Thursday, June 10, 2010

the wrong right women

Tuesday's primaries in various parts of the country garnered a lot of attention, in part because so many women entered, and so many won.

Ah, yes--this is what we fought for back in the '70s and '80s. more women in power! more women controlling the wealth! with our people running the country, women's traditional values would marry male strength, and change the world forever.

uh huh.

so what we have is a bunch of very conservative and very rich Republican women. Very very rich. Very very conservative. and very very rich combined with very very conservative means, among other things, being the enemies of social change. the enemies of all we fought against, way back when.

in the '60s, as the civil rights movement garnered headlines and President Johnson signed the civil rights bill, a shrewd, conservative mystery writer named Emily Lathem [actually, she was two shrewd conservative mystery writers; i always imagined her on double dates with Ellery queen] wrote a mystery called "Death Shall Overcome," which revolved around the entrance into the stock market [i can't remember if you get elected or appointed or what to the stock market, but anyway this guy was newly there as the novel began]. the series' hero, aging and cynical banker john putnam thatcher, is confronted by the curious righteous anger of his colleague, charlie, a wealthy playboy capitalist who has never, to thatcher's knowledge, had a socially relevant thought in his life. yet here he is, blazing fury at the bigotry that has emerged in the face of this black man's entry into the hallowed and hitherto white-only world of big finance. thatcher is amazed; what, he asks charlie, has occasioned this eloquent outburst? charlie, still furious, replies, 'the way i look at it, if a man has a million dollars it doesn't matter what color his skin is!'

class, in this novel, has trumped race.

it appears now that today, class also trumps gender. sarah palen has begotten a whole slew of rightwing female politicians who are billionaires, and as ready to destroy poor and working class women as dick cheney ever was. to be fair, they're equal opportunity slashers: they are as anxious to cut programs that help poor men [and boys] as those geared to help poor women.' allies and indeed members of of big business( Carly Florina was ceo of hewlett-packard and mary whitman of ebay) will help BP destroy the environment for all of us, male or female, rich or poor. out of work men will stand on the breadlines with their female counterparts. male and female children will die of malnutrition. and these upper class women will use the women's movement to help them do their dirty work. whitman is quoted in the new york times: "career politicians in sacramento and washington, dc, be warned: you now face your worst nightmare--two businesswomen from the real world who know how to create jobs, balanced budgets, and get things done."

Whitman and her ilk are unlikely to be "the worst nightmare" of the men whose ranks they so proudly join. But they are the worst nightmare of feminists who have fought for a sisterhood of equality, as they are the worst nightmare of anyone who cares about human beings and their rights on any level. i think it would be appropriate for BP now to appoint a new ceo from among the billionaire women. we deserve a chance to destroy the world as much as the men do. we can even have women working on the ships, so when the ships explode the next rash of oil into whatever part of the ocean is left, women too can die on board.

it's so nice to know that we too are overcoming....

1 comment:

Ken G. said...

Great posting, and a subject I've thought much about - and not just because I'm a Californian who will be spending the next five months working to defeat Whitman and Fiorina.

Fiorina, at least, is running against another woman, Barbara Boxer, so "gender bias" really doesn't enter into that race. Only "idiot bias." Fiorina is beyond right-wing in her thinking, and, frankly, wasn't even a good CEO. She just about destroyed HP, cut 30,000+ jobs, shipped California jobs to Asia, and then took a $21 million golden parachute to leave town while HP still had a chance to recover.

Whitman is a bit more formidable, as she actually was a good CEO, and is running against "an old white guy." But this old white guy - Jerry Brown - was the last decent governor we had, and he'll be even better this time around. I'm sure we can get the right message out without being accused of gender bias, but you just know it will come up.

(See my last blog post on for more on this week's election results.)