrats have had the message they don't need to change their treatment of women to get elected and you can be sure they internalized it. It will be interesting to see what they do when they have the opportunity to appoint supreme court judges in the next 4 years. There is no group of women who will hold Democrats accountable but the excuse making Democrat women of media have found and perfected their submissive voice. Clearly Democrats don't want the reproductive rights situation made firm or they lose their fear dog whistle to use with women voters.

    Republicans need to modernize their brand and they need to show discipline over their brand. In the last election many young women voted against the Republican brand even though they liked Romney and disliked Obama. Some of the Republican yapping points in the last election didn't even make sense. This whole crap about the government or employers paying for birth control...young women are each being forced to contribute to this government health care fiasco and their mandatory payment damn well better cover the only medical issue they have which is often birth control. No they don't expect government or employers to pay for their birth control, they expect their own contribution to cover it. The lack of discussion and outrage about who pays for old mens ED drugs is sexist.

    So I think chances are good that Republicans will improve their messaging toward women voters since they have to to gain power and I am also certain Democrats will show even more sexism since they will feel they can and still keep power. Neither party gives a rats ass what women want or need but I think it is possible Republicans will inadvertently meet women's goals while meeting their own and usually with men that is the best you can hope for.

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  12. "Turns out that there were at least 4 million of us who bolted the party, most of us permanently." Where do you get that figure and how do you explain Obama's landslide four years ago and his victory this year which even in the PV count was a thumping considering the economy? And what are you going to do if Hillary Clinton decides to run in '16?

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  13. Anonymous---those are pretty personal questions from someone who won't identify themselves.....and snarky as well. We can have that discussion, but on this blog, comity and honesty are the operating principles. Nasty, snarky, insulting, demeaning, etc. commenters are deleted. You're a little bit borderline, so I'll answer, but try to do better if you deign to comment back.

    1) the 4 million figure is actually conservative. My sources believe that that figure is considerably higher. There are two Clinton factions that left the party---the feminists like me are one of them. The other faction feels that the party cheated in the primary and did to Hillary what the Supreme Court did to Al Gore. I totally understand their angst, but I am not a member of that group. I left because of the sexism.

    2) I do NOT consider the Obama win in 2012 a landslide. You are entitled to your opinion of course, but I don't, and I'm not willing to even have that argument. I know what your likely talking points are, and I don't agree with any of them. The definition of "landslide" is in the eye of the beholder unless you are talking about McGovern winning only ONE state, ditto Barry Goldwater. Now those were landslides. A 3--4 million vote margin of victory in light of the 158 million or so votes cast to me looks definitely decisive, but not in landslide territory. Sorry.

    3)I LOVE Hillary!!! If she runs against a man she's got my vote for sure!!!! The only thing that could probably back me off from her and make me think about it a little bit more is if she runs against Condi Rice. The chance of that happening is infinitesimal, so if Hillary runs, I'm in. As an Independent, of course. If neither party puts up a woman, I'm voting third party.

    Please come back and identify yourself next time. You can press the "comment as" button, and then go to "name/URL" and put in your name. Leave the "URL" blank---it will work just fine.

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