Is there anything else for intelligent women to say right now? Splash it across a very bold, very red banner. Wear it across our chests like those suffragettes who captured the vote for women one hundred years ago in Oregon.
Aside: shout-out to Oregon's "Century of Action" to spice up the local effort. Make getting the vote--8 years before the entire country--about something in the everyday lives of women today. In 1912, imagine, it was possible for Oregon's governor West to go all out for women suffrage:
It was 2007 when I first met Melissa Harris-Lacewell (her name at the time). Bill Moyers brought her into our living room on PBS. She'd just moved from the University of Chicago to become an Associate Professor at Princeton. She talked at length about race in the interview, "Barack Obama is where we can project our attitudes about race...He is going to try not to have a conversation about race." She did not see him getting the Democratic nomination in 2008--she hoped for vice-president!
It's five years later; Obama is president. In our changed world, Melissa Harris-Perry, now married, lives in New Orleans as a Prof at Tulane University, and-- after many guest appearances with Rachel Maddow-- she has her own show. Describing herself as "a black feminist scholar," she plunged into controversial issues this first day. Her show expanded my understanding around current politics and introduced forefront other thoughtful, intelligent young people, some scholars. some not.
In the first session were Dorian Warren, Columbia University and Baratunde Thurston, The Onion, and author of the recently published book, How To Be Black. Earlier a very stodgy Edward Cox (son-in-law to Nixon) sat beside Warren and was clearly floating about in a Goldwater type 20th century world.
Peter Edelman, Georgetown University Law School, older than Cox and not having to defend the Republican Party, pointed out that social issues have been brought into play by Santorum and his Gingrich from their fear that an improving economy takes steam out of their claims that Obama ruined it all. The fallback becomes women's bodies rather than jobs. Even though these are not in our uterus!
"All Republicans want to be our Daddies--particularly to girls," Melissa noted and delivered this lecture on "Compulsory Motherhood," in second hour of the show. Chloe Angyal, an Editor at the blog, Feministing, had joined her, wondered, "Who knows what comes next?" Melissa, "I know--aspirin!" Edelman said it was a losing strategy and Chloe responded, "If people are losing the conversation, they become loud." Which is, of course, what is happening, much to the delight of the media who have kept it going far beyond its expiration date stamp.
I am with Melissa in feeling nervous about the potential power of this anti-woman position, about the success in various states with getting "personhood" into legislatures. Chloe brought forward the imagery in my mind of The Handmaid's Tale:
"Forced birth is what we're talking about here in the personhood of the fetus. Used to be a fringe position."
In the second hour of the show, gay marriage was brought in along with the right's focus on marriage at the moment when fewer women with children are electing to be married. Joining the group were Jawn Murray who was new to me and Toure who is an MSNBC regular. The link leads to a conversation on NPR that Toure had with Michele Norris last year about his book, "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness: What It Means To Be Black Now." He dismisses the notion of the U.S. as "post-racial." Both of them spoke about Whitney Houston whose funeral was taking place in Newark, New Jersey, as the program was in session.
Trying to keep up with note-taking, I ran down in the last half hour. Missed the Sunday edition but it is all online so I can review, catch up, get ready for the exam. I ready to learn more and hope America is too.
Feminism, as understood by men as well as women, brought all of the above to us: thank you Rachel Maddow and our foremothers/fathers who worked so hard to get women suffrage.