Monday, June 9, 2008

Confusion and Conversion

This has been a very confusing primary for me. I and three of my four daughters were political science majors; we are all very liberal Democrats as are our husbands. We are a very political family, who, until now, have always agreed. For the past few months political arguments have degenerated into painful screaming matches so for the first time ever, political debate has been silenced.

To be honest, right now I am feeling relief that my family can discuss politics again.I decided to get active in the Obama campaign right away because I intend to catch the enthusiasm and dedication of his supporters. That will be the way I heal. I was very active in the civil rights, antiwar, and feminist movements. As a reference librarian and as a social worker, I have mostly worked in African American communities. My area of Long Island--Baldwin, Freeport, Uniondale, Hempstead--is becoming predominantly African American and Hispanic. So I was very sensitive to and upset by the racist remarks of Hillary supporters. But I certainly don't consider the Clintons racists and was upset by their being portrayed that way.

I agree that the problem wasn't with the candidates themselves, but with the mass media, overly rabid supporters, and the progressive blogs. For about five years I have immersed myself in blogs. This year most progressive blogs splintered into armed camps where supporters of the wrong candidate were unwelcome. The misogyny of to young male bloggers (and some female ones) was disgusting. Their inability to perceive sexism left me dumbfounded.

The positive result of this is a revival of feminist writing and activism. Those of you who haven't seen much sexism probably don't watch much cable news or read political blogs. In the 70s, we feminists realized that both men and women need their consciousness raised to recognize how pervasive sexism is. Sexism is not just a problem for women; media remarks that Obama is not tough enough or mean enough, Maureen Dowd's calling him Bambi, are sexist as well.

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