The Feminist Double Standard

When we talk about the influence of feminism on women’s rights, we often enter into the conversation about the double standards women are held to by society. Whether it is in our sex lives, our work/life balance, or our looks, feminists object to any unequal application of restrictive convention on women as a matter of basic principle. And the fact that we women are often judged by our looks over our intellect is a very sore point in that exchange.

So when President Obama introduced his good friend Kamala Harris this week during a DNC event, along with another elected official, many people were quick to call his remarks out as sexist.

“Congressman Mike Honda is here.  Where is Mike?  (Applause.)  He is around here somewhere.  There he is.  Yes, I mean, he’s not like a real tall guy, but he’s a great guy.  (Laughter.)

“Second of all, you have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake.  She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country — Kamala Harris is here.  (Applause.)  It’s true.  Come on.  (Laughter.)  And she is a great friend and has just been a great supporter for many, many years. ”

What is really wrong here is that, by chastising President Obama for remarking on Attorney General Harris’ looks (as opposed to the same about Mike Honda), we are really imposing a feministic double standard on him. President Obama makes flattering (or not so) comments about the physical appearance of accomplished and good looking people as a matter of habit. And for the most part, those accomplished folks upon whom he has heaped compliment have been men. President Obama is an equal opportunity flatterer.

Obama remarked over Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s appearance last year.

“A couple people I want to thank for their outstanding work. First of all, our Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, is in the house.  (Applause.)  He’s the guy in the nice-looking hat.  Not only does it look good, but it protects his head, because the hair has gotten a little thin up there.  (Laughter.)  He is a good-looking guy.”

If President Obama’s comments on Harris’ looks crossed the line, so should comments about every other politician’s looks he has ever made. The fact that Harris is a woman should not render comments or compliments about her looks taboo. Such a rule, in itself, is a double standard. To hold President Obama to a different standard when the subject of his praise is a woman undermines the goals of equal treatment, equal rights and equal opportunity for women and men.

I compare this situation to the flawed logic of me getting offended when my male coworkers fail to censor themselves in my presence. The fact that they would curse up a storm or tell jokes in casual conversation with me shows me that they do not view me in a different light. Some people may think they should watch what they say in front of a lady. But I say, “SCREW THAT! I want to hear the joke about the polar bear walking into a bar too.”

If the President’s remarks about good looking people are evenly uttered about men as well as women, I see no reason to censor the handsome conversationalist for the sake of feministic ideals.

The Welcome Death of Traditional America

What was Traditional America? That depends on whose glasses you have on.

With the reelection of President Barack Obama, you have probably heard – and may even be perpetuating – all manner of doomsday predictions. There’s Jeffrey Kuhner of theWashington Times likening President Obama to Vladimir Lenin. Buster Wilson from the hate group American Family Association cannot help but lament that America will be cursed and punished by “God.” Children who’ve learned racial slurs from their bigoted parents are falling from the trees. And every ultra-conservative from Kuhner to Perkins is calling the beginning of the end of “Traditional America.”

My own opinion of the death of Traditional America is GOOD RIDDANCE!

What was Traditional America? That depends on whose glasses you have on.

Some people see Traditional America as a bastion of capitalism, where Christian values directed everything, and success was reserved for those who worked the hardest. But some others see Traditional America as a place where making money justifies exploitation, where the religious beliefs of a few are forced upon the massess, and where the color of ones skin determines the content of ones wallet.

The way I see it, today’s America is one in which Americans have rejected hate. Americans have rejected religious intolerance. Americans want to reward scholarship and hard work no matter what color you are.

I want America to shed the traditional definition of success for a new, definition. In post-2012 America, a person can find a way to earn an education even if his or her parents cannot afford it. In post-2012 America, A person’s race or religion won’t determine his or her fitness for public office. In post-2012 America, a person can start a business, become a wild success, make millions of dollars, and – not expecting special treatment – will contribute the same share of income to tax as those less affluent. In post-2012 America, private health care decisions won’t be restricted by the religious preferences of faceless bureaucrats. In post-2012 America, two consenting adults in love can marry each other and enjoy the full benefits of marriage, because other people’s opinion of their love won’t matter.

There were good things and bad things about Traditional America. Let’s slough away the bad things; and replace them with something better.

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 was a good start.

Living in a Ring of Fire

The future of this country is too important to observe the social niceties of quiet chit-chat.

I live in red country. My home is a doorstep to the country. The housing market is booming here, pushing farmland ever further afield. But though the area is growing fast, I can still see stars at night. And thunderstorms seem louder and more epic than they ever did in the city. (Just ask my cat.) This is rural suburbia surrounding a metropolitan living – often called the ring of fire because my county and the other surrounding counties are dominated by republican voters.

I have an Obama t-shirt. The one with a shamrock and O’bama 2012 on it. When I wear it around here in red country, I get quite a mixed bag of reactionary commentary. One man saw fit to tell me there was no way “Obama” would get reelected, saying, “We’re gonna put him out.” Other people repeat the veiled racism they hear on Fox news, some of these characters being more colorful than others.

But then there are those people who have got President Barack Obama‘s back. Even living in a seemingly terminally red county, I run into Obama supporters everywhere.

Yesterday, I finally became an active member of the Obama for America grassroots campaign. I’ve made phone calls and canvassed, and I am encouraged at how many people are supporting the President in 2012. It is truly uplifting to knock on someone’s door, tell them I’m a volunteer with the Obama campaign, and learn they too are totally for the POTUS in 2012. It’s funny because I inevitably get the comment, “Good luck finding any other supporters around here.”

People living here tend to believe they are surrounded by a glut of Romney supporters. That simply is not the case. I rarely encounter someone that is a true Romney supporter. I even spoke to an evangelical woman who could not bring herself to support Romney because he is a Mormon. (I must say, I can’t blame her. That shit is cray! But I think all religions are.)

One thing that resonates to me is how many undecided friends and neighbors I have. Some many voters are unsure how they’ll vote, are waiting for the debates, or simply don’t follow the issues. This means the election, far from what the media might tell us, is far from decided. This spells OPPORTUNITY!

So, if you are an Obama supporter (or a Romney abhorrer), now is your opportunity to open the lines of communication with your family and friends and even strangers. Don’t be afraid to talk about politics! The future of this country is too important to observe the social niceties of quiet chit-chat. When the discussion gets heated, you know you are getting someone to question what they think they know.

Knowledge is power. Spread the word. Talk about Obama’s record – tough budget cuts, education reform, increased pell grants, keeping student loan interest rates down, health care reform, supporting economic growth, tax cuts for small businesses, tax cuts for the middle class, ending military discrimination, equal pay for women, strong support for Israel.  And GET OUT THE VOTE!

President Obama is not a Nazi

One’s views on abortion rights notwithstanding, no valid comparison can be made between Obama’s policies and Hitler’s tyranny.

The Wednesday issue of my local paper published a letter from a guy I will call George. In it, George accused President Obama of having a “socialist, immoral agenda” and taking the United States “down the same road as Nazi Germany” with his support for reproductive rights.

“…with no choice between presidential candidates, Obama, as incumbent, will win by default.

“That will allow Obama to complete his socialist, immoral agenda for this country.

“God will judge those who promote an agenda of abortion; a better name for it is murder. Are we, as a country, looking to go down the same road as Nazi Germany?”

George goes on in an attempt to justify his association.

“Germany, under Adolf Hitler, murdered its citizens and all others who disagreed with its policies. The world looked on Hitler’s murderous ways without stopping such horrible activity, until the United States was forced into World War II at Pearl Harbor”

But George isn’t finished! He has the prime solution to our American depravity!

“The last hope of America in the 2012 election is to somehow nominate Santorum on the Republican ticket and run him against Obama and his socialist uncaring regime.

“Santorum is a good man both morally and socially and is the only candidate who would promote ‘we the people’ and give a voice to those Americans – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – who feel our great republic is being taken over by those who believe that the people of America cannot think for themselves and need big government.”

To be frank, this reader’s ideological projection flabbergasts me! Not only are his Nazi accusations outrageous, his cherry-picking of history is manipulatively self-serving, and his solution to our nation’s artificial moral depredation are completely hypocritical.

George compared the Administration’s refusal to repress reproductive freedom to Hitler murdering people who disagreed with his policies. One’s views on abortion rights notwithstanding, no valid comparison can be made between Obama’s policies and Hitler’s tyranny. Indeed, George’s comparison is markedly mismatched. Hitler was a shining example of reproductive coercion. Under the Nazis, providing an abortion to an Aryan woman was punishable by death; while it was regularly forced upon non-Aryans. The Nazi regime forced German youths to attend indoctrination camps, from which young Aryan girls most often returned to their parents pregnant. The Nazis forcibly sterilized people they viewed as having “inheritable”, “undesirable” traits. Our President does none of this.

Hitler murdered 6 million Jews and millions more non-Jewish people. Obama hasn’t murdered anyone.

George also distorts history, implying the world watched the Holocaust “without stopping such a horrible activity.” On the contrary, the world knew how horrendous life under Hitler would be, why else would all of Europe be fighting? Until the end of World War II, Americans didn’t know what was really happening in Germany. Only Hitler and his closest advisers and Generals knew the depths of their depravity. Yet even General Rommel “The Desert Fox”(one of the baddest ass generals ever, may I add) didn’t know until he returned to Germany in 1943.

Santorum may be a good man; but he is not the “last hope” for the United States. Santorum may be a moral man; but most Americans don’t want him telling us how to “morally” live our lives. I agree with George’s insistence that American’s can think for ourselves and don’t need big government. But I reject his manipulation of history and his injection of Rick Santorum as the answer to a fictitious agenda.

Every American has a voice, a pen and a vote. It’s time for people to stop insulting the President of the United States of America by comparing him to Hitler. If you have issues with this President, base your arguments in truth.

Race to the Most Racist-est

I’ll be happy one day if I can truly say that my children are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. And I’m afraid I won’t live to see it.

I’ll be happy one day if I can truly say that my children are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. But I think that day is a long way off. And I’m afraid I won’t live to see it.

Thursday, Southern Mississippi University made headlines. Not for their season-ending loss to the basketball powerhouse Kansas; but for the racist and very offensive chanting of some of their band members during that loss. These students – who were attending the game as representatives of Southern Mississippi University – felt they were entitled to chant “where’s your green card” at Mr. Angel Rodriguez as he was taking some free throws during the first half.

The school acted swiftly and precisely. The punishment was almost exactly what I would have done. The students have been stripped of their scholarships, are out of the pep band, and have to undergo sensitivity training. I must credit Southern Miss’ school officials for their swift reproach of these students’ behavior.

In the face of anti-immigrant harassment (misdirected as it might have been to Puerto Rican Rodriguez), voter identification laws (that disproportionately affect minorities), and questionable immigration reforms in the south, the growing tree of evidence of a reversal of racial equality and cultural tolerance in America is virtually undeniable. In this supposedly “post racial” America, what does this say about the state of race relations in this country?

Up until a few days ago, one could purchase bumper stickers referring to the President of the United States as a nigger. Of course, the purveyor of this despicable product, Paula Smith, denies all racist connotation. She claims that the President isn’t even black. She also claims that putting one of the most offensive, racially-motivated words in the English language on a bumper sticker referring to our black President is not racist. Yeah. Right.

So many people have jumped on the [non] racist, anti-Obama band wagon the last year. The fact is, much of the opposition to Obama’s presidency from its very inception has been motivated by Barack Obama’s race. We’ve heard him referred to as the “food stamp president”, we’ve heard accusations of Obama  “chugging 40s” instead of doing his job, he’s criticized for “entertaining rappers,” he’s derided as having a “hip-hop BBQ” at the White House. It seems no matter what President Barack Obama does – and he does just about the same things that previous presidents did (except play a mean game of basketball) – pundits who don’t like him routinely stage their disapproval in race-tinged cultural terms. And racist sewage circles the internet drain in chain emails that even pop up out of the offices of the judicial branch.

If it’s not racism, what is it? These people like O’Reilly, Beck and Boortz know exactly what they are doing. They are well versed by now in the art of the covert racial message.  One would be remiss to claim that their euphemisms are not carefully crafted and their responses – if they offer any acknowledgement whatsoever of their slander –  to the predictable fallout are not premeditated. These mass double entendre serve as a call to arms – fuel for the fire for their political lynching of a honorable man.