Tag Archives: voting

“They’re Trying to Help a Dead Girl”

The hacking collectivist group Anonymous released a video of the Steubenville football players who took a 16-year-old girl from house to house and sexually assaulted her. They simultaneously posted evidence on twitter, pushing the gang rape into the territory of pure unadulterated public torture.

Anonymous released this video on the same day the House of Representatives refused to vote to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act.

Since when is it not in the best interest of the United States to protect women from violence? I have hope that when the next Congress comes into session we’ll have a different result, but I can’t get the feeling of fear out of my bones over this one.

The young men who are featured in the video of Steubenville are the kind of predators whom the Violence Against Women Act is supposed to protect us from. Sen. Patty Murray (from my state of Washington) put it best:

“The House Republican leadership’s failure to take up and pass the Senate’s bipartisan and inclusive VAWA bill is inexcusable. This is a bill that passed with 68 votes in the Senate and that extends the bill’s protections to 30 million more women. But this seems to be how House Republican leadership operates. No matter how broad the bipartisan support, no matter who gets hurt in the process, the politics of the right-wing of their party always comes first.”

There’s absolutely no reason for House Republicans to have done this. Absolutely none. This is an action which is shameful in the eyes of the state.

The actions of the boys in Steubenville may not seem related, but if we don’t expose this kind of behavior as violence, we’re not doing our jobs as a society to protect one another. This young football player is giggling about raping a 16 year old young woman. (Allegedly. Except for the part where there are photos.) This isn’t the only reason the two are linked. Even with VAWA we’re not doing enough.  Like the football team, people who are well-regarded in their communities tend to be above reproach when it comes to the issue of sexual violence. A woman whose husband beats her every night is less likely to be believed, if she reports it, when that husband is a well-respected man. It was the Violence Against Women Act which helped to institute marital rape as a crime in all the states of the Union, as prior to 1994, there were still some states which allowed it.

This kind of violence is unconscionable, and the fact that the GOP will turn its back to violence against women makes me question their privilege. I hope none of them have known women who have suffered at the hands of abusers,  that none of them have had to listen when they heard the story of a friend or family member who was raped or beaten. Because, if they had, surely they would have voted with their conscience rather than with their party.

Yes, the supporters of VAWA  are trying to help a dead girl. They are trying to help a lot of dead girls, all of them who needed help and didn’t receive it. I am sickened today by the notion that there are people in this country who are likely laughing along with the boys from Steubenville – and I hope you’ll reconsider if you cackled at his jokes about Marcellus Wallace and Obi Wan Kenobi, because at the root of those “jokes” is the willingness to condone violence against a person and to use her for her body alone.

We should all be helping to end violence. We should be doing better.

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Filed under Feminism, Politics, War On Women

Because The Disabled Vote Doesn’t Matter

“Senate Republicans have thwarted an attempt to pass a U.N. rights treaty aimed at advocating equal rights for disabled people, a strategy that Democrats said is simply centered around scoring political points.” – The National Monitor

I have a really big question for Senate Republicans. Why on earth would rights for disabled people NOT score you political points? Contrary to what many people seem to believe, disabled citizens actually do have the same rights as able-bodied citizens. We vote, just like you do. And we will choose to vote for whomever supports us in the goal of being more equal to our able-bodied peers. Perhaps that doesn’t mean that I’ll ever drive a car, but it does mean that I have hope for the future that this country will become more accessible for us all.

Part of that requires this U.N. Treaty to pass. Which, would be fantastic if it did, apparently even the republican parents of developmentally disabled children cannot foresee a better future without slamming “unelected forces” which would actually make the United States treat their children better than it currently does. Oh, which political person was this?

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, although the parent of a developmentally disabled child, came to Washington, D.C., to lobby against the treaty — claiming it to be an attack on American sovereignty. – The National Monitor

So, not only is he against it because it would stop America from being America, he actually went to D.C. to lobby against it? Seriously, guy? Furthermore, other republicans have stated that this U.N. Treaty would prevent parents of disabled children from making good choices for their children by stopping them from say, homeschooling. RIGHT. The treaty doesn’t have an enforcement mechanism, it’s just there as a set of guidelines! Jon Stewart covered this as his opener for the show last night – and while I felt like a lot of his comments were totally spot on, I was very disappointed that Mr. Stewart only made comments about wheelchairs.  I know wheelchairs are the easy target, but seriously? We could have used some more humor.

“We are disappointed that the overwhelming majority of Senate Republicans today blocked the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which would enshrine American standards that have been developed through decades of bipartisan cooperation.  Ratification would require no changes to U.S. law, as the United States already leads the world in promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities,” said Carney. “However, it would position the United States to support extending across the globe the rights that Americans already enjoy at home. This in turn would improve the lives of Americans with disabilities — including our wounded service members — who wish to live, work, and travel abroad.” – The National Monitor

Well. We sort of lead the world in terms of treatment for people with disabilities. Some of the most compassionate treatment I have received as a disabled woman has been while traveling abroad. In France, I cut lines and didn’t have to pay for entry into any historic places — hell, I even got to touch statues at Versailles because I have a visual impairment. I have felt up things which were once owned by French Royalty. I am okay with this. At the Centre Pompidou in Paris, they even have works of art which have been translated into black and white, and then made into tactile art – in this way, blind and visually impaired patrons can experience artwork by the masters when they couldn’t see it.  In London, I was able to sit in the front row for multiple large-scale productions – and I could bring a companion with me to see the show at half price as well. I could actually afford these ticket prices.  I saw “Equus” I saw many shows at the Globe, I saw “Wicked” for $50, US and I sat in the front row.

I know these seem like small things compared to such issues as ADA accessibility to buildings, or how we access things like parking spots – but the fact of the matter is, if you’ve got a disability you may not be able to access art in the same way your able-bodied peers do.

In the US, I’d love to go see an opera at the Met, or see Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway. But front row seats are over $300 in most places, and are entirely inaccessible to me. They provide concessions for the hearing impaired, but for the visually impaired there is little in the way of accessibility.

The reason why I bring all this up is as follows: If we’re going to be a leader in terms of equality for the disabled, we have to stop patting ourselves on the back. We have to start legislating for what is right, even if it scares the bejeezus out of the republicans. And that starts with signing treaties to protect the rights of the disabled across the globe – by standing with other nations, we are able to confirm that disabled people aren’t just citizens of our own country, but of the world.

The point is, voting down a U.N. Treaty based on a bill which a Republican President signed into law because you’re afraid it’ll cost America its sovereignty is bullshit. The Senate knows better than that. And they knew it.  I’m tired of being told I’m not equal, and that other disabled people around the world are told they aren’t equal more often and more vehemently than I am.

We have to have full and equal access. To public transit (I’m looking at you, New York City and the PATH), to theater (Hi Broadway), to education (AHEM many academic institutions), to politics (TAMMY DUCKWORTH!!), to healthcare (many people with disabilities are denied transplants based on their disability), to housing (Hey, UK. get your head out of your ass), to many many other things.

So here’s the deal. Sign the treaty, and stop using lofty political ideals to block rights for people with disabilities. We can hear you, we can see you, and we can vote you out of office.

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So Your Preferred Candidate Lost…

What’s a sad voter to do?

Pick up a new hobby? Find a new political cause you care about? Call your mom?

… Oh. I see. Okay.

You’re going to start a petition to secede from the United States of America. Gotcha. That’s… uhm…. Unreasonable.

Yes. Secession. So very 1860.

In fact, this has almost become a fad. Now it’s not just the dissolution of states from the union that make sense, but those who really don’t. From looking at the We the People Petition Site the following states have filed petitions to “peacefully secede” or “secede” from the United States. A parenthetical indicates the number of times the petition has been put into the system: Commonwealth of Virginia (x2), Iowa, Maine, Missouri, Illinois, New Mexico, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Idaho, Georgia (x3), Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Utah (x2), Ohio (x2), South Dakota, West Virginia, Nebraska, Pennsylvania (x2), Kansas, Oklahoma (x2), Wyoming, California, New York (x2), Delaware, Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina (x2), Missouri (x2), Tennessee, Michigan, Colorado, New Jersey, North Dakota, Montana, Indiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Washington.

Alaska and Oregon asked for a vote to be put to all state citizens on if they should secede or not.

45 states out of 50 have petitions filed on their behalf with regard to secession. And one city: Austin Texas would like to remain part of the United States. Because apparently Austin is cool like that.

There’s a popularized myth that Texas has the right to secede from the Union as according to their state constitution – they do not. But their website about secession has a lot of answers (from their perspective). In their case at least, this isn’t just a pouty faced outcry, but actually well thought out reasoning for why they want to leave the United States.

But why are people putting petitions to the White House about secession? Well. I’ll tell you, but it’s not pretty. It’s because we re-elected an African-American President. It’s because it turns out that the country isn’t as conservative and intolerant as many people would like to believe. We are a country populated by differences, and that is showing in this last election. They’re angry because they didn’t win.

So instead of acting like adults, who live in a country that they would have supported had their candidate won, they’re taking the temper tantrum route. They’re throwing a fit because they feel entitled to do so. Fortunately for them, unlike the one petition on the site requests, we won’t deport them for suggestions of secession. Look, we on the left did it too. We threatened to move to Canada (actually, I threatened to move to Europe, but it’s the same thing.) It’s a jerky thing to do, and we should all stop it.

But I’d like to point this difference between the Left and the Right out: The only other time that there has been a secession from this country, has been over race too. Apparently what really pushes people over the edge here isn’t about the choices a President makes, but his actions or affiliations with regard to race. My hope is that no one is stupid enough to throw a John Wilkes Booth-ian tantrum.

The White House has said that they will respond to the petitions which do reach the regularly required number of signatures (Which Texas and Alabama have.) No idea when, or what it will say. But given that the Governor of Alabama doesn’t support secession of his own state, I think it’s likely that the White House will tell them (very politely) to go sit in a corner and think about what they’ve done.

Go read a book. Go drink some whiskey. Volunteer at your school or church, or with the government. Make a difference. But don’t pitch fits about leaving the country when you know that our history still shows the battle scars of the Civil War, and seriously – don’t do it because our President has a different skin color than you. Plain and simple: That’s overblown bullshit racism.

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Women Know How to Shut That Sort of Thing Down

Last night was definitely an all around win.

We got President Obama for another four years. And in his acceptance speech he acknowledged all creeds, disabled Americans and gay voters. In other words, he recognized that his constituency is not the 47%, but 100% of the people.

In Missouri Claire McCaskill (a woman!) beat back rape apologist Todd Aiken for her senate seat. In his concession speech, Akin thanked God, who, he said, “makes no mistakes.”

In Indiana, Joe Donnelly defeated Mourdock – showing that rape is not a platform and will lose you a republican seat, even if it has been held by republicans for years on end.

In New Hampshire there is a female governor, and TWO women in the House! Which may be a record, I’m not sure.

In Colorado they voted to legalize Marijuana.

In Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren  won, which just makes me happy on principle.

In Illinois, Tammy Duckworth became the first Thai -American woman elected to US Congress. Oh, and she’s also disabled which makes it EVEN MORE AWESOME.

Oh, yeah, and speaking of firsts – Tammy Baldwin? First Openly Gay senator! And from WISCONSIN.

And then there’s my home state, Washington. We voted to legalize marijuana as well, and it’s looking pretty damn good that WA will legalize gay marriage (The governor called it last night, but hopefully it’ll be official SHORTLY)

In Maine, gay marriage was voted in, as it was in Maryland! And Minnesota voted to ban future bans on same sex marriage.
Puerto Rico voted to pursue statehood – possible 51st state! This should be an interesting thing to watch.

The evening was highlighted by firsts, and by important steps in our nation. I’m proud to say that the voters came out, and they voted for equality, and for the future.

The Moral of the Story: Stopping people from getting married isn’t something which wins approval, the war on women doesn’t make you friends, and blaming rape victims tends to make you the bad guy.

Congratulations, America. We’ve got another 4 years before this nonsense happens again.

Have a picture of a kitty, you deserve it:

Kitty in a (ballot) box

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Election Day is Here!

So I’m going to ask you to vote!

I already did!

ballot

I voted for Referendum 74, I’m sad we have to vote for equality, but happy I can show my support.

 

So vote. Vote because you have the right. Vote because you believe in your candidate.

I’m living in a city where we just experienced a natural disaster, water came up my street, electricity and cell phone service were down. So for me, Romney’s comment about getting rid of FEMA doesn’t sit well. Vote because you believe in something.
Vote because you need to. Vote because women and men fought for your right to vote at some point in the last 200 years.

And vote because my cat says so.

Tinycat

Tinycat will look like this if you don’t vote. Don’t make my kitty facepalm.

 

So – Happy Voting Day! I’ll be covering the results tomorrow, and hopefully be fully back on track sometime by the end of this week!

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Why I Look Outside my Comfortable Liberal Bubble

I voted yesterday.

I voted to approve gay marriage in Washington State, I voted to make marijuana legal in Washington State. I voted to reinstate Barack Obama as President. And in Washington, I would imagine that most of these things will be what the majority chooses as well.

I live and study and work in the New York Metropolitan Area, also a bastion of liberal thought. I spent my days being friends with anarchists, talking to artists, drinking with performers.  I write an obviously liberal feminist blog and spend my days researching feminism in America.

My worldview, if I chose to let it be, would be very cushy. Nobody is going to take away my right to choose in New Jersey, or New York. New York already HAS gay marriage. It could be very difficult to remember that I live in the same country as the Tea Party, if I chose to let it be that way.

But I don’t choose that path. I choose to be cognizant of the country that I live in, and the differences between my politics, and the politics in other parts of this country. I have to recognize that there are people who think that being gay is a thing you should be put to death for. There are people who believe that I shouldn’t have the decision of whether or not I carry a pregnancy to term.

I went to a relatively conservative college for undergraduate work, and I remember feeling like minority in my own home state. I think this was a good experience for me, because it taught me that even if I am surrounded by the people who agree with me, there’s always going to be someone who wants to convince me that my belief is wrong. I remember coming away from heated political discussions in tears. These days, i value having experienced this because I need to remember that I don’t live in a Liberal Wonderland. So these days, I watch documentaries. I read books. I go out of my way to read the kinds of news stories that frustrate me and upset me. And I do it so that I remember. Because I can’t afford to forget that I live in a patriarchal society. I can’t afford to forget that I live in an anti-feminist world. I can’t forget that I live in the same country where Matthew Shepherd and Brandon Teena were killed.

I have to remember, because if I don’t someday I may turn around and see that my rights are gone. Even from inside our liberal bubble, we must strive to know what is happening outside of it. We’re one country, not two. When interracial marriage was illegal, it was illegal everywhere. Protecting ourselves is about more than just protecting our little bubble. We have to protect the whole nation.

 

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Foreign Policy Debate Tonight

Me: I need a wine recc
him: What are you in the mood for
Me: Something to wash down the debate with
Him: Party?
Me: Feminist political commentator
Him: You need everclear.

Liquor Store Win.

 

You can find the bottle of wine and I on twitter tonight. I’ll be tweeting.

P.S.

On my way out he says “I hope your guy wins” and I say “The ladies never seem to. “

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