Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Were You In This Campaign Just For Me?"

Where PUMAs (Party Unity My Ass, for those not in the know) falter is the fact that they are summarily dismissing their chosen candidate's policies and goals and lifelong (presumed) voting record in order to feed their own narcissism and anger. I understand that anger. I understand feeling dismissed and undervalued. I understand wanting to punish those people who may have contributed to those feelings. What I don't understand is allowing those instincts to override one's own self-preservation, which is what Clinton Democrats who vote for McCain would be doing. I understand not voting for Barack Obama come November; I understand feeling underwhelmed by an electoral candidate (though not really feeling underwhelmed in regard to this one). I understand voting for a third party candidate if one was once a Hillary supporter who feels abandoned by Obama and his camp and who feels like they are being treated derisively because the prevailing powers that be believe there is no other place for women who care about issues like equal pay, women's rights, children's rights, ending the war in Iraq, and protecting Roe v. Wade to go. I pretty much think that the attitude right now toward women voters -that those who voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries will come back to the pack without much (or any) wooing- is kind of demeaning, because it refuses to acknowledge that the Democratic Party needs those women voters just as much -if not more- than those women voters need the Democratic Party.

But a vote for McCain is one I absolutely cannot understand, and it is a vote that only furthers the idea of the woman scorned. Which, let's not go there again, okay? Let's not give more ammunition to political pundits, men, other women, and society at large to use against women. Let's not pretend that McCain is a viable choice for a woman who is concerned with the issues Hillary Clinton was concerned about. Let's not pretend that McCain will protect the pro-choice agenda. Let's not pretend that John McCain is good on gay rights. Let's not pretend that McCain's experience will really go far into creating new green collar jobs. Let's not pretend that McCain will do much for the middle class. Let's not pretend that John McCain is similar in many ways to Hillary Clinton other than in the pigment of their skin. John McCain won't be much of a help on health care. McCain won't be much of a help in weening our nation off of our love of fossil fuels. And McCain will absolutely not protect women's rights in our society, because his voting record shows that is not a priority. I like McCain. I'm sure he's a swell guy. But if PUMAs think that they aren't cutting off their nose to spite their face, then they are idiots.

And now, they would have to be publicly defying the candidate they swore their allegiance to. Which is infuriating as well. Hillary Clinton has thrown her support behind Barack Obama, and while her supporters don't have to fall in line, it would seem pretty disrespectful to cast their vote for a man Hillary Clinton herself deemed, "No way, no how". It is at the very precipice of being kind of insane. Clinton's speech last night should go a long way to convincing PUMAs and those who are yet to make up their minds to vote for Obama by placing the emphasis where the emphasis should be -on the issues. And if these voters will vote against Obama for a behavior he did not contribute to on top of having Hillary Clinton emphasis the need for a Democrat in the White House, then I don't know what could possibly convince them.

But I'm not really convinced that this is a really large contingency of Hillary Democrats. I'm sure there are some, but I honestly -perhaps naively- cannot believe that these women aren't going to come back to the fold in November and vote for Barack Obama or for a third party candidate. I'm not convinced that PUMA influence hasn't been exaggerated by the media. It is a good story, the "woman scorned" story. It has been a part of our history for a long, long time. Hera, in jealousy over Zeus' infidelity, drove his son Hercules into killing his children. That story comes from pretty far back, and deals with the totality of destruction potentially wrought by women. It sucks, but there it is. And if PUMAs really are there, really are intent on destroying Obama's campaign, then they are at the bottom of the pool of acceptable women. If a woman actually and honestly wants to vote for McCain due to political beliefs, I can't see what that same woman would have been doing voting for Hillary Clinton -ever. And so voting for McCain after Hillary becomes something else, a punishment that will reverberate back upon the voter and cast onto women throughout the next decade or so. Let's not do that, okay? If Obama isn't your guy and you voted for Hillary, go third party. The stakes are too high -for the nation, for the Democratic Party, for women in general- otherwise.

1 comment:

John said...

Agreed! I in fact used the phrase "cutting off their noses to spite their faces" in one of my earlier comments.

Well, if that PUMA I overheard last night is any indication, there really are some people who base their opinions on snippets of news, and usually the most propagandist at that. She really did seem quite spiteful toward the issue, and didn't much care what ramifications a vote for McCain might possibly have. Aren't we Americans wonderful?

Time for a tasteless joke: Do you think that there are a lot of PUMAs who are also cougars? If I had another cat epithet, I'd throw it in there as well, but so far there is no group called "jaguars" that I know of.