In Case You Were Wondering

Disclaimer that I really shouldn't need to begin with but shall: I will vote for Obama in November. And furthermore, I will be excited to do so, for a number of reasons.

Having gotten that out of the way, if you were wondering why so many women are saying we're sick of being threatened about how we'll suffer -- and be to blame! -- if McCain gets elected, here's a great example of what we're talking about.

For the purposes of this post, pay attention between 1:00 and 1:30. (But don't miss the part later when they discuss how Obama needs to choose a running mate who exudes patriotism and competence, to make up for his deficiencies! Oof.) Transcript of the part I'm talking about:

CHUCK TODD: ... So, I think when you look at this, and our experts, our pollsters said, boy they would worry about the suburban women thing. If they were Obama they'd worry about the suburban women thing first, before the men. They say, you know what? Hey, Bush won men by this much; you can still win it by losing men by that much. I'd argue and say if he slices men from 20 to 15, and you assume those women come home, then that's how he wins a big win. And he forces McCain to play defense.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: But in a political [unintelligible], women are low-hanging fruit, though, in the terms of politics.

TODD: Correct.

MATTHEWS: You can reach up and say, "I'm pro-choice, he's not."

Emphasis mine.

This is exactly the kind of attitude a hell of a lot of female Democrats are so angry about right now. We don't need to do shit to get women's votes. All we have to do is scare them about losing their right to choose. Where else are they gonna go?

Where I'm concerned, that's basically true, much as I don't want to give them the satisfaction. I can't stand the thought of McCain winning, and if the Democrats were running the proverbial yellow dog against him, that's who would get my vote. It's just a bonus that I think Obama's a pretty good candidate, even if he's not who I voted for in the primary.

But I do not represent all Democratic women or all female Hillary voters. I know this might be difficult for the pundits and party leaders to grasp, but we're all different people. And some of us are too fed up with our votes being taken for granted to stomach voting for the Democrat in November -- certainly not after this primary season. Some of us -- especially those pesky older white women who are past their childbearing years anyway -- are sick and fucking tired of having Roe v. Wade held over our heads, as if it will somehow be the fault of pro-choice women if it's overturned. Some of us can't stand being told one more time that it's "in our own self-interest" to vote for any Democrat, just because voting for any Republican would be worse. It's also in my own self-interest to choose being punched in the arm over being punched in the nose, but it doesn't make me fucking stoked about that option.

I am not going to protest in the voting booth this year, but boy, do I ever understand the women who are. Yes, even the ones who plan to vote for McCain; I don't agree with that choice, but I understand that lots of women have different values and priorities than I do, and they see that as their best option for any number of reasons. Some of them sincerely believe Obama is unqualified to be president. Some of them were centrists to begin with and don't see McCain as all that horrible. Some of them don't realize McCain is all that horrible, because the media loves him so. Some of them are probably even anti-choice -- women do occasionally vote for Democrats because of other concerns, as it turns out. And untold others of them have reasons I can't even guess at, but that's how they're deciding to use their votes, which is their sacred right as citizens.

And if, Maude forbid, they push McCain over the top, it will not be their fucking fault. If this country is so far gone that McCain can be pushed over the top by a handful of angry swing voters, the Democratic Party's got a serious problem, and it's not just that one we all live with.

Listen up, pundits, party, and bullying bloggers: It is not women's job to "come home" to the party. It is the party's job to make us fucking feel welcome in our own "home." It is Obama's job to earn our votes. Taking us for granted is shitty, and threatening us with the loss of our bodily autonomy is about a zillion times shittier. STOP IT. You are not helping. You are driving voters away.

And you are seriously pissing off even those of us voters you can count on this year. I'm not ready to abstain just yet, but give me another couple decades of this bullshit -- of being told you won't bother to work for my vote, of being told it will be my own fault if Roe v. Wade is overturned, of being told that my concerns about sexism thriving in the party are overblown -- and I might just say hey, you know what? I've spent my entire adult life voting for Democrats, and they've never shown one real whit of interest in me. They've done nothing but take me for granted, because to them, I'm low-hanging fruit, not someone whose concerns actually merit any expenditure of time, effort, or political capital. Well, hey, maybe they'll miss me when I'm gone...

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of the women refusing to vote for Obama this year are a couple decades older than me. Do the math. You can only get away with treating a large chunk of your base as an afterthought for so long.

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