01 Apr The 4 Shameless B Boys
For the record, let me be clear. I would give up my US citizenship if it meant I ever had to vote for Donald J. Trump. If the only opposition to Donald J. Trump from the Democratic Party or any other political party was a platypus, I would be among the first to wear buttons proclaiming Duck Billed Platypus for President! Who can better bring us together? An egg-laying mammal! An amphibian! An ancient, fuzzy, refuse-to-go-extinct creature with a duckbill that’s a study in uniting contrasts?
You get the point.
That said, I’m in need of a vent about the would-be Democratic candidates, more of whom pile on each day. Let me specify. I’m in need to vent about the boys.
Oh. I should also say upfront that I believe strongly in the right of any American citizen to run for any office, including the presidency, law permitting. This is not about can they run. This is about should they run.
For the first time in US history, the House of Representatives actually resembles the population, and even so, women don’t have parity: we’re more than 51 percent of the population and only 23.2 percent of Congress. Nevertheless, the last election was historic (and yes, herstoric, too). The same is true of the Democratic candidates already running for the nomination: more women candidates and more candidates of color than ever before. My heart does crack a little each time I think about Hillary having paved the way at such staggering personal cost. But then I remember a proverb of the indigenous Inuit peoples of Alaska and Canada: “It is the first swimmer on the ice who gets the most cut. The second finds the ice broken, and the third finds it gone.”
I also look around at the women who have announced their candidacy for the Democratic nomination and are already running hard. Some have more fire than others, some have greater experience than others, some just seem to gleam with charisma and personify leadership, and a couple seem, to be honest, to be running vanity campaigns. But I would sleep far more comfortably with any of them in the White House instead of the current squatter. And I can say the same although grudgingly about most of the Dem guys.
But we have to reckon with the 4 B’s: Bernie, Biden, Beto, and Buddigeig (pronounced “Buddha judge” which no self-respecting buddha would ever do).
I’m deliberately leaving out of this equation African-Americans Cory Booker and Mayor Wayne Messam, and Latino former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, since they’re people of color although men; besides, only Booker stands a chance of getting on the ticket. And there are lots of unknown and inexperienced white folks named things like Hickenlooper, Delaney, Inslee, and so forth, and even god help us Marianne Williamson the feel-good white woman spiritual guru who wants us to love America, who hasn’t even met the words “experience” or “qualifications,” and who wants to help voters self-actualize or something. She ran unsuccessfully as an Independent for Congress last year but scored the backing of Jesse Ventura and Alanis Morissette—which probably tells you all you need to know.
So let’s get serious. Which unfortunately probably means the 4 B Boys.
I’m sure they’re all decent human beings–although I cannot say the same for the Bernie Bros. But being a decent human being of the male persuasion—although that’s already one-up on the current White House squatter—is just not enough anymore.
A large part of me screams, How the hell dare you, guys?
Bernie, awww jeez. You claim you want to correct the sexist and racist mistakes you made last time, but you don’t even know what they were, so you’re making them all over again. Bernie, Bernie, it’s no longer cute-little-old-man-with-the-bird-on-the-lectern-and-the-grating-accent time. People can have your same economics focus from Elizabeth Warren (who has a sense of humor) and your Democratic Socialism from AOC (fresh and fiery) and not have to be harangued by yet another white guy so please give it up once and for all. You just don’t get it.
Joe, oh gawd. You certainly have the greatest experience, and you’ve done some fine things in a long career–but you tote some heavy baggage, too. I’ve never forgiven you for what you did in the Anita Hill Clarence Thomas hearings, and apologizing now in a half-hearted manner by saying you’re sorry you were not able to “control the Republicans” better doesn’t cut it. You were chairing the committee, Joe. You personally had the power to call as witnesses the two women who were waiting in the wings to testify in corroboration of Anita’s testimony! That alone would have done the trick and saved us from Clarence Thomas all these years! But you chose to take a man’s word over a woman’s and then claimed fighting racism was your excuse—when both the man and the woman were/are African-American. Think how that move alone would have changed history. There’ve been lots of other egregious errors you’ve made—and Yikes the latest one just broke since I started this paragraph: Former Nevada State Rep. Lucy Flores (D) charging him with inappropriate touching. OMG. I believe her, Joe, because you’re clearly a touchy backslapping gaffe-prone ha ha-feely guy who never ever means anything wrong. Joe, there are lots of good things you’ve done, but those times are past and experience notwithstanding, these times have passed you by.
Beto?!? WTF!?! No experience, no actual policy proposals! “Born to do this”?? No humility, no letting his wife speak for herself in a joint interview but daring to speak for her! Cruising on youth, charm, charisma, money (her family’s), manic energy, and the ability to leap onto restaurant tables at a single bound—while still wearing your shoes, tables people eat on, Beto! Sure, coming close to beating Ted Cruz was a feat of impressive organizing, but the changing demographics of Texas may be more to thank for that than any political brilliance on your part. Basically, you are being idolized for having come close to a win, but losing—and for looking like Bobby Kennedy. Stacy Abrams, far more experienced in local, state, and regional governing than you, also came close to winning, and in an even deeper red state, Georgia—while being female and black, and looking nothing like any of the Kennedys. So why, Beto, do trumpets of adoration, lavish media coverage, and nationwide contributions welcome your every appearance, more than that which is accorded to her. Hmmm? (Will I never get tired of asking these dumb questions? No, I will never get tired of asking these dumb questions.)
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the new phenom. Indiana, which gave us Mike Pence and one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the nation. That’s right, “Mayor Pete” of South Bend, Indiana. Equipped to deal with the NATO High Command, Ukraine’s borders, The EU, Saudi oil blackmail, global climate change. . . . Mayor Pete, you seem to be a smart and nice man. A policy wonk, a gay man, courteous, dignified, with mostly sensible politics and an apparent demeanor that even might be called “sweet.” You know, remember “likable”? But c’mon. Are we so fixated on having a president with a pale penis that all other seeming impediments (too old! too young! unknown and inexperienced! even—gasp!—gay!) just fall away? You bet! He’s a WHITE MAN, that’s the main thing! Halleluiah!
Wake-up call! The country is, surprise! no longer male and pale. In fact, it hasn’t been for some time—like always, thank you Abigail Adams. Honestly, how dare any self-anointed progressive white men even throw their hats in the ring, when Senator Kamala Harris’s hat is already there? And possibly Stacy Abrams herself? And Tulsi Gabbard? And Senators Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand? Feminists are accustomed to being shocked but not surprised. That includes me.
Listen, we’re only at the very beginning of a long and winding road to the 2020 presidential election, in which we need to take the Senate back, expand our grip on the House, and elect the President of the United States. But I couldn’t let even this early stage go by when most of the news coverage and money is already cascading generously over the 4 B Boys, without noticing that. The sheer audacity of entitlement of these white males, the shamelessness that permits them to applaud a more multicolored Congress barely beginning to approach gender representation although nowhere near parity, and then run counter to it—that shamelessness must be called out or it slithers by as accepted. That entitlement must be named and challenged whenever these guys praise “women’s advancement” and “diversity” while blithely inserting their privileged selves into the competition, thus slowing “women’s advancement” and bleaching out “diversity.”
Besides, it’s practical politics to focus on women, especially women of color. Democrats would be terminally stupid to ignore this. Research from the data firm Catalyst shows that women of color have the strongest propensity to vote Democratic; 88 percent supported Democrats in the 2018 midterms, compared with 48 percent of white women and 38 percent of white men. Women of color also hold a substantial share of the eligible electorate in the Sunbelt, crucial to an alternative electoral strategy: 21 percent in Georgia, 15 percent in North Carolina, and 11 percent in Texas, according to 2016 data calculated from the current population survey by Catalyst.
Women—particularly women of color—are the future of this country.
Otherwise, it’s Platypus Power.(And the platypus better be a she.)