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......