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This post is not about who you’re not voting for

By auguste
Saturday, June 14, 2008 18:07 EDT
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Via Feministing, Katie Halper has written a loyalty oath for former Clinton supporters who are signing on with McCain:

The McCain Loyalty Oath for Women

I _______________ pledge to transfer my support from Hillary Clinton to John McCain. I agree to do all I can do to get McCain the vote. In order to achieve this noble goal I promise to support McCain’s…

  • fight to overturn Roe v. Wade and my right to choose.
  • fight against equal pay for men and women.
  • opposition to providing low-income and uninsured women and families with health care services ranging from breast and cervical cancer screening to birth control.
  • opposition to sex education and support of abstinence-only education.
  • opposition to insurance covering birth control.
  • endorsement of women’s rights more “in theory” than in practice.
  • pet name for his wife.

As a woman I promise to apply McCain’s principles to my own life and vow to…

  • call myself and my female friends the C word.
  • picket abortion clinics.
  • not use contraceptives.
  • drink bleach so I don’t catch HIV and drink Mountain Dew so I don’t get pregnant.
  • give back part of my salary to male coworkers.
  • not vote, but pursue education and encourage my father/husband/brother male friends to vote for McCain.

Once McCain is elected, I will continue to support him and I will not complain about my losing my right to choose, and other reproductive freedoms. And I will continue to refrain from pursuing equality for women.

Signature ____________

At Feministing, this has upset a few people.

I’m a bit angry and disappointed in this post and what it assumes about Clinton supporters and their possible choice to vote for McCain. (M. Marie)

Way to completely miss the point of Clinton supporters voting for McCain. (Wildberry)

Surprisingly*, neither commenter enlightens as to what we should assume. Kate Harding puts it less succinctly:

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.

To some extent, I agree. I say “to some extent” because I long ago reconciled myself to never casting a vote that’s not a compromise vote; then again, I’m a privileged white male with no worries about where my next meal will come from. My compromises start a hell of a lot farther down the ladder of personal impact than many, including women.

So, if you are supporting McKinney, or staying home in November, this post is not about you. I certainly hope you’ll reconsider between now and November, and I reserve the right to disagree with you on Obama’s experience and pro-woman voting record, but I promise, the post is not about you. You don’t have to vote for Obama if you don’t want to, and that’s not “permission”, it’s a statement of fact.

This post is aimed at McCain voters. I can hear the commenters now: “I really don’t think anyone will actually support McCain; McKinney or none of the above but not McCain.” Well, in some states nineteen percent of Clinton supporters claimed they would vote McCain (and 20% of Obama supporters, so there’s no claims of superiority here.) The demographic is out there. And this post is written about them.

The argument for voting for McKinney, McCain, or none is the same as it was for Nader: “My vote is my own; I’ll cast it how I want; my vote is X’s to win, not to lose; I refuse to cast it as a compromise.” Fine. Great. For McKinney and None voters, that argument holds some water. McKinney would be a fantastic president. And no one can or should force you to participate in an election. But this same principle, McCain voters, gives you no further refuge.

One of Kate Harding’s complaints was the use of Roe v. Wade as a cudgel, a “vote for our guy or you’ll lose choice!” weapon to gloss over other misogynist aspects of the Democratic party. Well, I’m not here to do that. I’m here to tell you that, under the “my vote is my own” principle, a vote for McCain is not a vote against the Democratic organization. A vote for McCain is a vote for McCain. If you vote for McCain, there’s no need to use Roe v. Wade as a cudgel, because you’ve just cast a vote to support misogynist policies across the board. Losing Roe v. Wade shouldn’t scare you any more than the silver standard should have scared someone who voted for William Jennings Bryan: It’s your political position. It can’t not be, because you had free choice with your vote.

See, that’s the problem with our two-party system: I started out the post by stating that every vote I’ve cast has been a compromise, then argued that the voter is responsible for every little stance a candidate takes. And yeah, that’s a trap. But it’s a trap that everyone knows about. That’s why the Green party exists. That’s why abstention exists. McKinney is arguably better on womens’ issues than Obama is; saying that both are better than McCain is not a political opinion, it’s a statement of fact**. McCain wants to enact misogynist policies. He’s told us as much. He wants your vote to help him do it. If you answer the call, you’re doing it with your eyes open.

I hereby pledge that if McCain wins (three-minute vomit break) if McCain wins, I will never express a negative statement about a McKinney or abstention voter. That’s a slight deviation from my previous position about Nader, but in the interests of not engaging in the ignoring of womens’ concerns about misogyny, I’m absolutely going to live up to it. But McCain voters will be McCain voters, no matter who they supported in the primaries. People who support candidates with misogynist platforms (and war-mongering, and pro-oligarchy, and anti-middle and lower class, etc. etc.) deserve to be taken at their votes.

Update: I should have clarified in the post that Kate Harding has expressed her plans to vote for Obama in November. Also, my pledge does not apply to pre-election discussions of voting plans. For example, I reserve the right to point out that Rep. McKinney has some very positive things to say about Senator Obama.

Coming from Barack Obama, the word “change” did not appear as just another empty campaign slogan.It galvanized millions of people—mostly young people—to register to vote and to get active in the political system. The U.S. political system needs the energy and vision of all its citizens participating in the political process. Citizen participation is always the answer.

Sen. Obama called for healing the wounds inflicted on working people and the poor in our country after eight years of a corrupt and criminal Bush-Cheney Administration. Just as in November 2006, people full of an expectation for change, including those the system has purposefully left out and left behind, flocked to the polls to vote for Sen. Obama. Across a broad swath of the people of this country, and from those who are impacted by U.S. foreign policy, there is a real expectation, a real desire, for change…I encourage the Democratic Party and its new presumptive nominee, Sen. Obama, to embrace these important suggestions for policy initiatives.

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* Not surprisingly.
** Unless you define “good on womens’ issues” as being anti-choice, anti-birth control, anti-equal pay, pro-STD.

 
 
 
 
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